Inhalants And Marijuana Still Widely Used
LaBelle, Fl -- Lt. Governor Jeff Kottkamp announces significant reductions in cigarette smoking and binge drinking among Florida's middle school and high school students since 2000, as reported by the 2008 Florida Youth Substance Abuse Survey.
But, in contrast to the significant reductions being made each year, the 2008 survey confirms the continuing trend of prescription drug abuse and highlights the need for future prevention efforts. The Florida Office of Drug Control, state agencies, law enforcement, substance abuse prevention coalitions, schools and community stakeholders have partnered to reduce substance abuse across the state.
According to the survey, which has been administered every year since 2000, drug use among Florida's middle and high school students is down in 10 of 11 areas consistently measured over the history of the survey. From 2007 to 2008, among middle and high school students, past 30-day use of alcohol and binge drinking declined significantly. Long-term trends documented from 2000 to 2008 include:
Ø Cigarette smoking is cut in half: The past 30-day use of cigarettes among middle and high schoolers is at 9 percent, down from 18 percent in 2000.
Ø Binge drinking declines by 4 percentage points since 2000: Binge drinking, defined as having five or more drinks in a row sometime during the previous two weeks, currently stands at 15 percent, down from 19 percent in 2000.
Ø Use of any illegal drug other than marijuana continues to decline: The percent of students who report using any illegal drug other than marijuana has declined by 24 percent since 2000 and now stands at a historically low 6.6 percent.
Ø Early initiation continues to decline: Research confirms that if our youth make it to adulthood without experimenting with drugs, they are far less likely to start using later in life. The 2008 survey documents an important decline in the percentage of high school students who first used alcohol (by 8.6 percentage points), tobacco (by 19.5 percentage points), and marijuana (by 6.7 percentage points) before the age of 14.
Ø New question on over-the-counter drugs: For the first time, middle schoolers were asked about their use of over-the-counter drugs such as cold and cough medications in order to get high. The lifetime prevalence rate of over-the-counter drug abuse (4.9 percent) is higher than the rate for any illegal drug except marijuana.
Ø Prescription drugs emerging as a dangerous source of abuse: 4.5 percent of high school seniors report abusing prescription pain relievers in the past 30 days, and 3.8 percent report abusing prescription depressants more than any other illegal drug (excluding marijuana). Results from the 2002 survey (the first time this question was asked) were nearly identical, indicating a continuing trend in prescription drug abuse.
"While drug use is down overall, parents need to be acutely alert to the dangers posed by legally accessible substance like inhalants, alcohol, prescription drugs, and over-the-counter medications. Parents need to do their part to keep young people safe by restricting the availability of these substances within their homes and by closely monitoring their children's activities," Office of Drug Control Bill Janes said.
Florida's Drug Control Strategy acknowledges that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to ensuring that children, families, and communities are healthy and safe. Florida's diverse communities must prioritize their needs and select the most effective strategies that will be used to tackle their unique profile of substance abuse problems. The continued support of community anti-drug coalitions is vital to prevention efforts throughout the state.
Florida's youth survey measures youth substance use annually across the state, and in alternate years, in each county. The 2008 edition included 91,471 valid returns from sixth through 12th graders in 66 of Florida's 67 counties. (Sarasota County is not included among the counties surveyed because it chose to administer an internal survey that is not comparable to the Florida Youth Substance Abuse Survey.) The full report is available online at www.dcf.state.fl.us/mentalhealth/publications/fysas/.