Real Talk started in 2018 as a social norms campaign created by local teens for teens and parents to start conversations about drugs and alcohol. From the success of the campaign and the interest raised by the youth members it morphed into the coalitions youth group. The members of the group serve as catalysts for change within the Vernon community. Real Talk hopes to change the social norms and attitudes around substance use.
Many teens have skewed perceptions about their peers drinking. Although teens commonly believe all of their peers drink, 81% of Vernon youth (grades 6-12) surveyed in 2021 reported they do not drink alcohol and 79% perceived alcohol to be a moderate to great risk. For more facts on alcohol and substance use in Vernon youth click HERE.
Reasons Teens Try Substances
There are a variety of reasons teenagers experiment with alcohol and drugs, but some of the most common reasons include:
- Stress- teens who are stressed may turn to substances to cope, instead encourage them to find healthy coping mechanisms.
- Peer pressure- not only are teens pressured by their peers, but with social media at their fingertips teens are feeling the pressure to look and act like their favorite celebrities
- Transitions- transitions can be difficult to navigate and teens may seek alcohol or other substances as a solution. Moving from middle school to high school, going through a break-up, or moving can put strain on a teen.
Students click HERE to learn more about substance misuse.
Sources: 2021 Vernon Youth Voices Count Survey Results, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Revised November 2021