AVAILABILITY OF SUBSTANCES
In Section VI of the questionnaire, respondents were asked to indicate Yes or No to three questions pertaining to their access to tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs. The questions were:
Table 6.1 provides the percentages of users and nonusers who have access to substances in school. Results show that, at all grade levels, the percentages for users who have access to tobacco, alcohol, and other substances is higher than for nonusers. For sixth and eighth graders, cigarettes are the substance most often offered to both users and nonusers; they are also the substance most often offered to twelfth grade nonusers. At the tenth and twelfth grade level, substances in the "other drugs" category are most often offered to users (50% tenth grade and 50.5% twelfth grade) at school; they are also the drug most often offered to tenth grade nonusers. Across all grade levels, for both users and nonusers, alcohol is the drug least likely to be offered to students on school property.
The percentage of respondents offered tobacco, alcohol, and other substances increases from sixth to tenth grade. For example, the percentage for users of alcohol increases from 8.8% in the sixth grade to 30.9% in the tenth grade. When comparing users in the tenth and twelfth grades, results are mixed. Cigarette users in twelfth grade are less likely to be offered cigarettes on school property than then their tenth grade counterparts (44.0% twelfth grade vs. 49.5% tenth grade). Twelfth grade "other drug" nonusers are also less likely to be offered these drugs than tenth grade nonusers (12.9% twelfth graders vs. 15.1% tenth graders). Twelfth grade users and nonusers are more likely to be offered alcohol than tenth graders while twelfth grade cigarette nonusers are more likely than tenth grade nonusers to be offered cigarettes on school grounds.
When these data (Table 6.1) are compared to 1996 data, several items of interest emerge. First, there was a decrease from 1996 in access to other drugs on school property across all grades, for both users and nonusers. For access to alcohol on school property, sixth grade users and nonusers had increased access in 1998 from that reported in 1996 (7.6% 1996 vs. 8.8% 1998 users; 1.0% 1996 vs. 1.4% 1998 nonusers). For cigarettes, nonusers at the eighth and twelfth grade reported increased access to cigarettes at school.
Similar to the findings on access to substances in school, higher percentages are reported for outside-school involvement with substances by users at all grade levels and in all substance categories (Table 6.2). For sixth and eighth graders, cigarettes are the substance most often offered to both users and nonusers; they are also the substance most often offered to twelfth grade nonusers. This finding replicates that for access to substances on school property. Tenth grade users are most likely to be offered "other drugs" (65.2%) outside of school property while twelfth grade users (68.7%) are most likely to be offered alcohol outside school property. More than 50% of users in grades 8, 10, and 12 are offered all three types of substances, with one exception. Less than 50% of eighth grade alcohol users (45.5%) are offered alcohol outside school property. Not surprisingly, when the results presented in Table 6.2 (outside school) are compared to the results in Table 6.1 (on school property), it becomes apparent that students have more access to substances outside school than in school.
When the data in Table 6.2 are compared to the data from the 1996 survey, it can be observed that for access to "other drugs", for both users and nonusers, the 1998 levels decreased across all grade levels from that reported in 1996. For cigarettes, there was a decrease in access for users and nonusers at the eighth, tenth, and twelfth grade levels. At the twelfth grade level, there was a small increase in access to cigarettes outside of school property for both users and nonusers. For alcohol, a greater number of nonusers at the eighth, tenth, and twelfth grade had increased access outside of school than in 1996.
Table 6.3 presents the percentage of survey respondents who were ever asked to sell drugs. Data in the table show that the percentage of users asked to sell drugs at each grade level is higher than that of nonusers and generally increases as the grade level gets higher. For users, the percentages range from 19.5% (sixth grade) to 39.9% (twelfth grade). For nonusers, the percentages are quite low, ranging from 3.4% (sixth grade) to 9.4% (tenth grade). These percentages indicate that nonusers have less of an opportunity of being asked to sell drugs than their using peers.
When these data are compared to 1996 survey findings, it is clear that the percentage of adolescents who are asked to sell drugs has decreased across all grades for both users and nonusers. There is, however, one exception¾ there was an increase for tenth grade nonusers (8.8% 1996 vs. 9.4% 1998).
Based on the findings presented above, four conclusions can be drawn. First, young people who ever used substances tend to have more opportunities of being offered substances and being asked to sell drugs than nonusers, both in school and outside of school. Second, students at all grade levels have more access to substances while they are outside of school. Third, cigarettes are the most frequently offered substance to students. Finally, substance contacts occur more frequently in higher grades.