That’s what a county assessment has revealed, according to program coordinator Matt Robinson.
Robinson, a former Deming Headlight reporter who now works for Luna County’s Partnerships for Success II program, said they have been working to assess prescription drug abuse among youth in the area.
Robinson said some youth feel prescription drug abuse is as rampant among their peers as the use of alcohol or marijuana.
The 2011 Youth Risk and Resiliency Survey showed that Luna County’s prevalence of prescription drug abuse or misuse among middle school students is higher than the rest of the state, while high school students report similar use as the rest of New Mexico.
The report revealed that over 17% of Deming middle school students reported using prescription drugs without a prescription. That’s more than twice the state rate of 8%.
Robinson said that in focus groups with youth, most pointed to theft as the primary source of the prescription drugs being abused. Youth reported stealing from family and local retailers.
Robinson said his program plans to use a recently completed assessment report to guide outreach and education efforts to address the problem.