COPY-Cape Girardeau Co. kids take, talk about teen drug use survey

By Kathy Sweeney - bio | email

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - A local prevention group hopes the best way to find out where Cape Girardeau County teens are getting drugs, alcohol, and tobacco is simply to ask them.

"This is about drug and alcohol use, okay?" Lindsay Chapman tells the group of fifth through eighth graders at the Boys and Girls Club in Cape Girardeau.

Chapman is a Coalition member who helped design the detailed, but anonymous survey. Tuesday afternoon, she handed it out to 30 members of the Club's All-Star prevention group.

"We have about 200 surveys completed (since June)," Chapman said. "And we've just probably completed 30 at the Boys and Girls club, so I'm pretty excited about that."

"I think it's a great way to get the message out," said Teresa Teague, executive director of the Boys and Girls Club. "And the kids don't have to worry about, you know, being under their parents thumb when they're talking about it."

"I felt comfortable," said Gracie Barnhill.

But, does Gracie think all kids will be honest, even with their names kept off the paper?

"Depends," she replied. On what? "On if they really done drugs or if they really haven't."

Others here do not think teens will admit what's really going on, no matter how you ask.

"Because if someone found out if they did drugs or alcohol or anything, then they could get in very big trouble," explained Andrew Lawson.

It's a challenge the Coalition is aware of. But, the survey questions also seem to reinforce the prevention message these kids already take to heart.

"Just knowing the possibility that could happen like, even if I do it once, it could kill me," said Terry Tyus.

Teresa Teague hopes there's a lesson to be learned just by having her kids fill the survey out.

'I think it's a wonderful way to let them be more aware of what's going on and to know that they're involved and that their say so means something," Teague said.

The Coalition plans to continue collecting information through the end of September.

Chapman says members will then work on strategies to combat teen substance abuse by directing their efforts at the most common sources.

Teen can take the survey online at

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