Elkhart anti-drug program may receive additional help from county

ELKHART, Ind.-- Battling substance abuse among teens. The Elkhart County Commissioners have decided to provide extra funding to the county’s drug-free partnership to educate students on the potential dangers of vaping but the idea still needs to jump through one more hoop before it’s all said and done.

“I think the tobacco industry has figured out a new way to addict teenagers to nicotine," said Elkhart County Commissioner, Mike Yoder.

Its called vaping, and in order to help fight back, Elkhart County Commissioners and Elkhart county drug free partnership are expecting an extra $50,000 dollars from the county to stop the trend in its tracks.

“To help kids understand what the realty of use is. The reality is most kids are not using different substances," said Elkhart County Drug Free Partnership Director, Jessica Koscher.

The data shows in Elkhart County, about 20 percent of kids are vaping, meaning the other 80 percent are choosing not to.

Recent Concord High School graduate, Jade Harris, says she thinks the education is still needed.

“If you think everyone is doing it, you want to try it too, especially if its really easy to get your hands on something like that," said Harris.

Experts say vaping nicotine nearly doubled among high school seniors from 11 percent in 2017 to 20.9 percent in 2018.

So officials say this is one way the county is ensuring that every single student has access to the facts.

“Poster sessions, and conversations with kids with families. After schools programs and in-school programs across the county," said Koscher.

“I’m happy we were able to find a solution to this. I’m happy we’re not spending tax payer money to do this. All in all, I think it’s a great community effort all around," said Yoder.

The county has nearly 16,000 students total and for the program to be effective, Koscher believes they need about $10 to $15 dollars per student.

That adds up to over $150,000 dollars, so if the funding is fully approved next month, Koscher says it’ll add more cushion to make sure the program is more robust. 

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