CLALLAM COUNTY: 10th-graders more likely to smoke pot than tobacco, state-sponsored survey says

By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News

Clallam County’s 10th-grade students are more likely to smoke marijuana than tobacco — and far more likely to drink alcohol than use marijuana.

And they do so at higher rates than the rest of the state, according to a statewide survey of students commissioned by several state government agencies.

The 2012 Healthy Youth Survey, taken every other fall, polls students on their use of drugs, alcohol, issues with violence and attitudes toward school in the sixth and 10th grades.

The latest results also revealed that while more Clallam County students felt safe at school than the state average, they were almost twice as likely to carry weapons — firearms and knives — to school.

The survey, sponsored by the state Department of Health, the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, the Department of Social and Health Services, the Department of Commerce, the Family Policy Council and the Liquor Control Board, included 293 of 722 Clallam County 10th-grade students and 310 of 634 sixth-grade students.

It did not break down student responses by school district. The complete survey is available at www.askhys.net.

Responding 10th-graders reported their substance use in the preceding 30 days to be considerably higher than their peers statewide.

Students who reported substance use included:

■   Alcohol: Clallam, 31.9 percent; state, 23.3 percent.

■   Marijuana: Clallam, 22.9 percent; state, 19.3 percent.

■   Tobacco: Clallam, 15.2 percent, state, 9.5 percent.

Just more than 20 percent of students reported participating in “binge drinking” in the preceding two weeks compared with 13.3 percent statewide

More than half of them, 11.5 percent of students, reported binge drinking twice during those two weeks.

Binge drinking is defined as having five or more drinks in a row.

They also reported a slightly greater use of other illegal drugs — 7.3 percent — compared with the state average of 5.1 percent.

Among the 10th-graders, 45.8 percent reported that their schools do not enforce smoking bans, and 3.4 percent said they had used tobacco on campus.

Among Clallam County sixth-graders, 2.7 percent of students reported drinking alcohol — and binge drinking — while 1.7 percent reported using tobacco and 1.3 percent to using marijuana.

Sixth-grade substance-use statistics were similar to state averages.

The study also asked students about bullying and how safe they felt at school.

Girls reported feeling safer at school than boys, though they also reported that they were bullied at higher rates.

Girls were significantly more likely to report that they enjoy being at school.

Among Clallam County 10th-graders, 84 percent reported that they felt safe at school.

Some 35 percent of Clallam students reported that they had been bullied at school within the preceding 30 days, compared with 25 percent statewide.

A total of 86.6 percent of girls reported that they felt safe at school, while only 81.7 percent of boys felt safe, the report said.

However, while 40.1 percent of girls reported bullying incidents within the previous 30 days, only 29.5 percent of boys reported being bullied at school.

Among sixth-graders:

■   87.5 percent reported feeling safe at school.

■   37 percent reported being the target of bullying.

■   3.3 percent reported carrying a weapon to school.

■   56 percent reported enjoying being at school, compared with 59 percent statewide.

As with the 10th-grade students, there was a division between boys and girls reporting:

■   39.5 percent of girls said they had been bullied, compared with 34.9 percent of boys.

■   62.8 percent said they enjoyed school, while 48.4 percent of boys agreed.

■   89.1 percent of girls reported feeling safe at school, while 85.9 percent of boys said they felt safe.

________

Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at arwyn.rice@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: March 19. 2013 6:22PM
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