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Substance Abuse: Perception of Social Norms

By: Gina Johnson, B.A.
YSB Chemical Health Prevention Specialist in South Washington County Schools (D833)

How many of you think the majority of your peers are drinking, smoking or doing some type of drug?” The majority of hands shoot up throughout the entire class.  

As the Youth Service Bureau’s Chemical Health Prevention Specialist one of my roles is to do chemical health presentations in the high school and middle school classrooms in South Washington County School District. Every presentation I ask the students if they think everyone in their grade is doing some type of drug. Their answers are almost always “yes.”

I ask the students this because of social norms: the perception of use vs the reality of use. Our perception of use has a great influence on our own attitudes and behaviors.

Unfortunately, our perceptions aren’t always right. Students and adults tend to overestimate the usage rates around them- and it’s important for youth to know that not everyone is doing it.

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Juvenile Sex Trafficking- the Washington County Response

By: Peter Orput, Washington County Attorney, YSB Supporter and Guest Author

The selling of girls and boys for sex has been around for millennia.  This egregious scourge, however, has become far more common in the past several years to the point where it seems to be occurring frequently and everywhere.  The statistics are indeed frightening: 1 in 3 runaway children are lured into sex trafficking within 48 hours of running away. The average age of entry into prostitution is 12 to 14 years old.  Estimates put 1.2 million children being trafficked each year.  

What has driven this demand?  

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