At the Manhasset Board of Education’s September 10th meeting, Manhasset CASA presented an overview of the 2015 Bach Harrison Prevention Needs Assessment Survey results for 8th, 10th and 12th grade students in Manhasset Secondary School. As part of CASA’s Drug Free Communities (DFC) Support Program Grant, the survey is implemented biannually by Manhasset Public Schools and Manhasset CASA to investigate local youth drug trends, understand root causes of substance use and develop targeted strategies to reduce youth substance abuse in the community. 

Cathy Samuels, project director, began the PowerPoint presentation noting that Manhasset CASA was recently awarded its Year 8 Continuation Grant from the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), in partnership with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Ms. Samuels stated, “We are in good company on Long Island as coalitions in Lindenhurst, Rockville Center and Westhampton Beach were also awarded DFC Support Program Grants to reduce youth substance abuse in their communities.”

Manhasset CASA’s PowerPoint presentation noted the following student results:

  • Manhasset Secondary School has a high survey participation rate by its students:
    • 8th Grade total 285 students 90% participation
    • 10th grade total 283 students 89% participation
    • 12th grade total 239 students 82% participation
  • Since 2009, Manhasset students report increases across all grades in protective factors (promote healthy youth development) and are above the national norm. Examples of protective factors are opportunities and rewards for prosocial involvement, religiosity, family attachment, etc. 
  • Manhasset teens continue to report decreases in risk factors that inhibit healthy youth development. Risk factors would include friends who use of drugs, perceived availability of alcohol/drugs, sibling drug use, parental attitudes favorable towards alcohol/drugs, etc. 
    • Overall, 8th and 10th grade teens report risk factors below national norms. However, in 12th grade, while teens report an overall decrease in risk factors since 2011, risk factors are reported above the national norm in areas such as peer rewards for substance use and perceived norms favoring substance use.
  • A large percentage of 8th grade students continue to report never using substances such as Alcohol (85.6%), Marijuana (98.8%), Cigarettes (98.0), Hookah Tobacco (98.6%) and E-cigarettes (99.0%).
  • A decrease in 30 day alcohol use for 10th/12th grades is reported since 2009, but use is still significantly above the national norm; 8th grade 30 day alcohol use increased slightly since 2013 but is still below the national norm:
    • 5.6% of 8th graders report drinking — National Norm is 10.2%
    • 38.3% of 10th graders report drinking — National Norm is 25.7%
    • 65.6 % of 12th graders report drinking — National Norm is 39.2%
  • Binge Drinking continues to be a concern:
    • While 10/12th graders report a decrease in binge drinking (5 or more alcoholic drinks in a row in the past 2 weeks) since 2009, it is still significantly above the national norm:
      • 20.5% of 10th graders who drink report binge drinking — National Norm 13.7%
      • 47.4% of 12th graders who drink report binge drinking — National Norm 22.1%
    • 8th grade student binge drinking increased slightly to 2%, and still below the national norm of 5.1%.
    Note: Among youth who drink, the proportion who drink heavily is higher than among adult drinkers, increasing from approximately 50% in those 12 to 14 years of age to 70% among those 18 to 20 years of age (American Academy of Pediatrics Clinical Report, September 2015).
  • Students tend to see less harm in binge drinking with increased age, as from 8th to 12th grade they report a decrease in perceived risk of harm of having 5 or more drinks 1-2x a week. Note: According to the American Academy of Pediatrics Clinical Report, “alcohol expectancies” (anticipated effects of alcohol ingestion) can be both positive and negative for teens and they play a crucial role in decision making for adolescents as they get older. Positive expectances can be “shaped by alcohol advertising” or teen cultural norms that present alcohol use in a positive light. As teens get older, their negative expectances are replaced with the positive. The older a child gets, the more exposure to advertising as well as perceived cultural acceptance will decrease the teens perceived risk of harm when it comes to underage drinking or drug use (American Academy of Pediatrics Clinical Report, September 2015).
  • Teens report it is cool (cultural norm) to drink alcohol and smoke marijuana as they progress toward the 12th grade:
    • Are you cool if you drink alcohol regularly? (YES)
      • 49.5% of 12th grade students
      • 35.2% of 10th grade students
      • 5.6% of 8th grade students
    • Are you cool if you smoke marijuana? (YES)
      • 24.3% of 12th grade students
      • 15.2% of 10th grade students
      • 2.4% of 8th grade students
      C. Samuels noted CASA will continue to work to reduce underage and binge drinking utilizing many environmental strategies which include parent, youth and community education and social marketing campaigns.
  • While abuse of opioids is low as compared to the trend on Long Island, amphetamine use in 12th grade is at 5.2% and above the national norm (4.1%). Samuels noted that since 2010, Manhasset CASA has collaborated across the community to reduce teen access to prescription drugs. CASA works with the NYS Senate Shed the Meds program at Shelter Rock School; Town of North Hempstead S.T.O.P. program at North Hempstead Beach Park; and publicizes for the Nassau County Police a community drop box residents can access 7days/24 hours at the 3rd Precinct Community Center on Community Drive.
  • 12th grade students report 30 day past use of marijuana at 25.0% which is above the national norm (22.7%). Overall, from 8th Grade to 12th Grade, as perception of risk decreased, marijuana usage increased. C. Samuels noted the trend of teens using e-cigarette and vaping devices to smoke marijuana, especially since these devices can mask its odor. In light of the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana in some states, CASA will continue to monitor marijuana use and provide additional education. Manhasset CASA will host Dr. Kevin Sabet on February 25, 2016 as part of its Power of Parenting Series at the Manhasset Public Library, along with a youth presentation at Manhasset High School. Dr. Kevin Sabet is an expert on issues surrounding marijuana, is an author and consultant, and was advisor to three U.S. presidential administrations. With Patrick J. Kennedy, he is the co-founder of Project SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana).
  • While traditional cigarettes are almost nonexistent in 8th and 10th grade and down for 12th grade students from 15.5% in 2011 to 6.2% in 2015, new trends have emerged in the use of e-cigarettes and hookah tobacco as well as steroid use in the 10/12th grades:
    • Past 30 Day Use of E-Cigarettes:
      • 27.8% of 12th grade students (national norm 17.1%)
      • 10.5% of 10th grade students (national norm 16.2%)
      • 0.5% of 8th grade students (national norm 8.7%)
    • Past 30 Day Use of Hookah Tobacco:
      • 13.3% of 12th grade students (national norm n/a)
      • 5.8% of 10th grade students (national norm n/a)
      • 1% of 8th grade students (national norm n/a)
      • Past 30 Day Use of Steroids:
        • 4.8% of 12th grade students (national norm 0.9%)
        • 3.5% of 10th grade students (national norm 0.4%)
        • 1.4% of 8th grade students (national norm 0.2%)
        C. Samuels thanked the Manhasset Board of Education for adding electronic smoking devices to its Tobacco Free Schools Policy and noted how the Town of North Hempstead recently changed its parks and recreational facilities policy to prohibit use of these devices in its parks. Manhasset CASA’s Youth Committee will continue its Teens as Teachers (peer to peer outreach) e-cigarette program with 7th grade students. We will also continue our outreach with MHS Athletics, the Health curriculum and continue education regarding prevention of steroid use.
  • Teens report parties (at my home or someone else’s home without any parent permission) as the number one source and place they get alcohol. C. Samuels noted Manhasset CASA will continue to utilize underage drinking prevention campaigns which highlight to parents the dangers of underage and binge drinking as well as the Nassau County Social Host Law. CASA will reintroduce its CASA coffees (a small interactive discussion group) and continue its parent education workshops such as Active Parenting for Teens this fall and the winter/spring Power of Parenting Series. In addition, CASA will continue parent outreach during guidance nights throughout the year.
  • Teens also report an increase in retail access to alcohol since 2013. C. Samuels noted that CASA is offering free ATAP training for all Manhasset and local businesses which provides instruction on underage drinking laws and how to recognize fake ids.
  • As teens get older, they report seeing more adults using alcohol and marijuana:
    • 66% 12th grade students report seeing adults getting drunk or high
    • 54.4% 10th grade students report seeing adults getting drunk or high
    • 48.7% 8th grade students report seeing adults getting drunk or high
    • 35.9% 12th grade students report seeing adults using marijuana
    • 15.8% 10th grade students report seeing adults using marijuana
    • 10.7% 8th grade students report seeing adults using marijuana
    C. Samuels noted that CASA continues education regarding the importance of parents being healthy role models and noted the use of the word “adult” in this question may not reflect the child’s indication that the adult is their parents.
  • Overall, since 2011, more parents are setting clear rules about substance use and more parents are talking with their children about its danger. However, over time from 8th to 12th grade, less parents are setting clear rules and talking with their kids about substance use.
  • Overall, teen’s perception of getting caught drinking alcohol has increased along with their perception of parental disproval of underage drinking. However, as teens progress in age from 8th to 12th grade, their perception of getting caught drinking decreases.

The Bach Harrison Survey and community data play a significant role in guiding Manhasset CASA’s strategies to prevent youth substance use through policy, education, social marketing and enforcement. “Our goal is for Manhasset youth to grow up in a safe environment equipped with the tools to become healthy young adults.” said Dr. Caryn Sawyer, executive director, Manhasset CASA. “Our coalition works with the . and community partners in order to promote Manhasset youth’s overall wellness in the prevention of substance abuse.”

Recognizing that local problems need local solutions, DFC-funded coalitions engage multiple sectors of the community and employ a variety of environmental strategies to address local alcohol and drug problems. Coalitions are comprised of community leaders, parents, youth, teachers, religious and fraternal organizations, health care and business professionals, law enforcement, and media. 

For more information about Manhasset CASA or the student survey results, contact Cathy Samuels at 267-7548.