Those Already Affected are Not Getting the Message
While there are many organizations focused on raising awareness, reducing stigma and providing alcohol/drug abuse prevention programs in our schools and through reaching out to parents, loved ones and youth, there is an entire demographic that is not in school and whose parents are unwilling or unable to care for their children due to not knowing where to turn, or because they are suffering from their own psychiatric, behavioral health or addiction problems.
The National Institute of Health has published studies that show a relationship between higher drug use and dysfunctional family situations among teens.
The 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Agency (SAMHSA) shows an alarming statistic on heroin use. Heroin use has doubled from 2007-2012. In 2012, the survey indicates that 156,000 aged 12 and up used heroin for the first time. This is up from 90,000 first time users in 2006.
In 2012, 75.9% of youth aged 12-17 reported hearing alcohol/drug abuse prevention messages in school. This is down from 83.2% in 2002.
A SAMHSA report from 2002-2010 shows the high school rate for substance abuse for illicit drugs at 31.4% of dropout students versus 18.2% of students still in school.
We see the missing piece of the puzzle of the young person no longer in school and traditional alcohol/drug abuse messaging not reaching this sizable group. While these alcohol and drug awareness programs help educate many students in their targeted audience, those already affected by addiction do not hear about the help they need.
Through the efforts of Big Elephant, we will work to get information to the affected youth and their loved ones through non-traditional messaging. Programs such as Planting Seeds will work to get information on assistance to youth that are in places where traditional message systems will not reach and Growing Hope will work to reach those loved ones whose lives are already affected by addiction and simply need help to manage their now chaotic lives.