The Mercyhurst Civic Institute and the Erie County Office of Drug and Alcohol Abuse released the latest results of the Pennsylvania Youth Survey. It's given across the state to students in grades 6,8, 10 and 12. Here in Erie County 9 of the 13 public school districts took part. The survey looks at the trends for our youth when it comes to drugs, alcohol and anti-social behavior. The results released today are from the 2011 survey.
The most common substances used by Erie County kids are alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana. And, although use is down more kids are willing to experiment. "The most interesting thing we found, although use is down among all alcohol, tobacco and other drugs," said Amy Eisert of the Mercyhurst Civic Institute, "the willingness for kids to try is up and their perception of those things being harmful is down." Eisert says depression is local students has stayed the same. She says that is one area among many where statistics from Erie County outpace the rest of the state.
One piece of encouraging, the percentage of high school seniors who say they drink and drive has shown a steady decline from the first year of a valid sample in 2005 until now. Eisert says in 2005 the number drinking and driving was at 25%, it's declined every cycle through 2011 where the survey shows it is just over 14%. For the full PA Youth Survey Report visit www.civicinstitute.org.