Students who were then freshmen in Lyme-Old Lyme High School were challenged by a local drug and alcohol coalition early last year to be the first class whose alcohol use will not increase once they reach the 10th grade.
The class, indeed, stayed true to their commitment, based on the results of a youth survey conducted in December 2011. The students, now sophomores, first took the survey as eighth graders in 2009.
The results of the 2011 survey indicated that there was no dramatic increase in alcohol use since the 2009 survey, according to Karen Fischer, a Child & Family Agency of Southeastern Connecticut prevention coordinator for the Youth Service Bureau in Lyme.
In addition, a comparison between the 2009 and 2011 surveys also indicated a decrease in lifetime and recent alcohol use across all grade levels that were surveyed. One change that was noted was that while the 2009 survey indicated that rates of alcohol use among 10th graders at Lyme-Old Lyme were higher than those of their peers in the region as well as the nation, this no longer held true for the 2009 survey.
The anonymous, online substance abuse survey was developed by the Southeastern Regional Action Council (SERAC), which conducts student surveys in various towns in the region. Fisher shared further that the survey is funded by a grant, and is issued every two years for the purpose of evaluating the challenges and successes of substance abuse prevention in the region.
Key findings from the survey will be presented by the Lyme-Old Lyme Community Action for Substance Free Youth (CASFY) at a community forum on Wednesday, February 29.