Alcohol, Drug Use in Putnam Youth declining, But Numbers are Still Cause for Concern

Click to see outcomes of alcohol and drug use amongst Putnam County students grades 8-12.

4,649 student’s grades 8-12 completed the anonymous Prevention Needs Assessment (PNA) survey that provides information on alcohol, drug and other addictive or harmful behaviors. The PNA survey is administered every two years to all Putnam County school district. Prior to completing the 129 question survey, all students were assured that their participation was voluntary, anonymous, and confidential. In addition, surveys were eliminated when respondents were determined to be dishonest or because students did not answer enough of the validity questions to determine whether or not they were honest in their responses.

The final overall outcomes were as follows in Putnam County (since 2005 compared to the 2012 youth survey results)

  • Past 30 day alcohol use rates have declined by 19.5%
  • Past 30 day tobacco use has declined by 37.9%
  • Past 30 Day Marijuana use has declined by 3.2%
  • Binge drinking reduced by 19.8%
  • Past Prescription narcotic use has declined by 34.4% (since 2008)


Despite these overall declining trends, there were some increases that are a cause for concern including:

  • Past 30 day marijuana use by 12th graders in Putnam County increased from 29.4% in 2010 to 37.6% in 2012.
  • 42% of 12th graders in Putnam County reported binge drinking. Binge drinking is defined in the Prevention Needs Assessment survey as 5 or more drinks in a row within the past two weeks.
  • 60.7% of student’s grades 8-12 perceive that their parents have attitudes favorable to alcohol and drug use.
  • 3.6% of student’s grades 8-12 stated they have driven while intoxicated within the past 30 days.
  • 15.8% of student’s grades 8-12 stated they have been in a car with an intoxicated driver within the past 30 days.

“This is a community effort that the Coalition is proud to facilitate. The positive outcomes can be attributed to the good work of parents, youth, schools, healthcare professionals, and our community and sector leaders who come together to encourage positive change. We will continue to do our pre prom initiatives, community and school based prevention, medication take back events, media campaigns, and the many other prevention efforts that are geared towards preventing substance abuse because we must remain vigilant especially in light of the numbers that are a cause for concern.” stated Joseph DeMarzo, Deputy Commissioner of the Putnam County Mental Health/Social Services/Youth Bureau and Coalition Co-Chairperson.

Members of the Putnam CTC Coalition are available if you have any questions or would like for us to do a presentation to your organization on this or any other substance abuse trends that affect our children.  Please visit and join us on Facebook by searching “Putnam County Communities That Care – NY” or on Twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/PutnamCTCNY or call 845-225-4646.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.


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