According to the Martha's Vineyard Youth Task Force 2010's Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 43 percent of all Island high school students report having consumed alcohol in the past 30 days. While this number is lower than the national average, we know that too many of our kids out there drinking and doing drugs. We also know that the Island has a well-documented and troubling history with substance-abuse problems, as attested by the number of drug and OUI arrests and tragic accidents involving students.
As the weather warms up, the options of drinking on beaches and other locations outside increases. Parents of teens hold their collective breath every time their kid goes out the door on a Friday or Saturday night, hoping that another drinking- or drug-related tragedy won't occur.
There is no answer that works for every child. The community on this island has taken amazing steps to recognize and offer solutions to the problem of teenage drinking and drug use. Still, there is always more that we can do, more children we aren't reaching, new methods we haven't tried.
So, we put this out to you Island parents: What works? What doesn't? What are you most afraid of? What do you know needs to change? What more, as a community, can we do to keep our most precious members safe?