copyright the Chronicle March 15, 2017
by Joseph Gresser
NEWPORT — Preventing heroin addiction may be as simple, or as complicated, as paying attention to the difficulties individuals face in their early years and offering help to overcome those traumas.
That was the message offered at the latest in a series of meetings dedicated to dealing with an epidemic of opioid abuse that has become increasingly virulent in recent years. The meeting, held at North Country Career Center on March 9, was organized by Julie Raboin, a substance abuse prevention consultant with the state Department of Health.
Ms. Raboin pointed to studies that show young people use alcohol and binge drink more often in Orleans County than they do in the state as a whole. When those numbers are broken down by income, it appears that Orleans County’s higher rate of alcohol use is driven by people of lower socioeconomic status.
Young people from wealthier backgrounds have no higher rate of alcohol consumption than do others of their economic background in the state, Ms. Raboin said.
In fact, higher status youth in Orleans County use marijuana at a significantly lower rate than do their peers in the state as a whole. A much higher percentage of young people from less well-off families in Orleans County smoke pot than similarly situated youth in the rest of the state, she said.
Another survey showed that fewer than 50 percent of young people in Orleans County feel valued by the community, Ms. Raboin said.
Youth in the county are much more likely to be disconnected, that is not in school and unemployed, than in Vermont or the nation as a whole, she said.
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