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Study: Cocaine use by teens up
    #2204913 - 12/28/03 01:12 AM (12 years, 9 months ago)


Study: Cocaine use by teens up


PORTSMOUTH - Cocaine use among New Hampshire high school students has risen significantly in the past eight years, while alcohol use and smoking are down, according to a survey used by the state to measure risky teen behavior.

More than 16,000 students from across the state participated in two forms of the 2003 Youth Risk Behavior Survey. The survey asks students such questions as, "Have you carried a gun, knife or club onto school property on one or more of the past 30 days?" and "Were you offered, sold or given an illegal drug on school property by someone during the past 12 months?"

Of the 1,321 students questioned as a random sampling in one of the surveys, 10.5 percent answered that they had "used any form of cocaine, including powder, crack, or freebase, one or more times during the past 30 days." In 1995, when the survey was last distributed, the figure was 5.5 percent.

"That's a problem, something like cocaine," said Virginia St. Martin, who manages federal grants for drug prevention programs for the state Department of Education. "That's a pretty serious type of drug use."

In the random sampling, marijuana use among teenagers rose from 43.2 percent to 49.6 percent in the same time period.

The portion of students who reported to have "had at least one drink of alcohol on one or more days during their life" dropped from 77.8 percent to 75.4 percent in the eight-year span.

Perhaps the most encouraging figure from the random survey was the drop in the number of students who reported smoked cigarettes during the previous 30 days - from 36 percent to 19 percent.

The survey is produced by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. State governments and local school districts use the results in applying for federal grants for school counseling and to help design curricula.

Approximately 30 students at Portsmouth High School (PHS) participated in the random survey used by the state Department of Education, according to Deborah Clark, the school nurse at PHS.

Schools also have the option of administering an aggregate schoolwide youth-risk survey. The schoolwide survey, which was not distributed at PHS, is administered by both the N.H. Department of Education and the state Department of Health and Human Services.

St. Martin said school districts in New Hampshire get federal grants for substance-abuse counseling programs based on poverty levels and the number of students enrolled.

The amount allocated to Portsmouth under the Safe and Drug-Free School program this year was just less than $25,000. In districts that demonstrate higher risk factors, the grants can amount to as much as $100,000.

PHS recently hired Jody Broughton as a substance-abuse specialist, and has also held meetings for parents and teachers with Portsmouth police officers about possible signs of drug use.

"More than anything, we are more vigilant now," Clark said. "Teachers are more tuned in to thinking if there are signs a student might be under the influence of a substance at school. We are not just turning our cheek and giving them the benefit of the doubt."

Despite the rise in hard-drug use indicated in the survey results, Clark said alcohol and marijuana are still the primary substances students are using.

"That's what we focus on, because that's what we see as the more prevalent issue," Clark said. "But it's not what we exclusively focus on."

In addition to substance abuse, some of the factors the survey also looked at were behaviors resulting in unintentional and intentional injuries, sexual behavior resulting in diseases and unintended pregnancy, dietary behavior and exercise.

In the random sample, the percentage of New Hampshire students who reported having seriously considered attempting suicide in the previous 12 months dropped from 26 percent in 1995 to 17.8 percent.


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Trip'n Time

Registered: 11/17/02
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Re: Study: Cocaine use by teens up [Re: motaman]
    #2205030 - 12/28/03 02:34 AM (12 years, 9 months ago)

I told you! I called it months ago, maybe even a year. Coke is on the rise!

Look at how they say they're focusing more on alcohol and pot. Our survey said that alot of kids had a drink in their life or hit the bong. We got to mostly focus on that before we worry about coke taking over the school. I bet the school is running fine with people smoking and drinking, just like any other school. Lets see how good they do after coke spreads, it really catches on quick and doesnt go away easy. Oh well, guess thats what they get for not paying attention to what really matters.

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