ITHACA, N.Y. — Slightly more than 30 percent of seniors in Tompkins County’s high schools reported using marijuana in the last 30 days, according to a study published last week by local officials.


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By contrast, the national average for marijuana use among high school seniors is about 20 percent, according to that same study.

Marijuana use rates “by local 12th graders remain significantly higher than rates of national peers,” the study finds.

The study was published by the Community Coalition for Healthy Youth in Ithaca.  Called “the Communities that Care Youth Survey,” it drew answers from 3,911 students in grades 7-12 in 15 Tompkins County schools, with a response rate of 77.5 percent.

It was presented to the county’s Health and Human Services committee last week.

Related study: Nearly 1 in 3 Tompkins teens feel depressed

The survey found that while Tompkins teens continue to smoke pot at significantly higher than the national average, there hadn’t been a significant increase from last year. Over the last four years, however, marijuana use among local teens does appear to have increased.

Here’s a graphic created with data from the survey:

Other notes

The survey also contained the following observations about other forms of substance abuse among Tompkins County high school students:

1 — Alcohol use fell slightly, particularly among sophomores and juniors in the local high schools. “Tompkins County alcohol use continues to trend down for most grades, mirroring the national trend,” the study finds. “Use by local 12th graders is higher than national peers but rates for other grades are lower.”

2 — About 13 percent of high school seniors nationwide smoke cigarettes. By contrast, in Tompkins County fewer than 10 percent of seniors smoke cigarettes. “Cigarette use by Tompkins County youth dropped for most grades and is well below the rate of national peers,” the report concludes.

3 — Prescription drug use among Tompkins County high school students is high; about 10 percent of high school seniors used them in 2014, according to the survey, compared to a national average of about 6 percent. “Non-medical use of prescription drugs has dropped for most grades except 12th. 12th grade use exceeds national rates,” the report says.

Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.