DINWIDDIE, VA (WWBT) – Overall, drug use is down but alcohol use is up among students in Dinwiddie County, that's according to a new assessment report. The study focuses on pinpointing problems that students are dealing with and developing programs to meet those needs.
Shalandrea Jordan has seen the report. As a mother of a Dinwiddie student she says some of the findings are frightening.
"It's disturbing and devastating that at this young age they're doing things like this," said Jordan.
According to the report, an increasing number of students are drinking alcohol -- up by 10% among 6th graders and 15% among 7th and 8th grade students. The study is called the Youth Prevention Needs Assessment. It involved some 400 Dinwiddie Students in grades six through eleven. Participants were surveyed.
"The goal is to find out what services are needed for the community based on what the children have assessed their area of need," said Angel Young Gill, who helped conduct the study.
According to the report, marijuana use is down 24% among 7th graders and 15% for 6th graders. But 8th graders expressed a 10% jump in being offered illegal drugs on school property compared to five years ago when a similar study was done.
These are topics Jordan is preparing to discuss with her 4th grader.
"You go to school to learn and listen to your teacher, not for sex and drugs and things like that," said Jordan.
And when it comes to sex, 11% of surveyed students reported having intercourse prior to age eleven; 61% of 11th graders reported being sexually active. High school students reported a 10% drop in condom use.
Younger students indicated stronger connections with home and community while older students reported stronger connections with peers. The survey was funded by a grant from the governor's office on safety and alcohol prevention.
Five years ago when Dinwiddie conducted a similar survey, 60 percent of students took part, this time only 20 percent. The school district says due to the lack of student participation the study may not reflect the most accurate picture.