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Armstrong-Indiana-Clarion Drug and Alcohol Commission Survey: Clarion County Youth Alcohol Use

Saturday, June 18, 2022 @ 12:06 AM

Posted by Chase Steinman

alcohol-3194824_640-2CLARION CO., Pa. – Since 1989, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has conducted a survey of students in the 6th, 8th, 10th, and 12th grades to understand their behavior, attitudes, and knowledge concerning alcohol, tobacco, other drugs, and violence.

This survey, sponsored and conducted by the Pennsylvania Department on Crime and Delinquency, is given every two years. The data gathered by the Pennsylvania Youth Survey (PAYS) provides school administrators, state agency directors, legislators, and others with information about the changes in youth use of alcohol, tobacco, other drugs, and violence. PAYS also is an assessment of risk factors that are related to these behaviors and protective factors that help guard against them. This information allows community leaders to direct prevention resources to areas where they will likely have the greatest impact.

Armstrong-Indiana-Clarion Drug and Alcohol Commission (AICDAC) has analyzed the information presented in the PAYS data specific to Clarion County. Alcohol is one of the top substances used by youth in Clarion County and because of this during the month of June, the focus of the breakdown is youth alcohol use in Clarion County.

According to the 2021 PAYS data, 47.3% of Clarion County students in grades 6, 8, 10, and 12 reported using alcohol at some point in their lifetime. This is down 3.2% from 2019. In 2021, Clarion County was 12.5% higher than the state average for lifetime alcohol use. The rates in which students reported lifetime alcohol use by grade is as follows:

  • 6th grade: 25.8%
  • 8th grade: 41.2%
  • 10th grade: 54.8%
  • 12th grade: 69.9%

According to AICDAC, 18.5% of Clarion County students in grades 6, 8, 10, and 12 reported alcohol use in the past 30 days. Past 30-day use data gives a clearer picture about more regular alcohol use among youth. The rate of past 30-day use reported among Clarion County students is down 1.5% from 2019. The rates in Clarion County are 5.1% higher than the state average. The rates at which students in each grade level reported alcohol use in the past 30 days are as follows:

  • 6th grade: 7.3%
  • 8th grade: 13.7%
  • 10th grade: 21.2%
  • 12th grade: 34.0%

Risky substance use-related behaviors such as binge drinking and driving under the influence of alcohol are strongly linked to serious negative consequences. 18.4% of Clarion County 12th grade students reported binge drinking in the past two weeks.

Binge drinking is the act of consuming an excessive amount of alcohol in a short period of time. The act of binge drinking can carry the risk of alcohol poisoning, especially for underage drinkers.

Research indicates that repeated episodes of binge drinking during the teen years can have damaging effects on adolescent brain development and cause lasting deficits in social, attention, memory, and other cognitive functions.

In Clarion County, 9% of 12th grade students reported driving after alcohol use in the past year. Alcohol impairs clear thinking and hand-eye coordination. The rate at which Clarion County 12th graders report driving under the influence in the past year is 6.5% higher than the state average.

Driving under the influence of alcohol puts everyone on the roads at risk and carries the risk of a DUI conviction and automobile fatality.

When asked how they got alcohol, the top answers that Clarion County students reported were:

  • Took it without permission: 29.9%
  • Parents provided to me: 28.1%
  • Other source provided to me: 27.1%
  • Friends, brothers, or sisters over 21 provided it to me: 23.5%

Other sources of alcohol that were reported include:

– Giving someone money to buy it;
– A friend’s parents provided it; or
– Other relatives (uncles, aunts, cousins, grandparents, etc.) provided it.

It is important to remember that it is illegal to supply anyone under the age of 21 with alcohol. Fines for furnishing alcohol to minors start at $1,000.00.

AICDAC uses this data and more from the Pennsylvania Youth Survey to design prevention programming that targets problem areas in Clarion County.

Some examples of free alcohol prevention programming provided by AICDAC include:

Alcohol and Driving

A program for high school students before they obtain their driver’s license, or newly licensed drivers. The program discusses Pennsylvania laws regarding underage alcohol use and underage driving while intoxicated (DWI), to understand the risks and dangers related to underage use of alcohol and other drugs, and to stress it is the responsibility of the driver to remain sober and concentrate on driving.

This innovative program includes the viewing of the DVD, “Stoned Cold II –Aftermath,” as well as a law enforcement officer directly answering student questions about underage drinking.
Grades: 9-12

The NOFAS Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Education and Prevention Curriculum

A comprehensive, school-based curriculum that addresses many important topics for students beyond FASD and what can happen to human development when a pregnant woman drinks alcohol. It teaches about the overall effects that alcohol can have on the body, why some people who drink alcohol become addicted while others do not, and acceptance of all people regardless of individual capabilities or disabilities.

Grades: K-6 and 7-12

MADD Power of Youth

A presentation that discusses the dangers of underage drinking and gives helpful tips for teens. This engaging presentation addresses factors that can lead teens to drink underage, the health risks, how to resist peer pressure, and empower them to make the right choices.

Grades: 7-12

Project Sticker Shock

An activity designed to raise public awareness of the law and to reduce/eliminate access to alcohol by minors. Students place stickers on cases of alcohol at local beer distributors bearing messages about underage drinking and providing alcohol to minors. A law enforcement officer from the community will be present.

Grades: 9-12

Prevention services are provided through AICDAC’s contract with the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs.

Please call 814-226-6350 ext. 106 or email [email protected] for more information about prevention programming and implementation.

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, help is available, and recovery is possible by calling 814-226-6350. Services are free and confidential.


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