Rotary guest shares shocking stats of violence, drug use

Published 11:43 pm Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The numbers are sobering.

When 100,000 kids carry a gun to school each day, when 15 parents die each day at the hands of their own children, when 23 percent of teens used marijuana last month, when 14 children are abused each hour and five children die each day from gunfire, those numbers hit home.

And, when your home state has the third highest suicide rate and only 60 percent of the students who enter ninth grade ever receive a high school diploma. When your state looses a classroom every day to dropouts and ranks third from the bottom in high school graduation. When your state spends $12,545 each year on a prisoner and only $7,683 on a kid’s education, then it’s time to take notice.

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Brent Crosby of the Laurel Oak Behavioral Center and Jason Foundation was the program guest of Ben Busbee at the Brundidge Rotary Club Wednesday. He spoke to the Rotarians about the changing world and its effects on today’s youth.

Crosby said that many of the residential facilities for young people are maxed out, including the Center he represents.

“We are maxed out at 118 and there’s a waiting list,” he said. “I’m from the old school when you could leave the door to your house unlocked and the keys in your car. The world is a scarier place today and it’s a scary place to raise children.”

Crosby said many young people grow up without a father figure and male involvement.

“Half of the kids in Alabama are on Medicaid and that means they are in the lower socio-economic level where crime and drugs are more prevalent.

“Kids to today are going against the grain. Many of them are going home from school in the survival mode. They go home where drugs are being used and there’s crime all around. They don’t care about algebra; they are just trying to survive.”

Bullying is an issue that keeps kids out of school.

“Eight percent of the students miss one day of school a month because they are being bullied,” Crosby said.

“Children are being bullied at school. They are being abused by those they should be able to trust. They are doing drugs. Too many are in a downward spiral.”

Prescription drugs and marijuana are the substances most abused by young people, Crosby said.

“Young people are sometimes diagnosed ADHD and the diagnosis is not accurate. It’s a way for young people to get prescription drugs,” he said.

“Kids have farm parties. They get prescription drugs, put them in a fish bowl and take turns reaching in for pills.

“They don’t know what they are taking, uppers or downers. They don’t know.”

Crosby said it’s vital for young people to stay in school and to stay away from drugs if survival is not to be job one.

“It’s my job to keep kids out of hospital,” he said. “And, it’s a hard job.”