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TEXAS SCHOOL SURVEY OF DRUG AND ALCOHOL USE

DESOTO ISD

SECONDARY EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

OVERVIEW

In the Spring of 1994, the Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, in conjunction with
the Public Policy Research Institute at Texas A&M University, administered a survey to
students in grades 8 and 10 in the DeSoto Independent School District (DISD). A total of 715
students completed the questionnaire, which asked about students' experiences with alcohol and
drugs. Of that number, 34 surveys were excluded from analysis because students did not
indicate their grade or age, or because they were identified as exaggerators (i.e., claimed to have
used a non-existent drug or reported overly excessive drug use). The final number of surveys
included in the overall district analysis was 681.1

Students' responses to the questionnaire indicate that:

•Forty-seven percent of DeSoto ISD students reported using tobacco at least once during
their lifetimes, and 14 percent said they had used tobacco during the past month.

•Four percent of DISD students said they smoke cigarettes on a daily basis, while none
reported using a smokeless tobacco product on a daily basis.

•Seventy-four percent of DeSoto ISD students said they had used alcohol at least once
during their lifetimes, and 29 percent reported using alcohol during the past
month.

•Eight percent of DISD students reported attending at least one class during the past
year while "drunk," and 10 percent of district 10th grade students said they had
driven a car at least once during the past year after having "a good bit to drink."

•Lifetime use of inhalants was reported by 23 percent of district students, while


past-month inhalant use was reported by 5 percent.

•Twenty-three percent of DISD students reported using marijuana at least once during
their lifetimes, and 6 percent said they had used marijuana during the past
month.

1
The percentages referred to in the executive summary were taken from the tables found in "Part I: District
Survey Results ." Due to the differences in rounding procedures, there may be slight discrepancies between the
percentages referred to in the tables and those reflected in the executive summary.

1
•DeSoto ISD students are most likely to turn to friends for help with a drug or alcohol
problem (81 percent) and least likely to consult a counselor or program in school
(23 percent).

Tobacco

Over the last two years, the general use of tobacco (including cigarettes and smokeless
products) among 8th and 10th grade students statewide has stayed much the same. Overall, the
general use of tobacco products among DeSoto ISD 8th and 10th grade students is somewhat
lower than that reported by their counterparts statewide.

Forty-seven percent of DeSoto students reported general tobacco use at least once during their
lifetimes.2 Lifetime tobacco use was reported by 43* percent of district 8th graders (52 percent
statewide) and 52 percent of DISD 10th graders (60 percent statewide), rates somewhat lower
than those reported by their peers statewide.3

Fourteen percent of DeSoto ISD students said they had used a tobacco product during the past
month. Past-month general tobacco use was reported by 10* percent of DISD 8th grade
students, a rate lower than that reported by 8th grade students statewide (23 percent). Nineteen*
percent of district 10th grade students said they had used a tobacco product during the past
month, compared to 27 percent of 10th grade students statewide.

Forty-six percent of DeSoto students reported smoking cigarettes at least once during their
lifetimes, and 13 percent said they had smoked cigarettes during the past month. Smoking
cigarettes on a daily basis was reported by 4 percent of district students. Daily use of cigarettes
was reported by 2* percent of district 8th graders (5 percent statewide) and 7 percent of DISD
10th graders (10 percent statewide). Fourteen percent of DeSoto ISD students said most or all
of their close friends smoke cigarettes.

Lifetime use of smokeless tobacco products was reported by 11 percent of DISD students, and 3
percent said they had used a smokeless tobacco product during the past month. None of the
district students reported using a smokeless tobacco product on a daily basis, while 2 percent
said most or all of their close friends use smokeless tobacco.

2
Because a non-standard grade combination was used in this district, no state data for 8th and 10th grades
combined are available for comparisons throughout this report.

3
Data in this report marked with an asterisk are estimated to be statistically significant at the .01 level from
the comparable data for the state as a whole. This means that in only one of one hundred samples would a
difference this large have occurred when there was no difference between the district and state data. Differences
in very small districts will seldom be statistically significant due to the small number of cases. Differences that
are not marked may be important, but should be treated with more caution than those that are statistically
significant.

2
Alcohol

Alcohol is the most widely used substance among students statewide and in the DeSoto ISD.
Alcohol use among secondary students statewide was similar to that reported two years ago.
Overall, DeSoto ISD 8th and 10th grade students are drinking alcohol at rates somewhat similar
to those reported by their peers statewide.

Seventy-four percent of DeSoto students reported consuming alcohol at least once during their
lifetimes. Lifetime alcohol use was reported by 68 percent of DISD 8th graders (69 percent
statewide) and 82 percent of district 10th graders (81 percent statewide).

Twenty-nine percent of DeSoto ISD students said they had consumed alcohol during the past
month. Current alcohol use was reported by 23* percent of district 8th grade students, a rate
lower than that reported by 8th grade students statewide (34 percent). Thirty-seven percent of
DISD 10th grade students said they had consumed alcohol during the past month, a rate
somewhat lower than that reported by 10th grade students statewide (45 percent).

The alcoholic beverages most often consumed by DeSoto students are wine coolers (62 percent)
and beer (56 percent). Thirty-three percent of DISD students said they drink wine coolers
weekly or monthly, while 31 percent said they drink beer on a weekly or monthly basis.

"Binge drinking" is the consumption of five or more beers, wine coolers, servings of wine, or
drinks with liquor at one time. Past-year "binge drinking" of wine coolers was reported by 38
percent of DISD students, while 15 percent said they usually drink five or more wine coolers at
a time on average when they drink. Thirty percent of DeSoto ISD students reported "binge
drinking" beer at least once during the past year, while 15 percent said they usually drink five or
more beers at a time on average when they drink.

Eight percent of DeSoto students reported attending at least one class during the past school
year while "drunk." Attending class while "drunk" was reported by 8 percent of DISD 8th
graders (10 percent statewide) and 7 percent of DISD 10th graders (11 percent statewide).

Ten percent of DISD 10th grade students said they had driven a car after having "a good bit to
drink" at least once during the past year (11 percent statewide). Driving while intoxicated four
or more times during the past year was reported by 3 percent of district 10th graders (2 percent
statewide).

Students were asked about the availability of alcohol, its use among friends, and its use at
parties. Eighty-three percent of DeSoto ISD students said beer, wine, wine coolers, or liquor
were somewhat easy or very easy to obtain. Twenty-seven percent of district students reported
most or all of their close friends drink alcohol, and 35 percent responded "from friends" when
asked where they obtained alcohol most of the time or always. "Difficulties of any kind" with
friends because of one's own drinking was reported by 9 percent of DISD students.

3
Thirty-three percent of DeSoto students said alcohol was used at most or all of the parties they
attended in the past school year. Alcohol use at most or all parties was reported by 16* percent
of DeSoto 8th graders, a rate somewhat lower than that reported by 8th graders statewide (24
percent). Fifty-five percent of district 10th graders said alcohol was used at most or all of the
parties they attended in the past school year (52 percent statewide). Thirty-six percent of
district students responded "at parties" when asked where they obtain alcohol most of the time
or always, while 17 percent of DISD students said they get alcohol "from the store" most of the
time or always.

Students were asked how many days during the school year they were absent from class due to
an illness or for some other reason, and how many days they had gotten into trouble because of
conduct or attitude problems. Fewer DISD students who had not been absent since the Fall
reported having used alcohol during the past month (11 percent) than did district students who
said they had missed four or more days of school (38 percent). Forty-four percent of the district
students who had experienced difficulties with school officials on four or more days reported
using alcohol during the past 30 days. By contrast, only 26 percent of district students who had
not experienced difficulties with school officials because of conduct problems had used alcohol
within the past 30 days.

Parental attitudes can be a major factor in whether or not a student uses alcohol or drugs. When
asked how their parents feel about kids their age drinking beer, 82 percent of DeSoto students
said their parents strongly or mildly disapprove. Six percent of district students said they "don't
know" how their parents feel about kids their age drinking beer, and 9 percent said their parents
neither approve nor disapprove.

Inhalants4

In general, inhalants are common, licit substances (paints, thinners, correction fluid, glue, etc.)
which, when sniffed, huffed, or inhaled, produce an intoxicating effect. Over the last two years,
use of inhalants among secondary students statewide decreased somewhat. Overall, DeSoto
ISD 8th and 10th grade students are using inhalants at rates similar to those reported by their
counterparts statewide.

Twenty-three percent of DeSoto students reported using inhalants at least once during their
lifetimes. Lifetime inhalant use was reported by 27 percent of district 8th graders (24 percent
statewide) and 18 percent of DISD 10th graders (17 percent statewide).

Five percent of DeSoto ISD students said they had used inhalants during the past month.
Current inhalant use was reported by 4 percent of district 8th grade students (8 percent
statewide) and 7 percent of DISD 10th grade students (4 percent statewide).

4
Lifetime and current inhalant use figures have been adjusted to reflect reported use of both specific
inhalants and inhalant use generally. Some students responded positive to specific use without responding
positive to generic use. Some students responded positive to generic use but not specific inhalants.

4
Two percent of DISD students reported most or all of their close friends use inhalants, and 5
percent said they had attended at least one class during the past school year while "high" on
inhalants. Twelve percent of DISD students said they had used two or more different kinds of
inhalant substances during their lifetimes.

The inhalant substance most frequently used by DeSoto students was correction fluid/Liquid
Paper (12 percent). Nine percent of district students reported inhaling substances in the "other
inhalants" category, 8 percent said they had inhaled glue, and 8 percent reported inhaling
gasoline at least once during their lifetimes.

Illicit Drugs

Illicit drugs are defined as controlled substances and include marijuana, cocaine (powdered
form and crack), uppers (stimulants), downers (narcotics), hallucinogens, and ecstasy. Over the
last two years, the use of illicit drugs among students statewide has increased. The use of
marijuana, the most frequently used illicit substance, has also increased among students
statewide over the last two years.

In the DeSoto ISD, 25 percent of students reported use of illicit drugs at least once during their
lifetimes, while 17 percent of DISD students said they had used one or more illicit substances
three or more times. DeSoto students who said they had used illicit drugs reported using them
an average of 0.6 times in the past month and 3.4 times during their lifetimes.

Twenty-three percent of DISD students reported using marijuana at least once in their lifetimes.
Lifetime marijuana use was reported by 15* percent of DeSoto 8th grade students, a rate
somewhat lower than that reported by their 8th grade peers statewide (21 percent). Thirty-two
percent of district 10th grade students said they had used marijuana at least once during their
lifetimes (30 percent statewide).

Past-month marijuana use was reported by 6 percent of DeSoto ISD students. Current
marijuana use was reported by 2* percent of district 8th graders, a rate somewhat lower than
that reported by 8th graders statewide (11 percent). Ten percent of DISD 10th graders said they
had used marijuana during the past month (14 percent statewide).

Six percent of DISD students reported attending at least one class in the past year while
"stoned" on marijuana. Driving under the influence of drugs at least once during the past year
was reported by 8 percent of DeSoto ISD 10th grade students (7 percent statewide).

Fifty-one percent of DISD students said marijuana was somewhat or very easy to obtain, and 16
percent reported most or all of their close friends use marijuana. Six percent of district students
said they had gotten into "difficulties of any kind" with their friends because of their own drug
use.

5
Twenty-one percent of the DeSoto ISD students said that marijuana and/or other drugs were
used at most or all of the parties they attended during the school year. Drug use at most or all
parties was reported by 39* percent of DeSoto 10th graders, a rate higher than that reported by
their 10th grade counterparts statewide (23 percent).

When asked about parental attitudes toward marijuana use, DeSoto students reported a
disapproval rate of 92 percent. Four percent of district students said they "don't know" how
their parents feel about kids their age using marijuana, while 2 percent said their parents neither
approve nor disapprove.

Use of other illicit substances was reported by a small number DeSoto ISD students. Eight
percent of DISD students reported using uppers, 7 percent said they had used hallucinogens,
and 5 percent reported using downers at least once during their lifetimes.

CHARACTERISTICS ASSOCIATED WITH DRUG USE

Statewide, female students were less likely to have used drugs than were male students. In the
DeSoto ISD, male students were somewhat more likely to have used marijuana than were
district female students. There were no other significant differences by gender among DISD
students with regard to the use of tobacco, alcohol, inhalants, or other illicit substances.

In the statewide survey, students living in two-parent homes reported lower drug use than did
students living in other family situations. DISD students living in other family situations were
somewhat more likely to have used marijuana and uppers than were those district students
living in homes with two parents, and they were also the only reported users of crack. There
were no other significant differences by living arrangement among DeSoto ISD students with
regard to the use of tobacco, alcohol, inhalants, or other illegal drugs.

When asked where they would go for help with a drug or alcohol problem, the largest
percentage of DeSoto students said they would seek help from their friends (81 percent). Fifty-
six percent of DISD students said they would seek help from an adult friend or relative, and 51
percent said they would turn to their parents. District students are least likely to seek help from
a counselor or program in school (23 percent), or another adult in school, such as a teacher or
nurse (26 percent). Since school began in the Fall, 5 percent of DeSoto students reported
seeking help for any problems connected with alcohol or drug use from someone other than
family or friends.

Seventy percent of DeSoto ISD students said they had gotten information about drugs and
alcohol from a school source since classes began in the Fall. Forty-six percent of district
students reported getting information about drugs and alcohol from a "health class," while 29
percent reported "an assembly program" as a source for this information. Twenty-three percent
of DISD students said "an invited school guest" was a source of information about drugs and
alcohol.

6
The influence of drug education programs may be reflected in students' attitudes toward the use
of specific substances. Ninety-six percent of DeSoto students believe that crack use is "very
dangerous," and 96 percent believe that powdered cocaine use is "very dangerous." Seventy-
nine percent of DISD students believe that inhalant use is "very dangerous," and 77 percent
believe that marijuana use is "very dangerous." By contrast, the perceived danger of alcohol
and tobacco use is lower. Only 56* percent of DISD students feel that it is "very dangerous" to
use alcohol, while 47 percent believe that tobacco use is "very dangerous."