Overview of Alcohol and Drug Relates Issues and Juvenile Crime for Pinellas County Youth
According to the 2012 Florida Youth Substance Abuse Survey, more youth who participated in this survey in Pinellas County use Alcohol than any other drug. Student participants had higher rates of Alcohol use in their lifetimes (48.7%) than Florida student participants statewide (47.3%). The percentage of students who reported using Alcohol at age 13 or under was 22.2% versus 25.4% statewide. The past-30-day trend for alcohol use was 30.1% among Pinellas County high school student participants, and the past-30-day trend for alcohol use was 11.4% among Pinellas County middle school student participants.
70.2% of Pinellas County student participants reported they “think it would be wrong for someone their age to drink alcohol regularly,” and 44.8% of students “perceive great risk of harm” if someone consumes “one or more drinks every day.”
7.9% of student respondents reported binge drinking in the past 30 days, with corresponding rates of 2.4% among middle school student participants and 11.5% among high school student participants. Among Pinellas County high school student participants who reported drinking in the past 30-days, 18.7% reported they usually consume 5 or more drinks (FYSAS, 2012).
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).
In 2012 in Pinellas County, 1% of Pinellas County student participants reported using prescription pain relievers compared to 2.3% statewide. 0.9% of Pinellas County students reported depressant use, compared to 1.6% statewide (2012, FYSAS). More youth in Pinellas County are abusing alcohol in combination with prescription drugs and are misusing or abusing other substances (Polydrug use).
In Pinellas County in 2010, the Uniform Crime Report indicated there were 6,137 youth arrests. In 2011, there were 973 charges for alcohol or drug related violations for youth (Pinellas Juvenile Assessment Center). In the 2008/2009 Fiscal year, of the 3,557 Pinellas County youth given a Full Assessment by the Department of Juvenile Justice, 16.0% of youth reported their alcohol and drug abuse contributed to their crime and 20.0% reported that money or drugs was the motivation for their crime (Positive Assessment Change Tool, DJJ). The Pinellas Juvenile Assessment Center and Juvenile Addictions Receiving Facility, in partnership with LiveFree! has been implementing a Last Use Survey asking questions about Alcohol and Prescription Drugs. Of the 5,868 youth given a survey from September 2008 through March 2012, 5,266 youth were asked about their charge. 8.9% of youth reported that they were charged for an Alcohol or Drug-Related crime and 1% reported that they were charged for selling drugs. Additional crimes included the following: Assault or Battery Related = 14.6%, Theft/Stolen Property Related = 19.4%, Weapons Related = 1.2%, Disorderly Conduct Related = 8.4%, Traffic Related = 1.4%, Trespassing or Loitering Related = 4.1%, Resisting Arrest or Obstruction Related = 3.3%, Runaway = 44%, VOP/Detention Hold Related = 13.1%, and Other = 5.5%. 0.4% were missing, and 3.5% were not applicable.
In the 2008/2009 school year, Pinellas County had the following crime and violence related incidents on Pinellas County School campuses: Alcohol = 74; Gang Related = 10; Bullying Related = 296; Hate Crime Related = 2; Injury Related = 82; Weapons Related = 166; Firearms Involved = 8; Other Weapons Involved = 158; Drug Related = 642; Marijuana/Hashish = 524; and Other Illicit Drugs = 118. According to Pinellas County Schools’ Out of School Suspensions Reports in the 2010/2011 school year for middle and high school students, 138 youth were suspended for tobacco, 93 for alcohol and 430 for other drugs.
According to census data, the majority of minorities who reside in Pinellas County live in the Southern portion (St. Petersburg), which also has higher rates of poverty. In Pinellas County, four out of the top five zip codes for youth under 18 living in poverty are in South County. The same is true for youth involved in the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice system. The same top five zip codes of Florida Department of Juvenile Justice involved youth are the same top five zip codes for Single Female Households. Again, four out of five are in South County, especially the areas of Childs Park and North Greenwood.
According to the Economic Costs of Underage Drinking Report, a total of $161 million was spend on adverse effects from underage drinking including motor vehicle crashes, drowning, burns, risky sexual behavior, poisoning, suicide, property crime and violent crime.