DCF Press Release


State of Florida
Department of Children and Families
Charlie Crist
Governor

Robert A. Butterworth
Secretary


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Media Contact: GOVERNOR’S PRESS OFFICE
APRIL 17, 2008 (850) 488-5394

Survey Shows Florida Youth Drug Use Down
- Cigarette smoking hits an all-time low -

TALLAHASSEE- Lt. Governor Jeff Kottkamp today announced the steady decline in youth drug use since 2000, as he rolled out the results of the 2007 Florida Youth Substance Abuse Survey. The Florida Office of Drug Control Policy, state agencies, law enforcement and substance abuse prevention coalitions have partnered to reduce substance abuse across the state.

“Florida’s children are a treasure, one that we must protect,” said Lt. Governor Kottkamp. “Drug use threatens the safety and security of our children. The survey is vital to understanding how to prevent drug use.”

According to the survey, Florida’s youth drug use is down in 20 out of 21 areas measured. Among the findings:
  • Cigarette smoking is at 8.5 percent: Thanks to education and prevention, cigarette use in the past 30 days is below 10 percent for the first time in the eight-year history of the survey.
  • Marijuana use is down 24 percent since 2000: Marijuana use is now reported at 11 percent for youth reporting use in the past 30 days.
  • Alcohol use is 31.2 percent: Alcohol remains the most common substance of use for children. While the rate among Florida youth is higher than the national average, use has decreased from 34.3 percent in 2000.
  • Gender Comparison: Survey responses indicate substance abuse among males declined more than among females, putting emphasis on a need for female-focused prevention efforts.
To increase completion rate among the survey’s youngest audience, researchers piloted a shorter version of the survey among middle school students. They took the opportunity to add questions about over-the-counter drugs and bullying.
  • Over-the-counter drug abuse is at four percent: Responses indicate that over-the-counter drugs are more widely abused than most illicit drugs and that abuse among females is twice as high as abuse among males.
  • Bullying and substance abuse: Twenty-seven percent of students report having been bullied, while 23 percent report they bullied others. While there does not appear to be a clear link between being bullied and drug use, responses do indicate a link between substance abuse and students who bully.
"The 2007 report continues the great news for Florida,” said Office of Drug Control Director Bill Janes. “Illegal drug use continues to decline. I am concerned about increases in abuse of prescription drugs, but the overall trends are excellent. We are fortunate to have the Florida Youth Substance Abuse Survey. No other state has this valuable information to direct prevention and funding efforts."

Florida’s youth survey measures youth substance use annually across the state, and in alternate years, in each county. The 2007 edition included 7,836 valid returns from sixth through 12th graders in 43 out of Florida’s 67 counties. The full report will soon be available online at www.dcf.state.fl.us/mentalhealth/publications/fysas/.

For more information on Florida’s drug control initiatives, visit http://www.flgov.com/drug_control.


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