A drug use survey was conducted this fall among 614 grade 7-12 students from eight Scioto County school districts. The survey was conducted through the Drug Free Communities program administered through the Portsmouth City Health Department. The instrument is known as the PRIDE Survey.
Lisa Roberts, community health nurse, recently released these numbers to the Portsmouth Daily Times.
When asked what these numbers mean, Roberts explained, "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."
Roberts also told Allen: "Where they are using is predominately at home, a friend's house and less often in a car or at school. When you look at when they use these substances weekends were predominate followed by after school and not so often at school.”
(Wayne Allen, "Survey Gives Glimpse into Youth Drug Use."
Portsmouth Daily Times. January 12, 2014)
I thought it may be enlightening to compare the Scioto County statistics with national figures. The national statistics are taken from the 2012 "Monitoring the Future Survey" (MTF) administered by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
National Alcohol Use -- 10th Grade
In 2012, 14.5 percent of 10th graders reported getting drunk in the past month, continuing a long-term, downward trend. A significant decline was represented by a 5-year drop in daily alcohol use by 10th graders (1.0%) percent since 2007.
Scioto County Alcohol Use -- 10th Grade
The Pride survey reported alcohol use is about 32 percent, or one-third, of the 10th graders have consumed alcohol in the last 30 days.
10th Graders Comparison = Scioto 32% to National 14.5%
National Alcohol Use -- 12th Grade
In 2012, 28.1 percent of 12th graders reported getting drunk in the past month. A significant decline was represented by a 5 year drop in daily alcohol use by 12th graders (2.5%) since 2007.
In 2012, 23.7 percent of high-school seniors reported binge drinking (defined as 5 or more drinks in a row in the past 2 weeks) -- a drop of one-quarter since the late 1990s.
Scioto Alcohol Use -- 12th Grade
The Pride survey reported 44 percent of seniors have consumed alcohol in the last 30 days.
12th Graders Comparison = Scioto 44% to National 28.1
National Marijuana Use -- 10th Grade
Marijuana use by adolescents declined from the late 1990s until the mid-to-late 2000s, but has been on the increase since then. 17.0 percent of 10th graders used marijuana in the past month -- an increase among 10th from 14.2 percent in 2007.
Scioto Marijuana Use -- 10th Grade
The Pride survey reported 25 percent of 10th graders have smoked marijuana in the last 30 days.
10th Graders Comparison = Scioto 25% to National 17%
National Marijuana Use -- 12th Grade
In 2012, 22.9 percent of 12th graders used marijuana in the past month -- also an increase among 12th graders from 14.2 percent in 2007. Daily use has also increased; 6.5 percent of 12th graders now use marijuana every day, compared to 5.1 percent in the 2007.
Scioto Marijuana Use -- 12th Grade
The Pride survey reported marijuana use among seniors as 22 percent in the last 30 days.
12th Graders Comparison = Scioto 22% to National 22.9%
National Cigarette Use --10th Grade
No report available for 10th graders.
National Cigarette Use -- 12th Grade
Cigarette smoking by high-school students peaked in 1996–1997 and has declined continuously since then. In contrast, marijuana use has been rising in recent years. Now, while 17.1 percent of 12th graders were current (past-month) cigarette smokers—the lowest it has been in the history of the survey -- 22.9 percent were current marijuana smokers.
The use of hookah water pipes and small cigars has raised public health concerns and has recently been added to the MTF survey. In 2012, 18.3 percent of 12th graders had smoked a hookah in the past year, and 19.9 percent had smoked a small cigar.
Scioto Cigarette Use -- 10th Grade
According to the Pride survey, about 25% of 10th graders have smoked cigarettes in the last 30 days.
Scioto Cigarette Use -- 12th Grade
The Pride survey reported and about a third (33%) of seniors have smoked cigarettes in the last 30 days.
12th Graders Comparison = Scioto 33% to National 17.1%
National Prescription Drug Use -- 10th Graders
No report available for 10th graders.
National Prescription Drug Use -- 12 Graders
In 2012, 14.8 percent of high-school seniors used a prescription drug non-medically in the past year.
Scioto Prescription Drug Use -- 10th Graders
The Pride survey reported 6.0 percent of 10th graders had used prescription drugs non-medically in the last 30 days,
Scioto Prescription Drug Use -- 12the Graders
The Pride survey reported 7.0 percent of seniors had used prescription drugs non-medically in the last 30 days.
12th Graders Comparison = Scioto 7.0% to National 14.8%
Compare and Review the Results
Compared to national statistics, Scioto county youth have much higher alcohol use -- 16.7% higher -- and cigarette use -- 15.9% higher -- than youth in the rest of the country.
Marijuana use by Scioto youth seems to be equal to that of other high schoolers in the nation -- around 22%.
And, thankfully, prescription drug abuse stats show Scioto youth with a 7.8% lower rate of use than students in the rest of the United States.
I believe the prescription drug abuse epicenter of America is slowly becoming aware of the terrible destruction caused by the abuse opiates and other dangerous prescription medications. This is due to fewer outlets illegally supplying vast amounts of these medications and also due to the tremendous efforts to thwart prescription abuse by health officials, by drug action teams, and by activists including numerous, tireless support groups.
With Scioto County ranking last (88th) in a study of the healthy counties in Ohio -- which includes years of potential life lost before age 75, the percentage of people who report being in poor health, the number of days people report being in poor physical or mental health, the rate of low-birthweight infants, the poor physical environment, and the poor clinical care --alcohol use and cigarette smoking by youth are continuing to reek havoc on a scale much too high.
It is time to act upon this undesirable trend. Perhaps a quick look at alcohol and cigarettes will encourage positive steps to the improvement of poor conditions in Scioto County. Better education of the young generation is the hope for a healthier life in Southern Ohio.
Long-term side effects that may result from teen alcohol abuse include:
- Liver problems
- Stomach ulcers
- Cardiovascular disease
- Neurological issues
Over eight million children live with at least one parent who abuses drugs or alcohol, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Environmental factors, such as the influence of parents and peers, also play a role in alcohol use. For example, parents who drink more and who view drinking favorably may have children who drink more, and an adolescent girl with an older or adult boyfriend is more likely to use alcohol and other drugs and to engage in delinquent behaviors.
(Castillo Mezzich, A.; Giancola, P.R.; Lu, S.Y.; et al. "Adolescent females with a substance use disorder: Affiliations with adult male sexual partners."
American Journal of Addictions 8:190–200. 1999.)
Researchers are examining other environmental influences as well, such as the impact of the media. Today alcohol is widely available and aggressively promoted through television, radio, billboards, and the Internet. Researchers are studying how young people react to these advertisements. In a study of 3rd, 6th, and 9th graders, those who found alcohol ads desirable were more likely to view drinking positively and to want to purchase products with alcohol logos.
(E.W. Austin and C. Knaus. "Predicting the potential for risky behavior among those 'too young' to drink as the result of appealing advertising."
Journal of Health Communications 5:13–27. 2000)
Research from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reported the younger the age of drinking onset, the greater the change of the individual developing an alcohol disorder. Young
people who begin drinking before the age of 15 are more than twice as likely to develop alcohol abuse and are four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence than those who began drinking at or after age 21.
(B.F. Grant and D.A. Dawson. Age at onset of alcohol use and its association with DSM-IV alcohol abuse and dependence: Results from the National Longitudinal Alcohol Epidemiologic Survey. Journal of Substance Abuse. January 1997; 9:103-11)
Also, research shows that the younger children and adolescents are when they start to drink, the more likely they will be to engage in behaviors that harm themselves and others.
A teen who is addicted to alcohol becomes so used to drinking that he feels compelled to continue using, even if he knows there will be negative consequences as a result of that use.
What must teens and parents realize about smoking? Here are some effects that have been confirmed through research:
* Smoking Mothers More Likely To Have Hyperactive (ADHD) Children
* Child Test Scores Lower When Mothers Smoke
* Auditory Processing Reduced in School Age Children Exposed to Cigarette Smoke
* Math, Language, & Behavior Problems Elevated in Children of Smoking Parents
* Nicotine Damages Brain Cell Quality
*Severe Child Behavior Problems Linked to Mother’s Smoking
(Click her to read all articles: http://chem-tox.com/pregnancy/smoking.htm)
Approximately 80 percent of adult smokers became hooked by the time they were 18. The American Lung Association estimates that every minute four thousand eight hundred teens will take their first drag off a cigarette. Of those four thousand eight hundred, about two thousand will go on to be chain smokers. The fact that teen smoking rates are high in Scioto County is particularly disturbing.
The idea that teens who smoke are breaking the law or going against their parents and schools is an addiction within itself. Nicotine is considered the number one entrance drug into other substance abuse problems. Research shows that teens between 13 and 17 years of age who smoke daily are more likely to use other drug substances. The use of other drugs is part of the peer pressure that our children have to face. The earlier that our youth begin using tobacco, the more likely they will continue using into adulthood.
The greater a teen's addiction to nicotine, the less active the prefrontal cortex was, suggesting that smoking can affect brain function. But, the fact that adolescent smokers and non-smokers performed equally well during a response-inhibition test suggests that early interventions during the teen years may prevent the transition from a teen smoking an occasional cigarette in response to peer pressure to addiction in later adolescence.
("Tobacco smoking impacts teens' brains, study shows." ScienceDaily.
University of California - Los Angeles. March 07, 2011)