HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT SURVEY SUMMARY:
The premise of the work is that students tend to have exaggerated perceptions of the alcohol and other substance use at their school. This belief increases the sense of peer pressure for students to partake of various substances. Through a series of unfolding marketing campaign efforts, students are made aware of the sense of exaggeration and informed of the actual levels of substance use at the school. By reducing perceptions of total use and validating individual inclinations against substance use, students are inoculated against substance trial and use.
Alcohol Use/Binge Drinking – Lifetime & Past 30 Days
One in four respondent (25%) report using alcohol in the past 30 days, while two in five (38%) report that their friends had consumed alcohol in the same time period, and two in three (66%) report that other students in the school consumed alcohol in the past 30 days. Note that the question regarding perceptions of “Other students” and even, to some degree, perceptions of “Friends” consumption tend to be exaggerated due to (a) common misperceptions, and (b) accurate assessments that at least some of the target group may be using substances.
One in eight (12%) students report binge drinking (5+ drinks in a single setting) in the past 30 days, while one in four (26%) report friends binge drinking, and three in five (59%) report that others in the school binge drank in the past 30 days.
Driven Car After Drinking /Been Passenger of Impaired Driver – Past 30 Days
As with reported past 30 day drinking, while most students had neither driven after drinking (91%) nor been a passenger in a car where the driver had been drinking (63%), a higher proportion report that their friends had been in both situations (67%/56%), as a far higher proportion report that other students at their school have binged.
Used Tobacco / Marijuana- Lifetime & Past 30 Days
Similar results are noted for tobacco and marijuana use… where only 6% of youths report using marijuana daily, 16% report that their friends use daily, and 38% report that other students in their school use marijuana daily. For cigarettes and tobacco, one in ten students report daily use, and one in four report that their friends smoke daily, while nearly half report that others in the school smoke daily.
RX Drugs W/O Prescription / Other Illicit Drugs – Lifetime & Past 30 Days
The case for other drugs follows similar but even more exagerated differential patterns. Only 3% of students report using unprescribed prescription drugs in the past 30 days, while 12% report that their friends have used and nearly half (47%) report that other students in the school have used them. Use of other illicit drugs (excluding marijuana) follows similar patterns.
Where Alcohol is Obtained – By Grade, Gender and Recent Use
Roughly one in three students get alcohol at parties or from adults other than their own parents or guardians. One in four get alcohol from home without their parents/guardian’s permission, and one in five get it at home with parent/guardian permission. Very few purchase alcohol directly from stores, bars or restaurants.
Where Alcohol is Consumed – By Grade, Gender and Recent Use
Most youths that drink do so in someone’s home, either with or without the parent’s permission. One in four drink in a home where the parent does permit alcohol consumption (if not in their home, then in a friend’s home). Fewer drink in public venues, cars or at events.
Perception of Parent Approval of Substance Abuse
While the majority of parents disapprove of youth drinking, nearly a third are viewed as thinking it is either not wrong or only a little wrong. Disapproval of tobacco and marijuana use is somewhat higher: only one in five youths view their parents as permissive toward tobacco (either not wrong or just a little wrong), and one in six toward marijuana use.
Influence of Parent Approval on Alcohol Abuse
Contrary to most parent’s assumptions, a youth’s perception of their parent’s sense of approval or disapproval greatly influences their behavior towards alcohol use. Where parents are perceived as feeling alcohol use is wrong or very wrong, half of students have never had a drink of alcohol, vs. just one in five students who view their parents as not feeling alcohol use is wrong.
Similarly, three in four students whose parents are against alcohol use have never tried binge drinking, compared with just two in five youths whose parents have a more permissive attitude.
Influence of Parent Approval on Tobacco Use
Youths whose parents are perceived as viewing tobacco use as wrong or very wrong are far less likely to use tobacco products – three in four have never tried them, and just one in ten are daily smokers.
A majority of youths whose parents don’t view tobacco use as wrong or just a little wrong have used tobacco products in their lifetimes, and one in three are daily smokers!
Influence of Parent Approval of Marijuana Use on Other Substance Abuse
Perceptions of parental attitudes are similarly important for preventing youths from trying marijuana. Among youths whose parents find marijuana use wrong or very wrong, three in four have never tried it and seven in eight have not smoked marijuana in the past 30 days. In contrast, three in five children of parents who think marijuana use is not wrong or just a little wrong have tried it, two in five have used marijuana in the past 30 days, and one in five use marijuana daily.
Permissive parental attitudes toward marijuana use are also related to greater use of prescription drugs prescribed for others, and to use of other illegal substances.