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 Drugs and Alcohol
Over two thirds of middle school students report ever having had a drink of alcohol. The alcohol question excluded drinking wine for religious reasons. The next most common drugs are marijuana and inhalants (glue, paints and sprays). Nearly 20% of students report ever having used inhalants and 26.1% report ever having used marijuana.
Those Who Report Ever Using
Use of Alcohol, Marijuana and Cocaine Before Age Eleven Years
Over 40% of middle school students report having had a first drink of alcohol before age 11 years. Over 7% report having tried marijuana for the first time before age 11 years, accounting for about 30% of those who ever used marijuana.
Before the Age of 11 Years