A survey among middle and high school students in the New London Public Schools suggests that fewer students are using alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs, the New London Community and Campus Coalition has announced.
A total of 612 students in grades seven through 12 took the survey, which questioned how frequently they used alcohol and different kinds of drugs, in May. The survey also asked how students obtained the substances, their ease in obtaining the substances, their reasons for trying the substances, and other questions regarding their habits, family life, and other behaviors.
The survey determined that the use of alcohol and tobacco use is on the decline in most grade levels, with all grades except the sophomore class reporting less frequent alcohol and marijuana use than other respondents in southeastern Connecticut and the United States. Most students reported never using illicit drugs such as cocaine or heroin, but more students reported using previously legal "street" drugs such as bath salts or K2. The survey also noted upward trends in the use of alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana in ninth and tenth grade.
"The transition years of moving from middle school to high school can be difficult and stressful, which may cause for this rise in substance use," a press release from the New London Community and Campus Coalition stated.
The anonymous survey, directed by the Groton evaluation firm Quantitative Services, was done with adult supervision; similar surveys were given to students in 2006 and 2010. The data came from 261 surveys in Bennie Dover Jackson Middle School, 230 in the New London High School, and 117 in the Science and Technology Magnet High School.
The New London Community and Campus Coalition works to promote healthy lifestyles in New London youth and address issues of underage drinking and substance abuse. The full report on the survey results can be viewed at the NLCCC website or in the attached PDF file.