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YRBS High School Results: Grades 9 - 12

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Section 3: Drug & Alcohol Use


Alcohol and drug abuse are major contributing factors in homicides, suicides and motor vehicle crashes, which are the leading causes of death and disability among young people in the U.S. and in Alaska. Heavy drinking and drug abuse among youth are linked to physical fights, destroyed property, job problems, school failure, delinquency, unwanted pregnancies and transmission of sexually transmitted diseases4, 5.

An estimated 19.2% of Alaska adults report binge drinking (having five or more drinks on an occasion, one or more time in the past month). Alaska's rate of binge drinking is among the highest in the U.S.6.

Use of Alcohol

Almost half of Alaska high school students have had at least one drink of alcohol in the past 30 days. Additionally, 31.3% report binge drinking (five or more drinks in a row at least once in the past 30 days). Alaska students are similar to U.S. students.

Alcohol Use Among High School Students

                  a) Ever had at least one drink.
                  b) Had at least one drink in the 30 days prior to the survey.
                  c) Had five or more drinks within a couple of hours, in the 30 days prior to the survey.

Use of Drugs

The most common drugs used by high school students in Alaska are marijuana and inhalants (glues, paints and sprays). Alaska boys were slightly more likely than girls to report marijuana use within the past 30 days (32.1% of boys versus 24.9% of girls, data not shown); otherwise results for boys and girls are similar.

Use of Drugs by High School Students

                  a) Ever used marijuana.
                  b) Used marijuana one or more times in the 30 days preceding the survey.
                  c) Ever tried any form of cocaine.
                  d) Used cocaine on one or more days in the 30 days prior to the survey.
                  e) Ever sniffed glue, breathed contents of spray cans or inhaled paints or sprays to get high.
                  f) Ever used crack or freebase.
                  g) Ever used illegal steroids.
                  h) Ever used a needle to inject an illegal drug.

Use of Alcohol, Marijuana and Cocaine Before Age 13 Years

Almost 40% of Alaska high school boys report having had a first drink of alcohol before age 13 years. Also by age 13 years, 13.2% of boys and 10.3% of girls report having tried marijuana for the first time, accounting for about a quarter of those who have ever used marijuana. Percentages of age at first use are similar for boys and girls.

Used Alcohol, Marijuana or Cocaine Before the Age of 13 Years

Tobacco, Alcohol and Drug Use on School Property

Some drug use occurs on school property. Even though the overall use of marijuana is lower than alcohol, more Alaska students use marijuana than alcohol on school property. Alaska students are more likely to report use of tobacco (cigarettes and smokeless) on school property than are U.S. students. Results for alcohol and marijuana are similar.

Tobacco, Alcohol and Drug Use on School Property

                  a) Used cigarettes on school property at least one of the 30 days prior to the survey.
                  b) Used chewing tobacco or snuff on school property on at least of the 30 days prior to the survey.
                  c) Drank alcohol on school property on at least one of the 30 days prior to the survey.
                  d) Used marijuana on school property on at least one of the 30 days prior to the survey.

Students Who Where Offered, Sold or Given Drugs

Among Alaska high school students, 39.6% of boys and 27.9% of girls have been offered, sold or given an illegal drug on school property in the preceding 12 months. Alaska and U.S. data are similar.

Offered, Sold or Given Drugs on School Property in Past 12 Months

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