Two Youth Surveys Released; Alcohol Remains Drug of Choice

Article excerpt

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta have released the findings of a new survey conducted by the department of education in 23 states and 10 cities, along with the National Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System.

The study drew probability samples from well-defined sampling frames of schools and students in grades 9-12. The report presents self-reported data about the prevalence of tobacco, alcohol, marijuana and cocaine.

Among the research findings:

* 46% of the students said they had drunk alcohol at least once in the previous 30 days.

* 11% said they had smoked marijuana during the previous month.

* 24% reported smoking cigarettes at least once during the reporting period.

Dr. Laura Kann, of the CDC's division of adolescent and school health, indicated that it is still too early to assess the health goals, set in 1990, for the year 2000 with respect to drinking and smoking.

Meanwhile the Department of Education has released a separate study of 56,000 students in 78 colleges, seeking to determine the extent of drinking and its impact on grades.

The two-year study, "Alcohol and Drugs on American Campuses," is the largest and most comprehensive study of its kind. It found that alcohol continues to be the drug of choice on college campuses, with 86% of students reporting drinking during the past year, and 45% saying that they drank at least weekly.

Cheryl Presley, Southern Illinois University, co-author of the study expressed concern about binge drinking on campus, particularly as it related to impaired driving, violence and sexual assault. …