Reporter: Lauren Compton l Photographer: Dan Heffner
Lynchburg, VA- A survey by the Virginia Department of Health shows a good number of teens have smoked or drank alcohol in the last year. Local organization that work with teens say it should be a wake up call to parents.
Jason Giambrone is a prevention specialist with Presbyterian Home and Family Services and Family Alliance. He's always hearing stories behind the statistics of teen drug use.
"Basically what I've heard is these type of things seems very normal to a 13, 14 year old, to drink, or smoke. It's what they see," said Giambrone.
The Virginia Department of Health reports 40% of teens have smoked and 60% have had at least one drink of alcohol. It also says 24%have been offered, sold or given illegal drugs on school property. Giambrone says parents can help by talking to their kids. The earlier, the better.
"Let's start young. And, let's get inside of their heads so when they become middle school, students, or high school students they won't even think about participating in those things. They will be prepared for that kind of peer pressure," said Giambrone.
Lauren Radzville, a victim's advocate with the YWCA, often sees the consequences of teen drug abuse in court while helping victims. She says some of the best prevention is giving kids something else to do with their time.
"Keeping them off the streets , helping other people showing them that there are other things to do besides using drugs or alcohol," said Radzville.
It's a philosophy used at the Boys and Girls Club as well, by offering a fun place like this.
"I think it's also very important when we have this safe environment to make sure that all kids are being treated nicely, and they feel like they belong," said Mark Sheehan, Executive Director, Boys and Girls Club.
Look at the entire survey.