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Orange County Digest

Countywide : Drug-Abuse Programs Fragmented, Jury Finds

January 15, 1987|Bill Billiter \f7

The 1986-87 county grand jury, which has begun an examination of drug-abuse programs in the county, is finding "great fragmentation of programs and services" and a lack of them at the high school level, where the need is considered great, the jury foreman said Wednesday.

In a preliminary report, foreman James V. Robinson II said there are at least 48 drug prevention programs in the county. He said there is a need for "a uniform system of education and prevention" of drug abuse. Robinson also said the jury will issue a final report later this year that contains its specific recommendations for changes in drug-abuse programs in the county.

Robinson said the jury sent surveys to school districts, cities, police departments, county agencies and selected nonprofit organizations, asking for information about their drug-abuse programs. He said the responses showed "a lack of coordination in the delivery of programs and services."

The jury's interim report added: "Substance abuse education and services are being delivered by individual school districts and police departments with little or no coordination between the various agencies involved."

Among other preliminary findings, the jury said that only 36% of the school districts surveyed have instruction on drug abuse in their curriculum and that most education programs focus on grades four through eight. The report said there is "a significant drop off (of drug education) at the high school level, where the problem is most widespread."

The jury's final report is expected in June, when its one-year term ends. The drug-abuse study is being conducted by the jury's juvenile services committee.

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