Early Warning Signs - Substance use in Middle & High School

Essential Question:
Substance abuse and disaffection are closely linked. Both can lead to dropping out. What do we know about substance use that can help us choose where to target interventions?

A story in our Early-Warning Systems Data Story Series. Here we'll examine student reports of substance use.

About the Data Sources

Regardless of where Rhode Island ranks nationally, any number of students involved with substances is disturbing. Any cigarette, alcohol, or drug use is an early warning of children beginning to develop habits that can impede learning, social connection, and successful involvement with school.

In this story, we'll examine student reports of substance use using data from the SurveyWorks! survey, an opinions-and-perceptions survey that is administered annually to all RI public school students in grades 4-12. Since this survey is offered to every student, participation rates are usually in the low 90s (similar to attendance rates). Conversely, both the YRBS and SAMHSA national surveys sample their student populations which is to say, they take a portion of the population to represent the whole.

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