Teen Substance Abuse on the Decline

Teen Substance Abuse on the Decline

The Wyoming Department of Health reports a new survey of junior high and high school students shows a decline of smoking and drinking among students. The survey, conducted by the Wyoming Survey and Analysis Center at the University of Wyoming, asked students about alcohol and drug use within the past 30 days. Among 8th graders, alcohol use has decreased from 24 percent to 18 percent, while 10th graders’ drinking went from 38 to 32 percent. Tobacco use also showed a slightly more modest decline from the previous survey, which was taken between 2006 and 2010.

While alcohol remains the most commonly used substance among students of all ages, prescription drug abuse was reported by one percent of 8th graders and 4.5 percent of high school seniors.

The survey also shows that students grossly misperceive the prevalence of drug and alcohol abuse among their peers both in frequency and quantity. For example, the odds of perceived methamphetamine use by most students were 92 to 213 times greater than the odds of actual methamphetamine use.

Data collected in the survey is used by the state to customize educational and prevention programs.

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