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Barrington Students Use Illegal Drugs, Alcohol Far Less Than Most Peers

Data was compiled by the Department of Epidemiology in the Brown University School of Public Health for the RI State Epidemiology and Outcomes Workgroup for use by cities and towns to battle substance abuse.

Sign on Lincoln Avenue for the high school. Credit: W.Rupp
Sign on Lincoln Avenue for the high school. Credit: W.Rupp

Students in the Barrington schools use illegal drugs or alcohol much less than students in the other 33 school districts in Rhode Island, according to a special report released for all of the state’s communities on Monday, Dec. 9. 

There are a couple of exceptions, especially among middle school students. 

The data was compiled by the Department of Epidemiology in the Brown University School of Public Health for the Rhode Island State Epidemiology and Outcomes Workgroup headed by Brown Professor Stephen Buka of Barrington.

The workgroup is a cross-state agency formed because there is no single state agency that is responsible for drug-use prevention, reporting and treatment, said Buka. 

According to the results for the 34 districts, Barrington High School students rank:

  • 19th in their illegal use of cocaine;
  • 23rd in the use of prescription drugs such as Oxycontin, Percocet, Vicodin, codeine, and Adderall;
  • 30th in being under the influence of drugs in school;
  • 27th in the use of inhalants, also known as “huffing”;
  • 29th in the use of marijuana in the past 30 days;
  • 24th in other illegal drug use;
  • 28th in ever using alcohol;
  • 26th in ever being under the influence of alcohol in school.

Barrington Middle School students rank:

  • 8th in using prescription drugs;
  • 19th in marijuana use;
  • 15th in using inhalants;
  • 7th in using other illegal drugs;
  • 17th in being under the influence of alcohol in school;
  • 7th in using alcohol 6 or more times in the past 30 days

Kathy Sullivan, the program manager for The BAY Team, Barrington’s substance abuse coalition, said she had not studied the results on Monday and preferred to defer making a comment until after returning from a conference in Washington D.C. this week.

The substance-use data came from RIDE’s SurveyWorks! 2012-2013 and 2011-2012 results, said Buka. 

Students are asked to go on online to complete the surveys at least once a year. Parents have been able to opt-in or opt-out their children in years past, said Buka. 

The students are asked straight-forward questions such as:

  • Have you tried prescription drugs without a doctor’s prescription?
  • Have you tried marijuana?
  • Have you tried inhalants?
  • Have you tried cocaine?
  • Have you been under the influence of drugs at school during the past 12 months?

Click here to see the results for yourself at the RI Prevention Resource Center.

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