PIKE COUNTY, Ky (WYMT) - A national study shows about 17 percent of high school students drink, smoke or use drugs during the school day.
Researchers with the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University say 44 percent of students know a classmate who sells drugs at school.
Locally, officials at one school district say they are actively educating their students to try and prevent them from trying drugs or alcohol.
"We have a lot of work to do in the schools. We would much rather prevent a child from ever getting on drugs in the first place, than becoming addicted and having to send them into treatment or arrest them," said Operation UNITE President Karen Kelly.
She says the average age of first time drug use in eastern Kentucky is 11-years-old, and with those statistics one school district is doing everything they can to try and change that.
"We have to do something to make a difference in their lives," said Marionette Little who is the Substance Abuse Coordinator for Pike County Schools.
She says education is the key to making that difference.
Little says students start in Kindergarten learning about drugs and alcohol. They learn about the dangers of drugs and alcohol as well as refusal tactics.
"When it becomes in real life situations, they can transfer what they learned in the class to that real life situation," said Little.
Little says the Pike County School System is participating in the Kentucky Incentive Project Survey next month that will give a better idea about drug use among students in Pike County.