Marysville News

Union County Drug Free Coalition

Parents surveyed about student drug abuse


Parents of students at Marysville High School and Bunsold Middle School have until May 10 to complete a survey about youth substance abuse.

Parents received a request April 18 to participate in the survey by the Union County Drug Free Coalition.

Coalition Vice Chairwoman Holly Zweizig said the questions in the survey are intended to gauge parental perception of substance abuse among students.

She said this is the first year the coalition has initiated this type of parent survey.

"It asks similar questions that we ask youth about substance use, specifically to see if there are similarities or significant differences in what parents perceive and what their kids report," Zweizig said. "It also educates parents who take the survey of what youth reported who took the survey last year."

She said the parent survey is basically a follow-up to a survey of students conducted last year.

The 2012 risk-behavior study involved students in grades 7, 9 and 11 in all three public school districts in Union County -- Marysville, Fairbanks and North Union -- and asked questions regarding health and behavioral health issues, such as nutrition, stress, substance use, sexual activity, bullying and violence.

Brenda Rock, a member of the Drug Free Coalition, presented the results of the student survey at a community forum last August.

It revealed that alcohol is the most widely used drug among high school students in Union County.

The study found that 4.3 percent of respondents reported using prescription drugs to get high. Of those, 1.8 percent were seventh-graders, 5.8 percent were ninth-graders and 5.1 percent were 11th-graders.

Zweizig said that's the kind of information the coalition wants to be sure Union County parents are aware of with the parent survey.

"It is an opportunity to educate parents while they take the survey about what youth have reported previously," she said.

Since this is the first survey of its kind, Zweizig said the coalition isn't sure what the results will be or how good the response rate might be.

So far, a little more than 2 00 people have taken the survey.

"It has not been determined if or how the information will be published," she said.