Officials work to halt increasing drug use among Marion County teens

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (August 5, 2015) -- New numbers show a dramatic increase in the number of Marion County teens who are using drugs. Statistics from Drug Free Marion County show a significant spike in the number of teens who smoke marijuana, and who take the highly-addictive drug heroin. At the same time, there are efforts right now to stop the increase.

"I just think that they have something else better to do besides doing that, which I don't know why that would even pop up in their head," said Jamie Leftridge, a 15-year-old Indianapolis native.

Leftridge says he has heard about all of the drug use among kids his age and younger. We told him about what Drug Free Marion County says about teen drug use. The significant spike in youths seeking heroin treatment, and the fact that one in four tenth-graders smoked marijuana in the last 30 days. Jamie refuses to do that.

"I had a dream about going to college, making the NFL, so I'm trying to stick with that dream," Leftridge said. "I've been told you do something like that, it can mess your life up."

Randy Miller, director for Drug Free Marion County says higher marijuana use is partly due to the fact that it's being legalized in numerous states.

"The messages the kids are getting and what they're hearing is, and what they actually tell us in many cases, is that they don't see marijuana as being harmful," Miller said.

There's also the fact that heroin is very inexpensive, accessible and extremely addictive.

"It shouldn't matter what other people say, you can let them mess their life up. You shouldn't ruin yours just because you get dared to or something," Leftridge said.

Drug Free Marion County is educating kids on drug use at the elementary and middle school level. They say that's the age many will experiment and being using. The group also educates teens on the positives of not experimenting in the first place.

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