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WOOD RIVER JUNCTION - The Chariho Regional School District is still feeling the aftershock of a car crash that injured four students in October 2011, and the ill-advised gathering of teens and alcohol that preceded it. However, as the district recovers, there is evidence to support a significant downward trend in substance abuse among students, and a heightened sense of the danger it presents.
The Chariho Task Force on Substance Abuse Prevention (CTFSAP) has released a series of graphs showing the results of surveys questioning students about their use of alcohol, marijuana and cigarettes in the past 30 days, and their perception of the risk and harm of doing so.
âBecause of the serious ramifications that befell the Chariho community as a result of a car accident this past fall involving Chariho High School students, the Chariho Task Force felt it necessary to present our most current data showing the rates of substance use in the Chariho middle and high school,â according to a release form the task force.
âThe Task Force is proud of the work that we have accomplished and wish to present this positive data, as opposed to the negative picture that the accident itself may have portrayed.â
The data was collected over the a period of four years, coinciding with a Drug Free Community grant. Every 7th, 8th and 11th grader in the district was surveyed, and every trend recorded was positive for the task force.
The past 30-day use of alcohol, marijuana and cigarettes, decreased among all three grade levels from 2008 to 2011, according to the surveys. The perception of the risk and harm of using these substances increased across the board as well.
The surveys show that 50 percent of 11th graders said they have drank alcohol in the past 30 days in 2008, only 39 percent said they have in 2011. While this was one of the most significant numbers recorded, Task Force Grant Manager Danny Nesmith said that any positive trend is a big deal.
âThat number stands out most because of the significant difference,â Nesmith said, âbut they are all important, and we are proud of any improvements we make.â
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