BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — When it comes to drug and alcohol use during adolescence, how much has changed since parents were in school? Since sometimes kids can be a little secretive when it comes to tough topics, CBS 42 got together several panels of students from all over central Alabama.
The kids range in age from elementary to high school students. We found they can be a little more candid when they are talking about those topics with their peers.
We asked if they thought their parents would be shocked to know how often young people are drinking or using drugs. The answer was a resounding, yes.
”My mom told me she grew up in a high school where that didn’t happen,” said 15-year-old Grace. ”My parents would be so shocked to find out. I know kids I go to church with and I see their Snapchats. One thing, that’s the problem, Snapchats. That’s where people post their smoking and anything like that. They’ll post it on there and I know so many kids that go to my church and just do all these horrible things.”
Three different panels of students also talked about times when they had seen marijuana at school. Annissa, 14, explained that she actually found a blunt in the bathroom on her way to practice.
”The whole hallway was smelling like it, so I don’t know how anybody didn’t get in trouble.”
Another student talked about how kids would go to their car during lunch period to smoke. ”They normally don’t pressure you,” explained Molly, 15, ”they just offer it..and you don’t know whether to say yes or no.”
”They normally don’t pressure you,” explained Molly, 15, ”they just offer it..and you don’t know whether to say yes or no.”
When asked how these kids are getting access to marijuana, many of the students believed they were getting it from their parents or other adults. ”For certain families, people just don’t care,” said Grace. ”They’ll smoke together.”
‘For certain families, people just don’t care,” said Grace. ”They’ll smoke together.”
The same goes for alcohol. The student panels agreed that some of their classmates are drinking every weekend, and that many of them are getting their supply from adult family members. When asked what kids their age are drinking, their answers ranged from beer to Fireball.
Despite the student perspective, national statistics show that alcohol and drug use among teens has actually declined in recent years. As of 2015, the CDC reports that 38.6% of 9th through 12th-grade students have used marijuana at some point. Around 7.5% of them had tried it before the age of thirteen. As for high school students currently using marijuana, the CDC reports that 21.7 % had used the drug one or more times in the 30 days before the survey was taken.
As for alcohol use among the same age group, the percentage also decreased between 2007 and 2015 at 63.2% who had ever tried alcohol. Back in 1999, the CDC had that number at 81% of high school age kids. As for the students younger than 13 who are experimenting with alcohol (17.2%) those numbers have also decreased over a decade.