Study shows most teens not drinking, using drugs


Feb. 23, 2016 

By Chris Hull

Sanford News Contributor 

SANFORD – Most students at Sanford Junior High School and Sanford High School are not using drugs and alcohol, according to the 2015 Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey. 

Megan Walsh, the resources coordinator for the Sanford School Department, Nichole Ivey, the program coordinator for Drug Free Communities, and Connie Roux, the substance abuse prevention coordinator for Partners for Healthier Communities, presented the surveys findings to the school committee on Monday evening. 

The survey states that “Sanford’s youth drinking rates have historically been lower than the state average and have been steadily decreasing over the past five years.” 

The survey also addressed marijuana use. 

“After five years of consistent increases in the rates of Sanford youth using marijuana, we finally saw a positive turn in 2015, with significant decreases at both school levels (junior high school and high school),” according to the survey. 

In an interview, Walsh said she sees messages about medical marijuana as a key part of drug prevention. 

“Just because medical marijuana is legal does not mean it’s OK,” she said. 

Regarding tobacco and prescription drug use, the survey showed that “use of tobacco and prescription drugs among Sanford youth continues to be higher than the state average, but also decreased in 2015.” 

Ivey said that it was important to share this data with the Sanford School Committee because it is responsible for disciplining students who violate Sanford Schools’ drug and alcohol policy. She wanted the committee to see that the issue is not as prevalent as committee members may think. 

According to Ivey, her organization and its partners have undergone a shift in messaging. The message used to be simple: Don’t do drugs. Now, Ivey said, the message is more focused on highlighting strategies that help students steer clear of drugs and alcohol. 

Both Walsh and Ivey stated that one major take-away from the survey is the important role that parents play in keeping their children away from drugs and alcohol. 

“Parents don’t realize their perception of drugs and alcohol abuse affects their children’s use,” Walsh said in a phone interview before Monday’s meeting. 

Both Walsh and Ivey described a parent’s role in prevention as “significant.” 

In a phone interview after Monday’s meeting, Ivey said that a student’s involvement in sports, school clubs and church organizations are also “protective factors” in keeping students away from drugs and alcohol. Having goals for the future and a good group of friends help too. 

Ivey and Walsh said they aim for greater community involvement to help students avoid drugs and alcohol. In her summary of the survey, Ivey stated, “As a community we must continue to de-normalize substance use in order to give youth the ability to take a stand against alcohol and other drugs without feeling ‘uncool’ or ‘alone’ in their choice.” 

Even if schools had more prevention education in classes, that is only part of a child’s day, Ivey said; therefore, she argued that the role of community and family are key. 

“We want this information to get out because it is such a prevalent issue in society today,” Walsh said, adding that the data from the survey influences grant writing, curriculum development and public education efforts. 

The survey also asked about students’ exercise habits, bullying, and suicidal intention. Years ago, the survey only reported on drug and alcohol use, but due to “survey fatigue” among students it was combined with another health survey. Walsh said that combining the surveys was a good idea because “we see the child as a whole child.” 

Ivey and her partners will continue to spread their message of rising above the influence of drugs and alcohol because, she said, “We have really awesome kids in our community.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Study shows most students not drinking, using drugs


Feb. 23, 2016

 

 

 

By Chris Hull

 

Sanford News Contributor

 

 

 

SANFORD – Most students at Sanford Junior High School and Sanford High School are not using drugs and alcohol, according to the 2015 Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey.

 

 

 

Megan Walsh, the resources coordinator for the Sanford School Department, Nichole Ivey, the program coordinator for Drug Free Communities, and Connie Roux, the substance abuse prevention coordinator for Partners for Healthier Communities, presented the surveys findings to the school committee on Monday evening.

 

 

 

The survey states that “Sanford’s youth drinking rates have historically been lower than the state average and have been steadily decreasing over the past five years.”

 

 

 

The survey also addressed marijuana use.

 

 

 

“After five years of consistent increases in the rates of Sanford youth using marijuana, we finally saw a positive turn in 2015, with significant decreases at both school levels (junior high school and high school),” according to the survey.

 

 

 

In an interview, Walsh said she sees messages about medical marijuana as a key part of drug prevention.

 

 

 

“Just because medical marijuana is legal does not mean it’s OK,” she said.

 

 

 

Regarding tobacco and prescription drug use, the survey showed that “use of tobacco and prescription drugs among Sanford youth continues to be higher than the state average, but also decreased in 2015.”

 

 

 

Ivey said that it was important to share this data with the Sanford School Committee because it is responsible for disciplining students who violate Sanford Schools’ drug and alcohol policy. She wanted the committee to see that the issue is not as prevalent as committee members may think.

 

 

 

According to Ivey, her organization and its partners have undergone a shift in messaging. The message used to be simple: Don’t do drugs. Now, Ivey said, the message is more focused on highlighting strategies that help students steer clear of drugs and alcohol.

 

 

 

Both Walsh and Ivey stated that one major take-away from the survey is the important role that parents play in keeping their children away from drugs and alcohol.

 

 

 

“Parents don’t realize their perception of drugs and alcohol abuse affects their children’s use,” Walsh said in a phone interview before Monday’s meeting.

 

 

 

Both Walsh and Ivey described a parent’s role in prevention as “significant.”

 

 

 

In a phone interview after Monday’s meeting, Ivey said that a student’s involvement in sports, school clubs and church organizations are also “protective factors” in keeping students away from drugs and alcohol. Having goals for the future and a good group of friends help too.

 

 

 

Ivey and Walsh said they aim for greater community involvement to help students avoid drugs and alcohol. In her summary of the survey, Ivey stated, “As a community we must continue to de-normalize substance use in order to give youth the ability to take a stand against alcohol and other drugs without feeling ‘uncool’ or ‘alone’ in their choice.”

 

 

 

Even if schools had more prevention education in classes, that is only part of a child’s day, Ivey said; therefore, she argued that the role of community and family are key.

 

 

 

“We want this information to get out because it is such a prevalent issue in society today,” Walsh said, adding that the data from the survey influences grant writing, curriculum development and public education efforts.

 

 

 

The survey also asked about students’ exercise habits, bullying, and suicidal intention. Years ago, the survey only reported on drug and alcohol use, but due to “survey fatigue” among students it was combined with another health survey. Walsh said that combining the surveys was a good idea because “we see the child as a whole child.”

 

 

 

Ivey and her partners will continue to spread their message of rising above the influence of drugs and alcohol because, she said, “We have really awesome kids in our community.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feb. 23, 2016

 

 

 

By Chris Hull

 

Sanford News Contributor

 

 

 

SANFORD – Most students at Sanford Junior High School and Sanford High School are not using drugs and alcohol, according to the 2015 Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey.

 

 

 

Megan Walsh, the resources coordinator for the Sanford School Department, Nichole Ivey, the program coordinator for Drug Free Communities, and Connie Roux, the substance abuse prevention coordinator for Partners for Healthier Communities, presented the surveys findings to the school committee on Monday evening.

 

 

 

The survey states that “Sanford’s youth drinking rates have historically been lower than the state average and have been steadily decreasing over the past five years.”

 

 

 

The survey also addressed marijuana use.

 

 

 

“After five years of consistent increases in the rates of Sanford youth using marijuana, we finally saw a positive turn in 2015, with significant decreases at both school levels (junior high school and high school),” according to the survey.

 

 

 

In an interview, Walsh said she sees messages about medical marijuana as a key part of drug prevention.

 

 

 

“Just because medical marijuana is legal does not mean it’s OK,” she said.

 

 

 

Regarding tobacco and prescription drug use, the survey showed that “use of tobacco and prescription drugs among Sanford youth continues to be higher than the state average, but also decreased in 2015.”

 

 

 

Ivey said that it was important to share this data with the Sanford School Committee because it is responsible for disciplining students who violate Sanford Schools’ drug and alcohol policy. She wanted the committee to see that the issue is not as prevalent as committee members may think.

 

 

 

According to Ivey, her organization and its partners have undergone a shift in messaging. The message used to be simple: Don’t do drugs. Now, Ivey said, the message is more focused on highlighting strategies that help students steer clear of drugs and alcohol.

 

 

 

Both Walsh and Ivey stated that one major take-away from the survey is the important role that parents play in keeping their children away from drugs and alcohol.

 

 

 

“Parents don’t realize their perception of drugs and alcohol abuse affects their children’s use,” Walsh said in a phone interview before Monday’s meeting.

 

 

 

Both Walsh and Ivey described a parent’s role in prevention as “significant.”

 

 

 

In a phone interview after Monday’s meeting, Ivey said that a student’s involvement in sports, school clubs and church organizations are also “protective factors” in keeping students away from drugs and alcohol. Having goals for the future and a good group of friends help too.

 

 

 

Ivey and Walsh said they aim for greater community involvement to help students avoid drugs and alcohol. In her summary of the survey, Ivey stated, “As a community we must continue to de-normalize substance use in order to give youth the ability to take a stand against alcohol and other drugs without feeling ‘uncool’ or ‘alone’ in their choice.”

 

 

 

Even if schools had more prevention education in classes, that is only part of a child’s day, Ivey said; therefore, she argued that the role of community and family are key.

 

 

 

“We want this information to get out because it is such a prevalent issue in society today,” Walsh said, adding that the data from the survey influences grant writing, curriculum development and public education efforts.

 

 

 

The survey also asked about students’ exercise habits, bullying, and suicidal intention. Years ago, the survey only reported on drug and alcohol use, but due to “survey fatigue” among students it was combined with another health survey. Walsh said that combining the surveys was a good idea because “we see the child as a whole child.”

 

 

 

Ivey and her partners will continue to spread their message of rising above the influence of drugs and alcohol because, she said, “We have really awesome kids in our community.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SANFORD – Most students at Sanford Junior High School and Sanford High School are not using drugs and alcohol, according to the 2015 Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey.

 

Megan Walsh, the resources coordinator for the Sanford School Department, Nichole Ivey, the program coordinator for Drug Free Communities, and Connie Roux, the substance abuse prevention coordinator for Partners for Healthier Communities, presented the surveys findings to the school committee on Monday evening.

 

The survey states that “Sanford’s youth drinking rates have historically been lower than the state average and have been steadily decreasing over the past five years.”

 

The survey also addressed marijuana use.