N.D. teens engaging in risky behaviorsNorth Dakota teens are more likely than those nationwide to binge drink or drive under the influence of alcohol, but they’re less apt to abuse illegal or prescription drugs, a report released Friday suggests.
By: By Heidi Shaffer , Forum Communications Co. , The Jamestown Sun
North Dakota teens are more likely than those nationwide to binge drink or drive under the influence of alcohol, but they’re less apt to abuse illegal or prescription drugs, a report released Friday suggests.
The state’s 2009 Youth Risk Behavior Survey revealed risky behavior was down from the 1990s, but results from the national Centers for Disease Control report say North Dakota teens continue to struggle with actions that affect their short and long term health.
“We know that the health choices made by youth carry on into adulthood,” State Health Officer Terry Dwelle said in a statement Friday. “It’s important that we know the prevalence of any negative health patterns so we can guide our youth into making positive choices.”
The state survey of more than 10,000 high school students found 15 percent report to driving while drinking, 5 percent higher than the national average.
North Dakota teens are also almost twice as likely to rarely or never wear a seat belt than high schoolers nationwide.
The state’s teen alcohol use matched the national rate at 73 percent, but 6 percent more in North Dakota reported binge drinking.
Drug use in North Dakota lagged slightly behind the national average. Use of marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamines and ecstasy were all lower in the state.
North Dakota teens were also less likely to abuse prescription drugs. About 15 percent in the state reported the behavior, 5 percent lower than the national average.
“It is encouraging that the great majority of our high school students recognize the risks involved with illegal drug use,” State Superintendent Wayne G. Sanstead said in a statement.
“But when one in seven high school students has misused prescription drugs, it is clear that we must do more to raise awareness,” he added.
Risk behavior studies are conducted every two years to monitor health risk behaviors including unintentional injury, violence, tobacco, alcohol, drug use, sexual behaviors, unhealthy dietary behaviors and physical inactivity.
Heidi Shaffer is a reporter at The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead,
which is owned by
Forum Communications Co.