According to the latest survey of Marion County students in grades six, eight, 10, and 12, 79 percent say their best friends have committed to being drug free.
However, nearly half of them say their friends have tried alcohol in the past year and more than 25 percent say their friends have smoked cigarettes in the past year.
Most youth reported that they do not drink. Approximately 23 percent reported drinking in the past month, and a scant 3.4 percent said they thought they would be seen as “cool” if they started drinking regularly.
Survey results indicate that parents need to be careful with prescription drugs and get rid of old or unused drugs. At least 4.6 percent of the youth reported using a Rx drug not prescribed for them by a doctor on one or two occasions in their lives.
Of the 19 percent who reported drinking alcohol in the past month, six percent said they gave someone else money to buy it for them, six percent said a person over age 18 bought it for them, five percent said they got it some other way, and two percent said they borrowed it from someone else.
Most of the access, according to the survey, occurred at a friend’s house. Others reported drinking alcohol in their own home, in a park or the countryside, or in a car.
Most students said their parents are involved with them and supervise their activities. More than 84 percent said their parents would know if the teen did not come home on time, and more than 86 percent said their family has clear rules about alcohol and drug use.
Linda Ogden, director of Communities in Schools of Marion County, said parents should monitor their children’s activities and call each other to make sure alcohol isn’t being used by their youth. She also suggested storing alcohol where it is not easily available to youth.