Florida Youth Survey Reveals Pinellas County Trends in Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug
Florida Youth Survey Reveals Pinellas County Trends in Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Use
The 2012 Florida Youth Substance Abuse Survey shows declines in substance use among Pinellas County students. Statewide, 70,859 middle and high school students participated in the survey and 1,249 Pinellas County students were surveyed.
Alcohol and marijuana remain the most used substances for both middle and high school youth in Pinellas County. In 2010, 53.5% of students reported lifetime use of alcohol and 29.4% reported lifetime use of marijuana. Those numbers declined in 2012 to 48.7% and 23.4% respectively. Current marijuana use by Pinellas County students has also declined from 15.5% in 2010 to 13.0% in 2012, but, 13% is higher than the statewide average (12.4%).
“I am glad to see the number of Florida students using marijuana is decreasing even as national reports show an increased use of marijuana among youth,” said Calvina Fay, Executive Director of Drug Free America Foundation and Save Our Society From Drugs. “As states push for changes in drug policy that include attempts to legalize marijuana and normalize drug use, it is vital that our prevention efforts focus on the harms of marijuana. If we don’t continue to make this a priority, I am concerned that Florida statistics will soon mirror what we are seeing at the national level,” Fay added.
The survey also shows significant declines in prescription drug use. The non-medical use of prescription pain relievers declined from 7.9% in 2010 to 4.4% in 2012. 68.6% of students surveyed perceived a great risk of harm associated with the use of prescription drugs without a doctor’s order.
“Prescription drug education is a priority and we are glad to see that the efforts of our coalition members are paying off and we will continue to support those efforts to further reduce all substance abuse in our county,” said Jackie Griffin, Executive Director of LiveFree! “As we prepare to celebrate the coming of a new year, it is important for parents to remember to set a good example when it comes to celebrations that will include our youth. This new survey shows that youth who use alcohol report their usual drinking place is at home or at another person’s house. One drink, even in the perceived safety of their own home, is one too many for someone under the age of 21, ” concluded Griffin.
If you would like to set up an interview about this issue with a member of the LiveFree! Coalition, please contact 813-503-5658. For an interview with Calvina Fay, please contact (727) 828-0211 or (727) 403-7571.
The LiveFree! Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition consists of members of the community coming together to address alcohol, prescription drug use, marijuana, tobacco and other illicit drug use in Pinellas County among young adults and middle and high school students, by creating more systematic, environmental strategies and promoting the use of evidence-based prevention programs. For more information on LiveFree! please visit http://www.pinellascoalition.com and follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/livefreeFL
Drug Free America Foundation, Inc. is a national and international drug policy organization, based in St. Petersburg, Florida that promotes effective sound drug policies, education and prevention. www.dfaf.org. Save Our Society From Drugs (S.O.S.) takes a comprehensive approach to promote sound drug policy that includes education, prevention, abstinence-based treatment, scientific research, and community awareness. www.saveoursociety.org.