WDAY: The News Leader

Published January 17, 2011, 10:34 AM

Survey results of alcohol use by students raises concern

Rothsay, Minn. (WDAY TV) - Results are in and they say nearly half of all high school seniors in Wilkin County are drinking on a regular basis. The Wilkin County Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs Coalition just released its results from a 2010 survey of middle and school students.

To some it's a right of passage, to others it's just something to do. Either way, students at Rothsay were not surprised by the recent survey results.

Nick Curtis: “It's easy, in this day and age now, your friends are all older than you and your friends go to college and they can get you stuff. Your house, your friend’s house, your friend's brothers and sisters.”

The survey focused on students in 6th, 8th, 10th, and 12th grades. Students in 6th grade reported no use of Tobacco and Marijuana and 1-percent use of alcohol. However it was obvious that as students got older numbers increased exponentially

Courtney Brenden: “Alcohol use I think has definitely increased. I think as we are getting older we are more curious and we think it's more acceptable as older people and we're like we're close enough to where my older friends are doing it, so why can't we.”

Courtney: “It just becomes more acceptable, and peer pressure becomes more prevalent.”

Alcohol use was reported by 48-percent of 12th graders and 25-percent of 10th graders within the last 30 days. Marijuana use was much lower, at 11-percent and 6-percent respectively.

Mary Donohue Stetz: “I am really glad to see that students in Wilkin County are not using a lot of tobacco, marijuana or prescription drugs. Clearly we are concerned about the amount of alcohol that is being used.”

School officials believe the only way to combat this problem, is to give students other options.

Stetz: “The key is getting involved in healthy alternatives and parents support that and obviously the school supports that.”

Rothsay has had some success with a Students Against Destructive Decisions program that provides kids alternative activities to drinking and smoking pot.