Teen Alcohol/Drug Use


Sparta Area School District Teen Alcohol and Drug Use

The Sparta Area high school students have been taking the Youth Risk Behavior Survey annually 8 out of the last ten years.  We are encouraged by what we are seeing over time with students reporting using alcohol and tobacco less over time.  for example, the number of students who report never drinking has steadily increased to almost 30% this year compared to 16.2% in 2004-05.  Marijuana use is also trending downward based on what students are reporting on the survey.  On the 2011-12 survey, 72.1 students reported never trying marijuana, while 54.6% reported the same in 2004-05.

Reduction in tobacco use by Sparta students is also being reported.  58.9% of our high school students on the 2011-12 survey reported never trying smoking compared to 34.2% in 2001-02.

How do we compare to other Districts and communities?

  • 24.2% of Sparta students reported they who drank alcohol (other than a few sips) for the first time before age 13 years on the 2011-12 survey compared to 19.2% WI students who took the 2008-09 survey
  • 21.2% of Sparta students had five or more drinks of alcohol in a row, that is, within a couple of hours, on at least one day during the 30 days before the 2012 survey compared with 24.2% of WI students on the 2011 survey
  • 27.9% of Sparta students reported on the 2012 survey to have used marijuana one or more times during their life compared with 37.3% of  WI students on the 2011 survey
  • 4.5% of Sparta students have tried marijuana for the first time before age 13 years compared to 5.9% of WI students on the 2011 survey
  • 39 % of Sparta High School students have you ever tried cigarette smoking, even one or two puffs based on the 2012 survey compared to 40.7% of WI students on the 2011 survey

Through increasing student awareness by our Guidance staff providing classroom lessons, increasing our Guidance staff through a grant who focused on increasing community awareness of these issues, and our Community Alliance Commitee that had drug and alcohol reduction as part of their focus we have seen positive results in having our young people make better and healthier choices for themselves


Other substances teens abuse include:

Inhalants (glues, aerosol sprays, gasoline, paints, and paint thinners). Inhalants are the substances most frequently abused by junior high students because they are inexpensive and easy to get.  These substances are extremely dangerous because they contain poisonous materials, such as lead and toluene, that can cause brain damage or, in rare cases, even death with the first use.

Club drugs, including ecstasy (MDMA) and date rape drugs such as gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) or flunitrazepam (Rohypnol). These drugs are often used at all-night dances, raves, or trances. Although the number of teens abusing these drugs is small compared with cigarettes, alcohol, and marijuana, these drugs can be dangerous, especially in overdose or when combined with alcohol or other drugs. Use of ecstasy can lead to depression, sleep problems, and severe anxiety that may last for weeks after taking the drug. Over time, use of ecstasy can lead to liver damage and thought and memory problems.

Methamphetamine (commonly referred to as meth, crank, or speed). Methamphetamine is highly addictive. In addition, it can cause seizures; stroke; serious mental problems, including paranoia, hallucinations, and delusions; and long-term health problems.

Hallucinogens, including LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide), mescaline, psilocybin, PCP (phencyclidine), and ketamine. Serious and lasting psychiatric conditions such as psychosis or hallucinogenic flashbacks can develop after using LSD.

Opiates, such as heroin, morphine, and codeine. Use of opiates can lead to strong physical and psychological addiction. Teens who use addictive drugs may steal, prostitute themselves, or resort to other dangerous or illegal behavior to buy drugs.

Prescription drugs, such as diazepam (for example, Valium) and methylphenidate (Ritalin). Nonprescription medications, such as cough syrups or cold pills, are also abused by teens.

Anabolic steroids, which teens use to build muscle tissue and decrease body fat. Anabolic steroids can cause liver cancer; reduced sperm count; male-pattern balding; irritability and rage; and increased cholesterol and blood pressure, resulting in heart attack and stroke.

In recent years teen substance use rates have been dropping overall, but substance use still remains a leading cause of injury and death in young people, as well as causing long-term social and health problems. Annual studies such as the Monitoring the Future Survey track trends in teen drug, alcohol, and tobacco use and attitudes across the United States.

Because alcohol, and drugs change the way the brain functions, teen growth and development can be affected by their use. Teens who abuse these substances may have difficulty establishing their identity, developing relationship skills, gaining physical and emotional independence, and preparing for the future. Substance abuse can affect memory and learning, which can harm a teen's performance in school. Perhaps the most significant danger of teen substance use is that it can progress, sometimes rapidly, from experimenting or occasional use to abuse and addiction.

Suggested Readings

  1. Ten Talks Parents Must Have With Their Children about Drugs and Choices (Book for Parents and Teens)
  2. I Wish Daddy Didn't Drink So Much  (Book for Kids)
  3. 57 Reasons Not To Do Drugs  (Book for Kids)
  4. Getting Your Second Wind:  Living A Smoke Free Life  (Book for Parents and Kids)
  5. Corey's Story:  Her Family Secret (Book for Parents and Kids)
  6. What Are Drugs? (Book for Kids)
  7. Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood (Book for Teens)
  8. Teens Under the Influence:  The Truth About Kids, Alcohol, and Other Drugs. How To Recognize the Problem & What To Do About It (Book for Parents and Teens)
  9. Choices and Consequences:  What To Do When A Teenager Uses Alcohol/Drugs (Book for Parents and Teens)
  10. I've Got This Friend Who: Advice For Teens and Their Friends on Alcohol, Drugs, Eating Disorders, Risky Behaviors and More (Book for Teens)
  11. For Teenagers Living With A Parent Who Abuses Alcohol/ Drugs  (Book for Teens)
  12. It Will Never Happen To Me:  Growing Up With Addiction as Youngsters, Adolescents, and Adults (Book for Teens)
  13. When Someone You Love Abuses Alcohol or Drugs-A Guide For Kids  (Book for Kids)
  14. Kids and Smoking:  Facts and Ideas About Smoking and Not Smoking (Book for Kids)
  15. Smoking 101:  An Overview for Teens (Book for Teens)
  16. Drugs 101:  An Overview for Teens (Book for Teens)
  17. Alcohol 101:  An Overview for Teens (Book for Teens)
  18. Know How To Say No To Drugs and Alcohol: A Kid's Guide (Book for Kids)
  19. Smoking Stinks! (Book for Kids)
  20. Love First:  A Family's Guide To Intervention (Book for Parents)

For further information please contact your building principal or Peggy Jadack,  Director of Pupil Services at (608) 366-3456.