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Oct 3, 2014 6:52 PM

NH underage drug, alcohol abuse among highest in nation


CANDIA - Over the past month, New Hampshire ranked second in the United States for alcohol use among 12 to 24-year-olds.

We also rank fifth in the nation for marijuana use among 18 to 25-year-olds in the past 30 days.

Police say a contributing factor is changing laws in other states on issues like medical marijuana.

But in the meantime, the Raymond Coalition for Youth hasn't let the high statistics get in their way - as they try to inform people, of all ages, about the startling rates of young drug users and drinkers in New Hampshire.

At a summit breakfast Friday in Candia, they gathered with law enforcement and other community leaders to talk about many growing issues-one of them, the impacts of medical marijuana laws in other states.

"That's a continual conversation in our state-and because of that, I think teens think it's okay because it's gonna be legalized or they think it's gonna be legalized and combating that is a big concern for us at the coalition," said Vice Chair Matthew Chouinard.

Law enforcement say it's also been a challenging issue for them to fight.

"Drug addiction is a little different issue," said David Kelley of the New England High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area. "Addiciton is a public health concern-it's a public health problem. There aren't enough jails in the United States to house the people that are abusing elicit drugs."

RCFY members say they hope the young adults they work with go home with a better understanding when it comes to the abuse of drugs and alcohol.

"Living a good life-you don't have to be using drugs or alcohol to do that, and helping them make better choices and showing them that it's okay not to use," Chouinard said.

For more information, visit the group's website at www.rcfy.org

Contact multimedia journalist Tyler Dumont at tdumont@nh1.com.
Follow him on Twitter: @NH1_Tyler


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