High School Students and If There Really are Drug Issues

By: Kaley R.

A group of senior girls participating in the Youth Risk Behavior Survey
A group of senior girls participating in the Youth Risk Behavior Survey

Duxbury High School students complete the Risk Behavior Survey every two years to assess risks and temptations of high school students. The survey was last administered in 2013. The 2013 answers to the survey were compared to the 2011 survey answers. . One important aspect to the survey is drug use. Are high school students using drugs as much as they used to? The analysis document for Duxbury’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey states, “For each variable , percentages are given out of the students that answered that individual question. Therefore, responses may vary by question as students were allowed to skip individual questions if they did not want to respond. Percentages are rounded up or down where necessary.” In 2013, 936 DHS students took the survey.

Duxbury High School students last took the survey in May of 2013. Assistant Principal Jim Donovan said, “The survey results are analyzed by the Student Health Advisory Council (SHAC) which is run by Ms. Carney at Alden. They review and analyze the data and chart the comparative data.” The YRBS was designed by the CDC. The analysis states, “The Youth Risk Behavior Survey was developed specifically for high school students at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It is used to monitor student behavior that may compromise the health, safety and well being of adolescents. These behaviors include the use of tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs; behaviors leading to injury such as drinking and driving, fighting, and suicide attempts; dietary behaviors and physical activity; and sexual behaviors that may result in sexually transmitted diseases and/or pregnancy.”

The Survey showed that Duxbury students use less drugs comparatively to other Massachusetts schools. With marijuana use Duxbury’s numbers were: Used marijuana in the past 30 days: 22% compared to 28% of all of MA; first used before age 13: 1.5% compared to 7% MA; used marijuana on school property during the past 30 days; 4% compared to 6% MA.

Hingham compares their numbers nationally. Hingham’s number for marijuana use was: tried marijuana: 34% compared with the 43% nationwide. Used within lifetime for 2014 was: 34% compared to 43% MA. In 2012 it was 39% and in 2010 it was 32% of students of Hingham High School, Principal Paula Girouard McCann, said, “When we examine it and report it, we look to see trends among our own students to determine what we need to address.”

Principal Stephens said that the results of the 2015 YRBS will be finalized in the summer and published in the fall. “The results are not published till the fall because the school has to wait for the state and national averages to be published,” said Mr. Donovan.

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