How has the pandemic impacted substance abuse among Scarsdale teens? A new survey released by Scarsdale High School shows that usage habits are remarkably unchanged since the school conducted the same survey in 2017.
The survey, called PRIDE, has been used since 1982 to collect information from adolescents across the county on substance use and perceptions of the risk substance use. It also measures the power of protective factors such as good grades, participation in sports, school attendance and appropriate behavior in school.
The community uses the data to identify areas of concern, trends and patterns, and to evaluate substance use prevention efforts.
This year, the voluntary and anonymous survey was given during the school day on March 25 and 26, 2021. Both parents and students were given the opportunity to opt out. In 2021, 75% of high school students or 1,140 participated which is down from 1,268 who participated in 2017. Participation was highest among ninth graders, though 67% of the senior class took the survey.
The survey primarily measures substance use in the past 30 days, and you can see these core measures in the chart below.
Overall, use of alcohol fell slightly from 39.7% in 2017 to 37.9% in 2021. Marijuana usage also decreased from 20.3% in 2017 to 17.9% in 2021. Notable was an increase in the use of e-cigarettes and atomizers to 13.1%.
Interpreting the data, Assistant Principal Chris Griffin said, “As expected, usage increases with age and older students are more likely to drink at home on the weekends.” Marijuana usage is also more prevalent among older students as only 3.6% of ninth graders report usage in the past 30 days as compared to 28.5% of seniors.
See below for a chart showing protective factors against substance use and risk factors that could increase abuse.
And also see below for the important takeaways from the data.
Griffin said that the survey data will be shared with school administrators, youth outreach workers, the Drug and Alcohol Task Force, parents and students so that the current situation can be assessed, and the community can examine the effectiveness of current prevention programs and make modifications if needed.