Supporting Centre County's Youth, students and families
Prevention Coalition of Centre County
Local Data

Through careful application of SAMHSA’s Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF), the Centre County Prevention Coalition (CCPC) is making progress toward realizing our vision of ending youth substance use in Centre County. Central to this effort is access to quality data in order to accurately assess prevention needs, determine available capacity, and guide the Coalition’s strategic and annual planning. The Coalition draws on data obtained through both quantitative and qualitative sources. With the leadership of Coalition partners, the Pennsylvania Youth Survey (PAYS), a highly valid, reliable instrument for collecting quantitative data, has been administered to 6th, 8th, 10th, and 12th grade students every two years in all five county school districts since 2000. PAYS 2015 data is referenced below.  National data from the 2015 Monitoring the Future survey provides a valuable comparison for evaluating the severity of local substance use behavior.

 

Table 1: Past 30-day Substance Use (% within grade)

 

 

6th grade

8th grade

10th grade

12th grade

 

Alcohol

3.3

9.5

22.3

37.6

 

Cigarettes

.8

3.5

6.8

14.6

 

Marijuana

.6

3.8

12

20.8

 

Table 2: Lifetime Use of Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs

 

6th grade

8th grade

10th grade

12th grade

 Alcohol

15.8

33.9

54.2

71

Cigarettes

2.9

11

18.3

32.7

Marijuana

1.2

7.3

22

38.2

Table 3: Age of Onset as Reported by (grade)

 

 

6th grade

8th grade

10th grade

12th grade

 

Trying Alcohol

10.6

11.9

13.1

14.3

 

Drinking Alcohol

10.9

12.7

14.2

15.8

 

Smoking Cigarettes

10.8

11.8

12.9

13.8

 

Smoking Marijuana

12.1

13

13.6

14.8

 

Table 4: Percentage of Youth Reporting Willingness to Try ATOD

 

 

6th grade

8th grade

10th grade

12th grade

 

Alcohol

17.8

36.3

54.9

67.4

 

Marijuana

2

8.2

22

30.6

 

                         

 

Preventing and reducing youth use of alcohol and tobacco is critical to our prevention efforts. Findings show a significant increasing trend in regular use of these two substances from middle to high school, a critical time to initiate the environmental strategies proposed in the present application. Alcohol is the substance most often used by Centre County youth with 38% of 12th graders reporting past 30-day use and a lifetime prevalence rate of 71%. Local PAYS findings are consistent with Monitoring the Future results which reveal high rates of underage drinking nationally (44%). Centre County youth start drinking at a young age--13 years, the age of most seventh graders. About three-quarters (73%) of 12th graders feel that adults disapprove of substance use, and 54% do not believe there is “great risk” in drinking alcohol regularly.

Additional data from Centre County Drug and Alcohol’s (CCDA) survey process (2009) shows that 50% of youth feel that it is “ok to use alcohol to relax” and 40% of adult Key Community Representatives believe alcohol use by minors is tolerated. CCDA findings also indicate that 1 in 5 youth strongly agreed, agreed, or didn’t know if “people can stay healthy even if they abuse alcohol.”

Regarding tobacco use, Centre County PAYS findings show past 30-day cigarette use ranging from a low of .08% for 6th graders to a high of 14.6% for 12th graders, similar to national averages. The average age for first-time use is 13 years. Of great concern is student report of substantially higher than average levels of past-30 day smokeless tobacco use in 10th (9%) and 12th (10%) grades (nationally, 6% and 7% respectively), as well as lifetime smokeless tobacco use in 10th (19%) and 12th (22%) grades (nationally, 15% for both grades). Further PAYS data reveals that after alcohol and tobacco, Centre County students report the highest lifetime rate for marijuana use (15%), with other drug use rates ranging from .6% for heroin to 10% for inhalants.

Qualitative data on local youth substance use-related problems has been provided by community members at two 2008 Town Hall Meetings and a 2009 Public Issues Forum (attendance: 200). Participants expressed concern over college students providing substances to local youth and about young people being intoxicated to the point of being a danger to themselves and others. Findings of 13 Youth Focus Groups conducted by CCPC in spring of 2010 offers disturbing insight on teen views - a general agreement that: (1) “everyone” drinks, (2) alcohol poisoning is the only risk associated with drinking, (3) parents are “okay” with drinking at home, and (4) alcohol is readily available at home and from friends. Youth on Student Aid Panels suggest that smokeless tobacco use is high, especially among rural youth.


Site Developed & Hosted by Perceptive Branding