Monday, November 15, 2010

2010 Cheshire Youth Survey Report

This youth survey was sponsored by the Cheshire Coalition to Stop Underage Drinking, and the
Cheshire Youth and Social Services Department. It was administered in March 2010, with the
cooperation and participation of Cheshire Public Schools, to students in Dodd Middle School and Cheshire High School.  The report is available here and is very lengthy. I pulled out a couple of areas to highlight here but I suggest going through the report.

One positive note is that fewer youth reported having tried drinking alcohol since the last survey (2008).  However, consumption ( in the past 30 days ) has changed little (Graph A). Most Cheshire youth reported somewhat less recent drinking than national statistics or than 17 CT towns surveyed in 2006-2010.

Less positive results: Lifetime use of marijuana among 7-8th graders remained about the same Lifetime use increased from 16% to 24% among 9th - 10th graders and remained the same at 34-36% for 11-12th graders.

Perceived availability of Alcohol remained relatively highly available 2008-2010 with 59-62% for 7-8th graders and 85-86% for 11-12th graders.

Perceived availability of marijuana increased from 16%(2008) to 27%(2010) for 7-8th graders, 48% (2008) to 68% (2010) for 9-10th graders, and 72% (2008) to 82% (2010) for 11-12th graders.

The risk of progression from drinking alcohol to the use of other substances is quite real, in
Cheshire as in other communities. Youth who reported recent use of alcohol were 13 to 33 times
more likely to also report recent marijuana use. Recent users of marijuana were 17 times more
likely to smoke cigarettes. Indeed, 35% of marijuana users smoked cigarettes, compared to only 4% of non-users, even after the confounding effect of age was removed statistically. The
concordance of use of multiple substances by a sub-group of youth is not unique to Cheshire, but has been seen in most towns surveyed. Data indicate that either alcohol or marijuana may act as the “gateway” substance. Use of alcohol preceded marijuana use by at least a year among 37% of dual users, but marijuana use came first for 20%.

This report is quite sobering, IMO, and I suggest spending some time going through the responses, charts, etc. and draw your own conclusions from it.

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