The Coalition for Teens and Young Adults, a local group focused on fighting substance abuse, depression and suicide, will hold a special meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Madison City Hall.

The Lide White Boys & Girls Club/Family & Community Center will host the meeting, one in a series hosted by the group.

Lide White Executive Director Ray Black said that the coalition is an attempt to consolidate efforts to help young people deal with their problems, which often become life threatening.

Jonathan Rohde, Columbus, Ind. chief of police, will address attendees on subjects related to substance abuse and how to bring community leaders together to combat the problem.

The United States Government conducts an annual study and reports on the statistics of teen substance abuse – and the results are staggering… Between the ages of 13 and 18 years old almost 50 percent of teens will have experimented with drugs of some kind. The studies show over 70 percent of high school seniors, 58 percent of sophomores and 35 percent of freshmen have abused alcohol

Here are a few facts concerning teens and substance abuse from the US Department of Health and Human Services:

More adolescents drink alcohol than smoke cigarettes or use marijuana. Within the past year, more than three of 10 high school seniors report drinking some alcohol and one in six have engaged in “binge drinking” daily.

Drinking endangers adolescents in many ways including auto crashes, the leading cause of death for this age group.

Cigarette smoking among teens has declined dramatically in the last 15 years. Today, most teens do not smoke, but the use of smokeless tobacco has increased steadily since 2010.

Many adolescents start trying tobacco products at a young age, so prevention efforts in schools, in communities, and in homes, can help and should begin early.

Illicit drug use — which includes the abuse of illegal drugs and/or the misuse of prescription medications or household substances — is something many adolescents engage in occasionally, and a few do regularly. By the 12th grade, about half of adolescents have abused an illicit drug at least once. The most commonly used drug is marijuana but adolescents can find many abused substances, such as prescription medications, glues, and aerosols, in the home.

Strong positive connections with parents, other family members, school, and religion; having parents present in the home at key times of the day; and reduced access in the home to illegal substances all can contribute to combating the problem.

Tuesday’s meeting is important. It is free and open to the public. If you are able, please attend. Madison is no different from any other community. We’ve got to face this problem head on. That’s the very least we can do for our kids.