Drug and alcohol abuse are significantly linked to social and health problems. NHS Heroes Alcohol is a major contributing factor in approximately half of all homicides, suicides, and motor vehicle crashes, which are the leading causes of death and disability among young people. Alcohol-related traffic accidents cause serious injury and permanent disability and rank as the leading cause of spinal cord injury among adolescents and young adults. Heavy drinking among youth has been linked to physical fights, destruction of property, academic and job problems, and trouble with law enforcement authorities.
Tobacco is considered the chief preventable cause of death in the United States, accounting for more than one of every five deaths. Smoking causes heart disease; cancers of the lung, larynx, mouth, esophagus, and bladder; stroke; and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Smoking is also related to poor academic performance and the use of alcohol and other drugs. The fact that more than one million youth start smoking regularly each year costs the health care system millions (and perhaps billions) of dollars in preventable medical expenditures during their lifetimes.
These indicators provide some sense of when young people are beginning to drink/smoke and how many are currently drinking/smoking.
Additionally, the teen drinking and smoking data from the Hawai`i Youth Risk Behavior Survey (HYRBS) are statistically weigh table, thus making it possible for valid statewide comparisons among the results from the past three HYRBS studies (1993, 1995, 1997).
Extending the indicator to measure respondents in 6th-8th grades in public and private middle and high schools would provide a more complete profile of youth behavior.
Data are contained and updated in “Hawai`i’s Adolescent Wellness Plan–Laulima In Action.” The Maternal and Child Health Services Title V Block Grant has selected teen drinking and smoking as indicators for this annual application. Data on teen drinking and smoking are also obtained through the Hawai`i Student Alcohol and Drug Survey (non-weighted data). A 1997 middle school HYRBS (weighted) survey provides baseline data on youth population. The Adolescent Survey Committee has taken efforts to support the continued (1997 and 1999) collection of middle school data (using stratified random sampling) of 6th-8th grade public school students. Another suggested data source is the Hawai`i Student Alcohol and Drug Survey (even-numbered years). Data on smokers 18 or older are available from the Department of Health, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.
Data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System on alcohol use are only available through 1995.