Youth survey shows Tazewell teens many exposed to drugs before 1 - WEEK.com: Peoria-area News, Weather, Sports

Youth survey shows Tazewell teens many exposed to drugs before 16; 1 out of 5 report suicidal thoughts

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TAZEWELL COUNTY, Ill. (WEEK) -- -

With the ongoing drug crisis, the data from last year's Illinois Youth Survey is painting a disconcerting picture for Central Illinois.

The Tazewell County Health Department published the survey's results, providing answers to what our kids like to eat and how much exercise they get, but also highlights troubling trends of alcohol and drug use, and even the rates of suicidal thoughts among teens.

According to the survey, one in every five 10th-graders polled say they've smoked marijuana, one in every four seniors say they've driven under the influence, and half of the eighth graders who admitted to drinking said that hard liquor was their drink of choice.

For instance, of those students who say they've drank, smoked, or used drugs, they report beginning before they've turned 16. 

A third of seniors admitted to drinking within the past month of taking the survey, and over half admitting within the past year.

Nearly a quarter of all high school seniors polled admitted they drove under the influence of marijuana, and that at least a third believe they'd never be caught if they did.

Another troubling stat found in the survey: suicidal thoughts. Twenty percent of 10th and 12th graders polled admitted to seriously considering suicide within the past year. 

This poll is conducted once every two years, and doesn't reflect any school in particular.

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