Results of the Youth Assessment Survey
The results of the Youth Assessment Survey (YAS) conducted for students in grades 7-12 in June 2017 were presented at a public forum on October 16th. The detailed survey results are now available on the Town of Suffield website and will provide us with a wealth of information about our youth and their attitudes and behaviors regarding substance use and abuse.
Among the common substances of concern, alcohol appears to be the substance of choice among Suffield youth. Within all grade levels 22% of youth report ever having used alcohol in their lifetime, while a concerning 25% of juniors and 22% of seniors report using alcohol in just the past 30 days.
Marijuana is another area of concern in the Suffield community. Within all grade levels 12% of students report having used marijuana in their lifetime, but 16% of juniors and 9% of seniors report using marijuana in the past 30 days.
Although Connecticut law prohibits the sale of electronic cigarettes to individuals under 18 years of age, electronic cigarette use is an emerging issue among youth in Connecticut. About 12% of Suffield youth report ever having used an electronic cigarette in their lifetime, while 13% of juniors and 17% of seniors report using electronic cigarette in just the past 30 days
All of these substances are defined as gateway drugs, which while not only addictive on their own, can lead to the use of other more addictive drugs such opioids or heroin. It is extremely important that we do a better job of educating our youth and their parents on the risks of using these substances.
Another alarming fact pointed out in the survey is how easy our youth find it to obtain alcohol and cigarettes from their friends, in a store and in too many cases from their parents both with and without permission.
Following the presentation forum attendees were divided into breakout groups to discuss the survey results and how the community can assist in increasing dialog between youth and adults regarding the various topics represented in the survey. The Suffield Local Prevention Council will collate written responses and working with the community use the information to help shape future dialog and problem solving as we look to plan strategies and programs that strive to increase protective factors and decrease risk factors for our youth.