When Prevention WINS members talk about the need to enforce laws dealing with minors in possession of drugs and alcohol, some community members are alarmed and think that the coalition wants to put teenagers in jail. This couldn't be farther from the truth. King County has a robust juvenile diversion program that diverts teenagers from jail and into programs meant to help them.
In the video below, a King County Prosecutor talks about the diversion program and about how it has reduced the number of juveniles in detention facilities.
He notes that "the vast majority, if not all" of teenagers who come into contact with the juvenile justice system have a substance abuse problem. This is another reason why substance use prevention programs targeting middle school students are so important. It is also why policies that limit youth access to drugs and therefore prevent youth use of those drugs is important. Preventing youth substance use can prevent juvenile crime.