SERAC Youth Survey Regional Report 2012 - 2013

     Among the common substances of concern, alcohol appears to be the substance of choice among youth in Southeastern Connecticut (Table 3). Overall, 35% of youth report ever having used alcohol in their
lifetime while 15% report having used alcohol in the past 30 days. Grade-specific recent use rates range
from about 1% among 7th graders to 28 % among 12th graders and lifetime use rates range from 8% to
56%.
     Of the illicit drugs specifically mentioned in the survey, marijuana is the most commonly used substance
(Table 3 and Table 4). Overall, 12% of youth report recent use of marijuana and 22% report lifetime use.
Grade-specific recent use rates range from less than 1% among 7th graders to 19% among 12th graders.
Lifetime use rates range from 2% among 7th graders to 37% among 12th graders. In general, regular use of illicit drugs, other than marijuana, does not appear to be a large problem among the region's youth (Table 4). Although recent (past 30 day) use rates do not suggest that youth use illicit drugs frequently, lifetime use rates do suggest that youth are experimenting with these substances, particularly cocaine, ecstasy, hallucinogens, salvia and synthetic marijuana.
     Both salvia and synthetic marijuana were legal substances prior to July 1, 2011 in the state of
Connecticut. In the summer of 2011, the Connecticut Legislature passed a bill prohibiting the sale and
possession of both these substances. The Federal Drug Enforcement Agency also placed an emergency
ban on synthetic marijuana in early 2011. About 8% of youth surveyed report ever having used synthetic
marijuana and about 3% report ever having used salvia.
     The most commonly misused type of prescription medications are pain medications (Table 5). Overall,
10% of youth report ever having misused pain medications to get high while 3% report recent use.
About 20% of youth report having used energy drinks in the past 30 days and about half of all youth
report ever having used energy drinks in their lifetime (Table 6). About 20% of youth report ever having
used energy drinks with alcohol while 6% report recent use. About 4-5% of youth report ever having
used inhalants or having misused over-the-counter medications to get high.
     Based on anecdotal reports of rising use, in 2013 SERAC added a question to ascertain the prevalence of electronic cigarette use among youth. About 7% of youth report ever having used electronic cigarettes
and about 3% report recent use (Table 6). Youth reporting lifetime use of energy drinks, energy drinks with alcohol, cigarettes, other tobacco, alcohol or marijuana were also asked about the age at which they first used those substances (Table 7).
     For most substances (cigarettes, other tobacco products, alcohol and marijuana), the largest percentage of youth report having begun using between the ages of 14 and 15. However for energy drinks and energy
drinks containing alcohol, the most commonly reported age of initiation was between 11 and 13 years.

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