By Wayne Allen
A recent survey was conducted within eight Scioto County School Districts of students in 7 -12 grades on drug use. The survey was conducted through the Drug Free Communities program administered through the Portsmouth City Health Department.
“The survey was done this fall and it’s called a PRIDE Survey. Similar surveys are done across the country and the White House measures substance use through these surveys,” said Lisa Roberts, Community Health Nurse with the Portsmouth City Health Department. “We will now be able to compare ourselves to other areas of the country (through the survey results).”
Roberts said the results of the survey will help them strategize over the next couple of years, to see where efforts need to be focused.
She said this is the first survey thats been done of its kind in Scioto County.
“We will again be doing this survey again in two years to measure progress,” Roberts said.
Roberts said the survey measured cigarette smoking, alcohol use, marijuana use and the non-medical use of prescription drugs.
“The survey shows a spike in the use of cigarettes in 10th grade and reaches its highest in 12th grade. With alcohol there is a spike of use in 10th grade and reaches its highest point in 12th grade,” Roberts said. “With cigarettes about a quarter of our 10th graders have smoked cigarettes in the last 30 days and about a third of our seniors have smoked cigarettes in the last 30 days.”
She said alcohol use is about 32 percent or a third of the 10th graders have drank alcohol in the last 30 days and 44 percent of seniors have drank alcohol in the last 30 days.
“If you look at marijuana 25 percent of our 10th graders have smoked marijuana in the last 30 days. The percentage dropped a bit when it come to marijuana use among seniors to 22 percent,” Roberts said. “The good news is that with prescription drugs only six percent of 10th graders had used prescription drugs non-medically in the last 30 days, with seniors that number rose to seven percent.”
When asked what these numbers mean Roberts said, “we expected that we had a high youth smoking rate because Scioto County has the highest adult smoking rate in the United States of America. We expected this and know that’s an area we need to work on, youth smoking and alcohol use.”
She said the survey also asked where these activities occur the most.
“Where they are using is predominately at home, a friends house and less often in a car or at school,” Roberts said. “When you look at when they use these substances weekends were predominate followed by after school and not so often at school.”
There were 614 students that participated in the survey.
“This is date from all of the participating schools combined. This is not one school imparticular,” Roberts said.
Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 228 or on Twitter @WayneallenPDT