Trail Life USA responds to staggering rise in youth drug overdose

Trail Life USA restores the wonder of boyhood, cultivates confidence, and nurtures skills to create a sure and secure future’

February 14, 2022

GREENVILLE, S.C.— A recent article revealed a tragic national statistic—studies show that approximately 22,000 young people between ages 10-24 died of unintentional drug overdose in the United States between January 1, 2015, to December 31, 2019.

These staggering results showed boys disproportionately outnumbering girls in deaths with a combined total of more than one-million years of potential life lost. In response to these horrifying statistics, Trail Life USA CEO Mark Hancock commented on the eroding of traditional values in modern culture and how it impacts America’s boys.

Hancock stated, “Although tragic beyond comprehension, it should come as no surprise to us. In our rush to transform a multitude of traditional cultural morals into confusing and radical concepts for the next generation, we’ve neglected the effects on young people, particularly those so hard hit by this loss of life.

“Depression and drug-related deaths are at an all-time high. Depression now affects nearly 33% of Americans (a 285% increase from 2019) and drug-related deaths increased by 30% over last year. Like canaries in the coal mine that suffer first, men and boys are being hit particularly hard. Men account for 4 out of 5 suicides in America and double the drug-related deaths. The most rapidly growing suicide rate demographic is boys from the ages of 10-14.”

Hancock continued, “Trail Life USA aims to restore the wonder and winning elements of boyhood so boys can have a sure and secure future. We guide them with vetted male mentors. We ground them in biblical truths. We appreciate their strengths. And we inspire them with outdoor adventure, character, and leadership challenges. This is how we turn back this awful and deadly tide.”

In order to address the needs to boys across America, Trail Life implemented their “Proven Process” to best relate to young men and allow them to embrace what it means to be a boy. The “Proven Process” addresses four key problems for boys in the current society, then highlights the result of these issues and provides the solution. The first issue is that boys are unguided due to a shortage of good male role models, leading boys to wonder what it really means to be a man. The second issue is that boys are ungrounded, with generational values and norms eroding. For boys, this takes away their sense of a moral compass or a firm foundation. The third issue addressed is that boys are unappreciated in a culture that promotes femininity and denounces masculinity, making boys question where they belong. The final issue is that boys are uninspired due to the lack of risk and competition removed from their environment, leading boys to not want to even try to succeed.

Hancock commented, “The need for boy-specific activities and mentoring that provides challenge and reward has never been greater.”

Trail Life USA is the premier national character development organization for young men, producing godly and responsible husbands, fathers, and citizens. Trail Life’s mission is to guide generations of courageous young men to honor God, lead with integrity, serve others, and experience outdoor adventure. Troops exist in all 50 states and are growing as Trail Life USA expands around the country. Find a Troop today, or Start a Troop in your community. Find out more at TrailLifeUSA.com.  

Trail Life USA’s K-12 program centers on outdoor experiences that build a young man’s skills. A robust awards program motivates young men to grow on a personal level to become role models and leaders among their peers. Living the Trail Life USA is a journey established on timeless values derived from the Bible.    

    

Discover more about Trail Life USA atTrailLifeUSA.com, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, or Vimeo.    ###