CDC Survey Measures Youth Alcohol and Drug Use among Other Risky Behaviors

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Results show trends in several commonly-abused substances among youth.

Results show trends in several commonly-abused substances among youth.

The good news is that there are fewer teenagers engaging in risky behaviors compared to 1991, according to the Results of the latest National Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YBRS) from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Substance abuse was one of the many categories of behaviors measured, which also included diet, exercise, violence and sex.

In a release from the CDC last week, the Center’s director of the adolescent and school health division Howell Wechsler, Ed.D, MPH commented, “The overall survey results are encouraging because they show us that persistent efforts to get young people to adopt healthier behaviors can achieve positive results.”

The survey results showed that more than 43 percent of students across the country are considered current drinkers, and over 25 percent had five or more alcoholic drinks in a row within the last 30 days. Also noted was that about one quarter of the students first drank alcohol, other than a few sips, before the age of 13.

Another behavior associated with alcohol consumption is drinking and driving. Roughly ten percent of teenagers had driven a car within the last month under the influence of alcohol, which translates to millions of impaired underage drivers in just a 30-day period.

Nationwide, 38.4% of students had used marijuana one or more times during their life. While current marijuana use has declined over the last six years, it is still significantly higher at over 20% in 2005 than the under 15% total in 1991. Almost nine percent of students had tried marijuana for the first time before age 13.

Director of Drug Education for Narconon Arrowhead J.T. Daily points out that, “Unfortunately, there are pro-drug groups out there that promote the use of illegal drugs, which sends a message to young people that it might be safe or okay, which is not the case.”

Mr. Daily has worked with well over 100,000 students across the country in recent years and says he has to combat a lot of misinformation about these drugs. Narconon Arrowhead is one of the nation’s largest and most successful drug education and rehabilitation programs, which uses the effective drug-free approach developed by American author and humanitarian L. Ron Hubbard.

Another drug that is promoted by organizations involved in drug legalization and harm reduction is the club drug known as ecstasy (MDMA). Although ecstasy use has dramatically declined since its peak around the year 2000, according to the YRBS there are still as many students who have tried ecstasy as methamphetamine, the latter of which has become a serious problem in the U.S. over the last several years.

Daily says that there are two videos available that also help to provide insight to young people. “Marijuana: The Myth” and “Ecstasy: The Real Story” are produced and distributed by a supporting group called Friends of Narconon. “The more information you can provide to students through effective drug education that communicates on their level, the more they will make the decision to stay away from these harmful substances,” he claims.

Nearly 14,000 U.S. high school students participated in the 2005 National YRBS, which is one of three Department of Health and Human Services-sponsored surveys that provide data on drug use among youth. The full 2005 Youth Risk Behavior Survey data are available at

For more information on the videos, to inquire about effective drug education or to find help for a loved one in need, contact Narconon Arrowhead by calling 1-800-468-6933 or visit


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