Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Youth Health Risk Behaviors Mixed, CDC Survey Shows

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Youth Health Risk Behaviors Mixed, CDC Survey Shows

Article excerpt

Data from the latest National Youth Risk Behavior Survey show that although many harmful behaviors are declining among high school students across the United States, work still needs to be done to eliminate risks that linger and quell those starting to crop up.

"We are encouraged to see that high school students are making some better choices; unfortunately, [we] are also facing some big challenges," Dr. Stephanie Zaza, director of the division of adolescent and school health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said during a teleconference.

More than 15,000 high school students--located in 37 states and 19 large, urban school districts--participated in the survey, which analyzed risk behaviors in key health and wellness categories. Smoking has decreased significantly since 1991, the inaugural year of the survey, dropping from 70% to 32% for students who had ever tried a cigarette. Hispanic males (37%) and students in 11th grade (38%) had the highest rates of cigarette use. However, e-cigarette use continues to be a growing issue, with 45% of high school students reporting having used an electronic vapor product at some point. This category includes not just e-cigarettes, but vape pipes and e-hookahs.

Opiate use also continues to be a challenging issue for public health, with 17% of high school students reporting that they have used a prescription drug despite not having a doctor's prescription to use it. Those drugs include OxyContin (oxycodone), Percocet (acetaminophen/oxycodone), Vicodin (acetaminophen/ hydrocodone), and codeine. Other problematic drugs among these students are the stimulants Adderall (dextroamphetamine plus amphetamine) and Ritalin (methylphenidate hydrochloride), and Xanax (alprazolam), a benzodiazepine. Males were more likely to use drugs without a prescription than female students were: 18% vs. 16%, respectively.

Results related to interpersonal violence--such as schoolyard fighting and physical bullying--were "mixed," according to Dr. …

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