Local results of the 2018 survey of teen drug use and risk behaviors by the Arizona Criminal Justice Commission asked 49,000 8th, 10th, and 12th-grade students in 245 high schools to report what substances they had used in the past 30 days.
The trends in Navajo and Apache counties generally tracked the statewide picture, although most drug and alcohol use had declined in the past three years.
For instance, in Apache County the percentage of 12th graders who have used alcohol in the past 30 days went from about 27 percent to about 25 percent and the percentage who reported binge drinking went from about 28 percent to about 23 percent.
Meanwhile, the percentage of students smoking cigarettes went from about 23 percent to about 13 percent. However, the number smoking e-cigarettes jumped from about 12 percent to about 25 percent.
The number of 12th graders smoking marijuana rose slightly – from 13 percent to about 15 percent. Another 10 percent used marijuana concentrates – usually through vaping. The survey didn’t even include a question on vaping marijuana in 2014.
About 7 percent said they abused prescription pain killers in 2016, which dropped to about 5 percent in 2017.
Navajo County showed similar trends.
The percentage of Navajo County 12th graders using alcohol in the past 30 days went from about 31 percent to about 28 percent, while the number of binge drinkers went from 19 percent to about 17 percent – just slightly below the state average.
The share of students using cigarettes went from about 15 percent to about 11 percent – but the percentage using e-cigarettes went from 17 percent to about 30 percent, according to the survey data.
The share of students using marijuana rose, from 15 percent to about 25 percent. Another 15 percent said they had used marijuana concentrates, mostly through vaping.
The percentage abusing prescription pain relievers went from about 6 percent to perhaps 4 percent.
Use of other drugs in the past 30 days generally remained below about 3 percent, including cocaine, hallucinogens, inhalants, meth, heroin, ecstasy, steroids and others.
For most drugs, lifetime use was two or three times the “30-day-use” figure.
To see the report online, go to http://www.azcjc.gov/sites/default/files/pubs/2018_AYS_State_Report_FINAL.pdf
Peter Aleshire covers county government and other topics for the Independent. He is the former editor of the Payson Roundup. Reach him at email@example.com