JEFFERSON COUNTY: Youth survey results also above state averages in pot smoking, drinking

By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News

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

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

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

The survey said 10.3 percent of Jefferson students reported that they had been drunk while at school at least 10 or more times in the preceding year, compared with 4.1 percent of responding students statewide.

The survey was 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.

It included 123 of 212 Jefferson County 10th-graders and 150 of 194 sixth-graders students but did not break down student responses by school district.

The complete survey can be viewed at www.askhys.net.

Students who reported substance use included:

■   Alcohol: Jefferson County, 27.3 percent; state, 23.3 percent.

■   Marijuana: Jefferson, 30.4 percent; state, 19.3 percent.

■   Tobacco: Jefferson, 15.2 percent; state, 9.5 percent.

Just more than 20 percent of Jefferson students reported “binge drinking” — defined as five or more drinks in a row — in the preceding two weeks, compared with 13.3 percent statewide

More than half of them, 13.9 percent, reported binge drinking twice during those two weeks.

They reported that friends were the No. 1 source of alcohol — 14.5 percent — while 10.9 percent took the alcohol from home without their parents’ permission.

Among Jefferson 10th-graders, 50.9 percent reported that they thought their schools do not enforce smoking bans, and 8.9 percent said they had used tobacco on campus.

Among girls, 34.4 percent reported using marijuana, while 25 percent of boys said they had used it.

Among Jefferson County sixth-graders, 1.4 percent of students reported drinking alcohol, smoking tobacco cigarettes or using marijuana.

Sixth-grade substance-use statistics in Jefferson County 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 greater rates, and girls were significantly more likely to report that they enjoy being at school than boys.

Among Jefferson County 10th-graders, 81 percent said they felt safe at school.

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

However, while 42.2 percent of Jefferson girls reported bullying incidents within the previous 30 days, only 22.4 percent of boys reported being bullied at school.

Boys were more likely to report that they enjoyed being at school — 40.4 percent to girls’ 37.5 percent.

Among sixth-graders:

■   84.2 percent reported feeling safe at school.

■   38.9 percent reported being the target of bullying.

■   4.5 percent reported carrying a weapon to school.

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

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

■   49.3 percent of girls reported being bullied, compared with 25.5 percent of boys.

■   57.7 percent of girls said they enjoyed being at school, while 29.2 percent of boys agreed.

________

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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