June 23, 2022

Comparison of Pride survey results sheds light on drug and alcohol use | Scarsdale

After presenting the results of the 2021 Pride Survey on substance use among students at Scarsdale High School to the community in November, Deputy Principal Dr Chris Griffin broke down the results again last week , but added comparisons to the 2014 and 2017 surveys in a virtual meeting. organized by the Scarsdale Drug and Alcohol Task Force (DATF).

Griffin said the survey is “useful for learning what the student experience is like” and for “identifying areas of concern to our student body” in order to plan “prevention efforts” and “raise awareness.” The survey, anonymous and optional for students, was administered on March 25 and 26, 2021, during class. Seventy-five percent of high school students participated, 1,140 in total (307 freshmen, 290 sophomores, 289 juniors, 254 seniors). Griffin called it a “relatively good sample size”.

The survey asked students about their use of alcohol, marijuana, cigarettes, e-cigarettes, and prescription drugs (for the purpose of getting high) in the past 30 days, in addition to when and where. where they consume them, as well as their perception of risk, as well as how they believe their peers and parents perceive risk.

For alcohol consumption in the past 30 days, 37.9% in 2021 is higher than 33.6% in 2014, but down from 39.7% in 2017. same for marijuana (16.4% to 20.3% to 17.9%). Cigarette smoking fell from 3.5% to 3.4% to 2.4%. Last year was the first time e-cigarette use was surveyed – and stood at 13.1% – as it was just beginning to gain popularity in the late 2010s. Prescription drugs were low at 1.6%, 2.0% and 1.6%.

Alcohol consumption, when broken down by survey year and grade level, contains revealing data. In 2014, 9.6% of freshmen reported drinking. This number increased to 22.8% in 2017 and 19.7% in 2021. For second-year students, it increased from 30.6% to 43.3% to 36.2%, while it climbed for juniors from 41.9% to 44.2% to 45.5%. For the elderly, the number has dropped significantly, from 59.9% in 2014 to 51.9% in 2017 and 53.2% in 2021.

Marijuana use has been down for freshmen and seniors since 2014, but up for sophomores and juniors. “The good news is [in] In 2021, we see a decrease in usage compared to 2017 and even 2014 for 12th graders,” Griffin said. “But the number is still very concerning, nearly 29% of our Grade 12 students report having used marijuana in the last 30 days.”

Griffin said the number of students not engaging in substance abuse is positive. “That said, the figures of 38% for alcohol and 18% for marijuana are concerning, so efforts related to prevention education and information must be focused on these two substances”, a- he declared. “You can also look at e-cigarettes and see that 13% have used them, so we have to think very carefully about how we help students use these electronic devices.”

He called the risk perception data “very revealing”. The perception of risk generally decreases considerably from the first year to the last year. For alcohol, the overall moderate or high risk is 75%, but it is only 51% for marijuana. “It’s clear that education and programming around marijuana and alcohol is essential,” Griffin said.

A comparison of 2021 to 2014 and 2017.

The perceived risk around cigarettes at 97% was “a very high number,” Griffin said, adding, “We want to reinforce that and keep it going, but it shows you how much advocacy, education and programming can really to help”.

Based on the data, Griffin suggested that educating parents about the harmful effects of marijuana would be appropriate, as the perception of parental disapproval is 80%.

Griffin said the perception of disapproval from friends is important because students often participate in these activities together. Disapproval of alcohol is at 74%, while marijuana is only at 44%.

According to perceived availability, alcohol, marijuana, tobacco and prescription drugs are harder to get, comparing 2014 to 2021.

Most uses are on weekends in student homes.

Lisa Tomeny, coordinator of the community coalition DATF, said substance use, especially at a young age, is particularly harmful to the brains of adolescents, who are still developing in their 20s.

“We know that the brain continues to develop here and the more you interfere with development, the higher the likelihood that you will develop a disorder,” she said, adding, “So age matters.”

Tomeny said the DATF wanted to “load as many protective factors as possible” in order to minimize risk factors.

“We have excellent academic results,” she said. “Strong ties to school is a protective factor that has been shown to be correlated with less use. We have a strong participation in activities, whether sports or clubs and extracurriculars. Our students generally feel safe at school and they attend school. We, for the most part, don’t have a lot of discipline issues. So these are all extremely powerful protective factors.

Tomeny said the survey shows “a lot of good news” when majorities – sometimes overwhelming – do not use many substances and perceive risk in that use.

“We want to celebrate the healthy choices they make, and while supporting those in the yellow zone [the risky behavior section of the charts] …so we can help them make better decisions,” Tomeny said.

As cannabis was legalized in New York State last year for use by people 21 and older, Tomeny sees “some challenges” ahead.

“We’ve seen usage increase sharply, especially as they get older,” she said. “[Marijuana] is the only substance with a noticeable decrease in parental disapproval, so we have some work to do in this area. Of course, among their peers, all it takes is getting education and information for students to really understand what the harms can be.

Griffin said the district has many resources and curriculum-based programs to help students make healthy decisions in middle school and high school.

“We’re looking to bring in programs and assemblies and speakers to try to address those issues, so it’s done through the school,” he said. “We also have professionals in the building, such as our youth workers, school counselors and psychologists. We are here to support students who are struggling with substance abuse. We have a strong club and a sports and extracurricular program and our participation rates are very, very high. We have a strict and strict code of conduct which prohibits the use of substances during the school day which we follow very carefully.

Tomeny said the next Pride survey will be administered in 2023 and may also include eighth graders for the first time.

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