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Drug, Alcohol Use Up Among Local High School Students

Survey by Santa Barbara Fighting Back finds significant increases in the use of cocaine, methamphetamine and psychedelic drugs

A presentation to the Santa Barbara school board Tuesday night showed a substantial increase in drug use among local high school students since 2003.

According to Santa Barbara Fighting Back’s Community Indicators Report, cocaine use has tripled among 11th-graders since 2003, methamphetamine use is up 453 percent, and use of psychedelic drugs is up 528 percent.

Seventy percent of the youths in county-funded treatment programs named marijuana as their primary drug and 26 percent named alcohol.

Marijuana usage has increased, too, among seventh-, ninth- and 11th-graders. As part of the California Healthy Kids survey, 30 percent of 11th-graders reported using pot within the past month.

Many students who used marijuana frequently reported using it on school property.

Alcohol use has increased among high school students, especially drinking to get drunk. Nearly one in three 11th-graders reported binge drinking within the past month of the survey, and one in three were involved in drinking and driving — with both numbers higher than the state averages.

UCSB students reported much higher alcohol use, with 52 percent binge drinking within the two weeks before the survey, and nearly half reported negative consequences of drinking.

Countywide, the percentage of collisions caused by drunken drivers declined from 8 percent to 6.7 percent in 2009. The City of Santa Barbara is ranked fifth of 103 similarly-sized cities for alcohol-related collisions, and its DUI arrest rate is 90th, according to the survey.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk or @NoozhawkNews.

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