Press Release

State of Florida
Department of Children and Families
Rick Scott

David E. Wilkins

February 8, 2012
MEDIA CONTACT: Erin Gillespie,
Press Secretary,
(850) 717-4450
DCF Communications
~ Decreases seen in use of alcohol, cigarettes, marijuana and prescription drugs ~

TALLAHASSEE, FLA. – Fewer middle and high school students are experimenting with marijuana, alcohol and prescription drugs, according to survey results released recently by the Department of Children and Families.

The 2011 Florida Youth Substance Abuse Survey showed less than 10 percent of all students had tried drugs other than marijuana within 30 days of the survey. Marijuana use was reported in 12 percent of the students, a decline from 2010. Early use of cigarettes and alcohol also dropped among all age groups.

"We are encouraged to see that more students are saying no to cigarettes, drugs and alcohol," said Secretary David Wilkins. "This survey gives insight into the minds and behaviors of Florida's children and lets our state know where help is still needed."

The survey is a collaboration among our agency, the Department of Health, Department of Education and Department of Juvenile Justice. The results come from a survey of 11,491 students in grades 6 through 12 that was conducted in 2011. There were 94 middle schools and 78 high schools participating. Student participation ranged from 76 percent in those high schools participating to 85 percent in middle schools.

All drug use except marijuana has declined each year from 2002 to 2011. This year, marijuana also saw a decline from 2010. A majority of respondents agreed that using marijuana or smoking one pack of cigarettes a day poses great risk of harm. Disapproval of other illegal drugs was at 95 percent.

There is still room for improvement. Alcohol continues to be the most commonly used drug among Florida students. Almost 50 percent reported some use in their lifetime. One in eight reported binge drinking at some point in the past two weeks. Inappropriate use of prescription or over-the-counter drugs was less than 3 percent but still higher than any other illegal drug besides marijuana and inhalants.

The survey also studied protective and risk factors that would influence a child's drug or alcohol use, including social involvement, parental attitudes toward drugs and alcohol, religious affiliation, bullying, community support, family involvement and stability in housing and education.

To see the complete report and detailed charts on survey results, please go to and click on 2011 State Report or State Tables.