I’ve been blogging about some positive results from the 2014 Healthy Youth Survey that indicate that Ravenna-Bryant children live in a community that supports healthy youth development. By and large, the children in our community live safe and healthy lives. In previous posts I wrote about children walking and biking to school at rates higher than the state average and having adults in the community that they can talk to.
However, when it comes to drugs, specifically alcohol and marijuana, community risk factors tell a different story. When asked how easy it would be get alcohol, almost 60% of Roosevelt High School 10th graders say “very easy” or “sort of easy”, compared to just over 50% of 10th graders in WA. When the same question is asked about access to marijuana, 60% of 10th grade RHS students report it is easy/very easy to get while the state average is 53%. RHS 10th grade students aren’t different than the average WA student when it comes to accessing illegal drugs, though – about 16% report it is easy/very easy to get illegal drugs.
Most RHS 10th graders (70%) do not drink alcohol. Among those who do, beer is the alcohol most commonly used followed by liquor (hard alcohol, spirits). Wine is a distant third. When asked how they get alcohol, RHS students who drink primarily report social access (“from friends” or “at a party”). The second most common source of alcohol is at home, either with or without parental permission.
Most RHS 10th graders (75%) do not use marijuana. Among those who do, most report smoking it. Like alcohol, the primary way that they get marijuana is socially (“from friends” or “at a party”). Far fewer students report getting marijuana from home compared to alcohol and 85% report that nobody they live with uses marijuana.
When it comes to factors that contribute to youth drug use, every community is different. Each community is going to have different reasons behind healthy and unhealthy behaviors among their children. As a community, Ravenna-Bryant can continue to support walking and biking to school as a way to support physical fitness among children. We can continue to individually connect with neighborhood kids so that bonds are created. Adults in Ravenna-Bryant can take a closer look at how teenagers access alcohol and marijuana and reduce those access points. (Where does the alcohol and marijuana that teenagers access socially come from?) Alcohol and marijuana use among 10th graders is not the norm in Ravenna-Bryant and our community can contribute to keeping it that way.