Community Health Indicator Reports are useful tools to evaluate trends in alcohol and drug use within communities. This report includes information gathered from many sources throughout Pinellas County, the State of Florida and the nation. By examining the data in a research-based manner, we can identify problems and understand where they are occurring and what the focus should be to improve future outcomes.
- Over 7% of traffic crashes in Florida in 2011 were alcohol related/suspected. Within Pinellas County, there were 1,114 alcohol related/suspected crashes and 51 alcohol related/suspected deaths. Drug related/suspected traffic crashes rose over 61% in Florida in 2011 compared to the previous year, and fatal drug related/suspected crashes rose by over 79% (Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, 2012).
- In Pinellas County, alcohol has the highest prevalence of use over any other substance for all age groups. Lifetime alcohol use for Pinellas County High School students who participated in the Florida Youth Substance Abuse Survey decreased from 65% in 2010 to 62.9% in 2012 (FYSAS, 2012).
- In 2012, Pinellas County students who participated in the Florida Youth Substance Abuse Survey had higher rates of alcohol use in their lifetime (48.7%) compared to Florida students statewide (47.3%), and the percentage of Pinellas County high school student participants who reported using alcohol at age 13 or under was 22.2% versus 25.4% statewide. Additionally, the past-30-day trend for alcohol use among high school student participants in Pinellas County was 30.1% (FYSAS, 2012).
- Other drug use is also prevalent throughout the county. In 2011, there were 7,298 drug/narcotic arrests in Pinellas County (FDLE UCR database, 2012).
- The misuse and abuse of prescription drugs is an ongoing concern in Pinellas County. The District 6 Medical Examiner’s Office reported that in 2012, there were 135 prescription drug related deaths in Pinellas County. This represents a decrease from 181 prescription drug related deaths in 2011.
- In 2012, marijuana or synthetic marijuana was second to alcohol as the most commonly used drug among Pinellas County youth who participated in the Florida Youth Substance Abuse Survey. Marijuana or synthetic marijuana had a past 30-day prevalence rate of 16.5% compared to the statewide average of 16.7%. The percentage of high school student participants in Pinellas County who reported using marijuana at age 13 or under was 11% versus 11.7% statewide (FYSAS, 2012).
- In 2012, 6.3% of Florida high school students who participated in the Florida Youth Substance Abuse Survey reported using cigarettes in the past 30 days (FYSAS, 2012). In 2012, almost half of middle school student participants, and nearly half of high school student participants reported exposure to second-hand smoke in the past 7 days (Florida Youth Tobacco Survey, Spring 2012). The percentage of Pinellas County high school student participants who reported using cigarettes at age 13 or under was 10.6% versus 13.5% statewide, and 21.6% of all survey respondents in Pinellas County used tobacco on at least one occasion in their lifetime compared to a statewide average of 21.3% (FYSAS, 2012).
Because substance abuse is so prevalent in our community, LiveFree! is one of the many organizations that work to create a safer environment for our youth and young adults through environmental strategies, educational outreach programs and community events. All members of the coalition strive to teach our young people about the harmful effects of alcohol and other drugs and ways to live a substance free life.