Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Steamboat Springs Alcohol use among Steamboat Springs School District seventh- to 12th-graders in 2010 declined from 2008, according to survey results presented Monday night to the School Board.
According to the Steamboat results from the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey Routt County Community Report, marijuana use stayed relatively flat during the same time period — and at or near state averages by grade level.
“What we saw, we’ve made some significant improvements, particularly in underage alcohol use,” said Grand Futures Prevention Coalition Managing Director Dervla Lacy, who presented the results. “We should all be really happy about that.”
But Lacy acknowledged that marijuana use had increased in some grade levels. She said Grand Futures would focus on ways to curb marijuana use among middle and high school students in addition to continuing its efforts with alcohol.
Grand Futures, which serves Moffat, Grand and Routt counties and works to promote healthy lifestyles through alternatives to substance abuse, administered the anonymous and optional survey to 612 Steamboat students in spring.
Students also were surveyed about delinquency, personal safety and violence, school and family, and mental health and physical health. High school students also were asked about sexual behavior.
A higher percentage of students surveyed last year in most grades reported using less alcohol in their lifetimes and in the past 30 days than their 2008 counterparts.
Lacy and Grand Futures Routt County Coordinator Kate Marshall, who helped present the results, said several times that the survey results from 12th-graders couldn’t be considered accurate because only 45 students in that grade completed it.
School Board members asked whether there was a connection between marijuana use and the presence of three medical marijuana dispensaries in Steamboat.
Lacy was quick not to draw a connection between the dispensaries and increased use among students surveyed because the dispensaries opened only a few months before students took the survey last spring.
Grand Futures will use the data to create parent education workshops on topics such as cyber-bullying and sexting, raising teens, youth substance use and abuse, and juvenile justice, Lacy said. She said the first workshop could be in February or March.
Marshall said she’s also been working with student groups, such as the Steamboat Springs Teen Council, to create a social marketing campaign to engage more youths.
“I think we got some good information and had some questions for follow-up information, especially about how better to educate parents,” Superintendent Shalee Cunningham said.