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New survey shows drug use among Roanoke Valley teens increasing

Roanoke Area Youth Substance Abuse Coalition tracked teen's drug use in 2017

ROANOKE, Va. – A new surprising statistic in the nationwide drug epidemic. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the rate of teen drug overdose deaths in the United States climbed 19 percent from 2014 to 2015.

With drug use on the rise on a national scale, treatment experts are seeing an alarming trend here in Roanoke-more teens addicted to drugs.

"When compared to Virginia and to national data, the Roanoke Valley is significantly higher especially with prescription misuse among youth, up to 50 percent higher than the national average," said Tracey Coltrain, director of the Roanoke Area Youth Substance Abuse Coalition. 

The Roanoke Area Youth Substance Abuse Coalition just tracked teen's drug use with a 2017 youth behavior risk survey. Coltrain said in the last few years, prescription drugs have been the main high..high schoolers are searching for.

"It's very common for someone to be prescribed an opioid because they have their wisdom tooth taken out, or they have a sports injury, and then if they are susceptible to addiction, they can very easily slip into that," said Coltrain. 

Coltrain said anxiety is more common among teens these days. If you mix that anxiety with peer pressure and boredom, Coltrain said you have a recipe for disaster, a disaster that can outlast high school.

With the high school students, you see a lot of prescription drug use which then can kind of slide into heroin when they get into college and early adulthood," said Coltrain. 

The coalition is also working with the DEA on a new prevention curriculum that can be introduced in area schools. For more information on "Operation Prevention," click here.