At the recently held Marshfield Area Parent Network dinner, the results of the 2012 Youth Risk Behavior Survey were presented and one encouraging development emerged — that alcohol use among Marshfield-area teens has declined, and is steadily declining since 2008.
The survey had both local public and Catholic middle and high school students as participants. The Marshfield Area Coalition for Youth (MACY) claimed that the decline in alcohol use among teens could be attributed to their continued efforts in working with other partner agencies to curb underage drinking.
MACY member and Marshfield Clinic substance abuse program manager Dorothy Chaney confirmed that since 2005, their organization has been driven to control teen drinking. “The survey shows alcohol use among youths is steadily declining, and this is amazing,” Chaney stated.
The survey showed that 64.6% of students admitted to consuming alcohol, down from 2008’s figure of about 68.9%. On the other hand, students’ perception of risks and dangers upon use of alcohol increased, with 73% of them saying they could get in trouble with just one or two drinks a day. In the same survey done four years ago, the same condition only yielded 59%.
Marshfield School Board president Tim Deets was positive that underage drinking rates will continue to drop as far as their area is concerned. “This increase in the perception of risk is a good thing. Ultimately, these are decisions that youths make, and if their perception of risk is increasing, then when the time comes to make a decision, they will understand the risk enough to not do it,” Deets added.
Chaney also proudly shared to the 840 parents gathered at the dinner event that Marshfield local teens’ risk behavior levels were below the national and state averages. She attributes this situation to the initiatives of local agencies, police department, schools, and even businesses in their area all helping to keep kids safe. “All the key community leaders are involved in these issues. The community is coming together to make a change.”