Teen Marijuana and Alcohol Use In Our Community

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Dear Croton Community,

The Croton Community Coalition is committed to having a positive impact on the health, well-being and future of our Croton teens. A little over a  year ago we notified you, that as part of the Coalition’s competitive federal Drug Free Community Grant, we were required to gather information about alcohol, tobacco and other drug use among Croton students. We also promised at the time to share the top trends and concerns with Croton students, parents and the community.

The Croton Harmon School District helped us gather relevant data from students in grades 8, 10, and 12 by administering a student survey in November 2015.1 We thank the school district for partnering with us to proactively keep Croton teens safe, healthy and drug-free. The data gathered is part of a nation-wide effort and takes considerable time to calculate and evaluate. The data is in and we have shared the results with the School Board and School Administrators.

Since Croton Harmon schools are ranked among the best in the Country2—which means those of us who choose to live here, value education—we believe that we can reach students and their families by using fact-based knowledge and verifiable research about drug and alcohol use to influence social norms. The results of the survey clearly indicate that when parents and peers strongly disapprove of prescription drug misuse and cigarette smoking, there are significantly reduced rates of teen use being reported. However, when it comes to marijuana and alcohol, less parental and peer disapproval may be some of the factors leading to greater use of these substances by youth.

Here are some key findings from the November 2015 survey:

  • Most Croton 8th, 10th, and 12th graders think their parents disapprove of them using any substance.
  • Most Croton 8th, 10th, and 12th graders perceive binge drinking, smoking cigarettes, and misusing prescription drugs as harmful.
  • Cigarette use rates have decreased from 2011 to 2015.3
  • Croton 10th and 12th graders are using marijuana at rates GREATER than their county, state and national peers.4
  • As Croton youth get older, they perceive their parents as LESS disapproving of marijuana use.5
  • Most Croton 10th and 12th graders do NOT think weekly marijuana use is harmful.6
  • Most Croton 10th and 12th graders do NOT think their peers disapprove of marijuana use.7
  • The majority of Croton 12th graders reported past 30 day use of alcohol. This is GREATER than their county, state and national peers.8

With so much media focus on decriminalization or legalization of recreational marijuana use in other states and the recent approval of marijuana for some medicinal purposes in New York State, Croton teens are getting conflicting messages. Over the next few months, we will be launching an updated version of our award winning marijuana awareness campaign. Paid informational ads in the Gazette will be supplemented by direct mail to parents/guardians of Croton students in grades 7 – 12 and regular posts to social media and our website. The marijuana of today is nothing like the marijuana of the seventies and eighties when most Croton parents were in high school and college. We now have important, up-to-date scientific research to share.

We will also be addressing youth alcohol use as well, and when ready, we will share our plans with you.

If you would like more information, please contact us. Also, please like us on Facebook to stay up-to-date with the latest news and resources.

Sincerely,

Laurie A. Dean
Chairwoman &
Croton Community Coalition Coordinator


  1. Since the survey was taken in the fall of 2015, these results are representative of today’s 9th and 11th Graders and seniors who have already graduated in June 2016.
  2. Croton Harmon High School ranked 290th in the nation and 43rd in New York State according to US NEWS.
  3. Past 30 day use of cigarettes in 2011 by Croton 8th Graders (0.0%), 10th Graders (3.1%) and 12th Graders (22.8%). 30 day use of cigarettes in 2015 by Croton 8th Graders (0.0%), 10th Graders (2.8%) and 12th Graders (11.1%). While this is encouraging, the use of e-cigarettes and vaping were not surveyed here. Other national surveys are showing a dramatic increase in alternate forms of smoking.
  4. Past 30 day use of marijuana by 10th Graders: Croton 2015: 22.3%; Westchester: 14.7%; NYS: 14.7%; National: 14.8%. Past 30 day use of marijuana by 12th Graders: Croton: 33.8%; Westchester: 29.6%; NYS: 27.4%; National: 21.3%. There was a slight increase in past 30 day marijuana use by Croton 10th Graders from 2011-2015, and a slight decrease in past 30 day marijuana use in grade 12.
  5. In answering the question “How wrong for you to smoke marijuana?” 96.9% of Croton 8th Graders responded that their parents would think it wrong/very wrong. 84% of Croton 10th Graders responded that their parents would think it wrong/very wrong. 75.8% of Croton 12th Graders responded that their parents would think it wrong/very wrong.
  6. In response to the question, “How much do you think people risk harming themselves physically or in other ways if they try marijuana 1-2 times a week?” less than half of Croton 10th Graders (48.9%) thought marijuana was potentially harmful and only 1/3 of 12th Graders (32.9%) thought marijuana was potentially harmful.
  7. In response to the question, “How wrong do your friends feel it would be for to you to smoke marijuana?” just 46.8% of Croton 10th Graders indicated it would be wrong/very wrong, and just 33.3% of Croton 12th Graders indicated it would be wrong/very wrong.
  8. 52.4% of Croton 12th Graders reported using alcohol in the past 30 days, compared to 51.8% of Westchester 12th Graders, 51.4% of NYS 12th Graders and 35.3% of National 12th Graders.