Trends of declining substance abuse in Region 9
According to data from the Texas School Survey, less students are actually drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes than before 2008 in Region 9. The number of students drinking several times a month, according to the Texas School Survey, has dropped from 19.2% in 2008 to 8% in 2014. This matches national data from SAMSHA that indicates alcohol consumption and binge drinking over the past 12 years has declined from the 12-20 age group.[i] The chart below from USA Today shows that 12 years ago, nearly 30% of youth from ages 12-20 were at least using alcohol while 19% were binge drinking. These numbers have declined to 22.7% of American youth aged 12-20 using alcohol while 14.2% reportedly binge drink. Similarly, cigarette smoking has been the lowest among high school students since the early 1990s according to the CDC with less than 16% of high school students reportedly smoking.[ii] Though these numbers are improving, a strong prevention message is still needed to explain the dangers of alcohol and tobacco to adolescents in order to eliminate alcohol-and-tobacco-related health issues among youth
By Kevin Thompson Regional Evaluator
Region 9 Prevention Resource Center
[i] Pager T, Underage Drinking, Binge Boozing by Minors is on the Decline, USA Today, June 11, 2015, June 2016.
[ii] Center for Disease Control, Cigarette smoking among US high school students at lowest level in 22 years, CDC, June 2014, July 2016.
Published August 8, 2016.