Written by William Rupp and Sandy McGee
Students in Portsmouth schools are among the lowest users of illegal drugs in Rhode Island, according to a special report released for all of the state’s communities on Monday, Dec. 9.
The data was compiled by the Department of Epidemiology in the Brown University School of Public Health for the Rhode Island State Epidemiology and Outcomes Workgroup headed by Brown Professor Stephen Buka.
The workgroup is a cross-state agency formed because there is no single state agency that is responsible for drug-use prevention, reporting and treatment, said Buka.
According to the results, Portsmouth High School students rank (in comparison to Rhode Island's 39 cities and towns:
- 35 in their illegal use of cocaine;
- 31 in their use of prescription drugs such as Oxycontin, Percocet, Vicodin, codeine, and Adderall;
- 27 in being under the influence of drugs in school;
- 33 in the use of marijuana in the past 30 days,
- 35 in moderate alcohol use.
Portsmouth Middle School students rank:
- 24 in using prescription drugs,
- 17 in current alcohol use,
- 29 in using inhalants,
- 27 in marijuana use,
- 19 in overall alcohol use.
High school students also ranked among the lowest in marijuana use for the entire state.
Middle school students also ranked higher in prescription drug use than Newport and Middletown.
The students are asked straight-forward questions such as:
- Have you tried prescription drugs without a doctor’s prescription?
- Have you tried marijuana?
- Have you tried inhalants?
- Have you tried cocaine?
- Have you been under the influence of drugs at school during the past 12 months?