Some Good News Regarding Alcohol Awareness

by: Mike Miller

It would be nice to hear a little good news as our nation seeks to overcome its addiction to substances of all kinds. It seems like the news gets worse every day.

The 2010 Youth Risk Behavior Survey showed that “there is a lot of good news,” according to student presenters.

The number of students who choose not to use alcohol or marijuana does decrease with each grade level.

Schools who participate in the Youth Risk Behavior Survey show cigarette and alcohol use has declined among both middle and high school students. Among high school students, however, binge drinking and marijuana use has plateaued, with about 20 percent of students in grades nine through 12 reporting they binge drink or use marijuana.

“There has been a large decrease in alcohol use over the last four years, but of those who do drink alcohol, the numbers that binge drink have largely remained the same. Data showed that 62 percent of students who drank alcohol in the past 30 days reported binge drinking. The data indicates that the majority of students who do use alcohol are high risk drinking.

When it comes to other risky behaviors, one in three seniors reported riding in a vehicle operated by a minor under the influence of marijuana. In addition, in the 30 days prior to when the survey was administered last fall, 43 seniors reported they had driven a car while under the influence of marijuana.

Parent Participation

When it comes to parents’ role in helping their children refrain from using cigarettes, alcohol and marijuana, Perception of parent disapproval significantly influences the decisions the student makes about drugs and alcohol. 

Students reported that their parents’ disapproval of cigarette usage is highest; incidentally, student use of cigarettes is the lowest when compared to alcohol and marijuana use.

According to a parents’ survey, 84 percent felt it was very wrong for their child to smoke cigarettes, 77 percent felt that way about marijuana use and 69 percent reported feeling that way about their child having “one or two drinks of alcohol with their friends.”

It is good to see that parents understand they have an important role in keeping their children safe and substance abuse-free. They should also require each child to take an online MIP class.