ABSTRACT To provide educators with information regarding students' behaviors and beliefs about drinking, drug use and driving, the authors surveyed a stratified random sample of approximately 2,000 seventh and 10th graders in the Boston area in the spring of 1982. The focus of the present paper is on those students who might be most at risk for operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or marijuana. Therefore, the analysis presented here is limited to 623 students who were 16 years of age or older at the time of the survey. About half of the students in this age group used alcohol (63%) or marijuana (44%) and as many as 18% had used other illicit drugs during the 1982 school year. While most current drinkers (72%) drank not more than three times a month, nearly half (46%) of the current marijuana users smoked at least once a week. A substantial proportion of students combined drug and/or alcohol use with driving. Between 43% and 50% had been a passenger with a driver who was under the influence of alcohol or marijuana at least once since the beginning of the school year. Many students did not appear to be aware of the dangers involved in driving under the influence of alcohol or marijuana and about one out of four believed they could use alcohol and other drugs responsibly. Both students' behaviors and beliefs regarding drinking, drug use and driving were significantly related to the extent of their involvement with alcohol and other drugs. Frequent marijuana users, heavier drinkers and students who used drugs other than alcohol or marijuana were more likely than other students to combine drug use and driving and believe that these activities could be combined safely. The data suggest that the entire constellation of risk‐taking and drug‐using behaviors should be addressed in educational programs and that information on the effects of other drugs (both alone and in combination with alcohol) on driving ability should be emphasized.
Journal of School Health – Wiley
Published: May 1, 1984
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