Findings On Drug And Alcohol Use Among New York City Youth

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One in three youth (35%) in New York City reported drinking alcohol in the past month in 2005, compared to 41% in 2001. Additionally, in 2005 approximately 12% of public high school students reported recently using marijuana, down by about a third since 2001.

The results are based on the 2005 NYC Youth Risk Behavior Survey, a survey conducted every two years by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) and Department of Education (DOE). While this decline is good news, too many teens are using drugs and alcohol, leading to avoidable hospitalizations and deaths. "New York City kids are getting smarter," said Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas R. Frieden. "There are a third fewer youth smoking today than in 2001; this is important because teens who smoke are more than twice as likely to try alcohol and other drugs.

Parents should set clear rules against drinking, smoking, and using drugs, and talk honestly to their children about the dangers of substance use. If parents suspect their child is drinking or using drugs, there are counseling resources available through doctors and schools to help address the problem."

"Alcohol and other drug use can impair judgment and lead to poor decisions, such as engaging in unprotected sex," Dr. Frieden said. "This can lead to unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections." "It is great news that fewer public high school students today drink or use drugs," said Chancellor Klein.

"Students, parents, and families should know that their schools are a safe and appropriate place to ask questions about drugs and alcohol, and to get information, resources, and support for themselves or loved ones who may need assistance."

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Other Key Findings

  • NYC youth binge drink half as much as the national average (14% vs. 26%).

  • White youth report more binge drinking in the past month (28%) than black (8%) or Hispanic (18%) youth.

  • Youth in NYC are less likely than youth nationwide to use marijuana (28% vs. 38%), inhalants (9% vs. 12%), ecstasy (4% vs. 6%), cocaine (4% vs. 8%), or methamphetamines (2% vs. 6%).

  • Similar to the national average, about one in four students were younger than 13 when they tried drinking for the first time. Report Recommendations Schools continue to strictly enforce no-substance use policies and promote anti-substance use messages.

  • Enforcement of policies and promotion of anti-substance use messages during the school day and in after-school activities is critical for students in all grades, teachers and other staff.

  • Educators are advised to target evidence-based substance abuse prevention programs and messages to groups with the highest usage rates, as well as areas with the largest youth substance users.

  • Schools can help smokers, and students, parents, and staff who use other substances, to quit
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