A study is underway to better understand the on-going prescription drug abuse crisis in the Las Vegas valley.
And this survey is targeting teens.
This is one of the first, if not the only study in Nevada, that is taking a closer look at the opioid drug abuse issue among teenagers.
Current surveys typically ask students if they use drugs and how long they have been using drugs. This study will be more in-depth. It will look at patterns of behaviors and motivations for drug use.
“I’ve noticed that there’s a lot more drug-related activity in high school than there is in junior high,” said Mariel English, Green Valley High School student.
English is a freshman at Green Valley High School, which is the first campus to be surveyed for the new study analyzing opioid abuse among local youth. Almost 1,000 students participated.
“I’ve had a few friends try it before,” English said.
Roseman University in Henderson is spearheading the efforts. The plan is to survey at least six middle and high schools around Southern Nevada by springtime.
“It’s trying to elaborate on why the trends are occurring that we’re seeing, so instead of just taking it face value that it’s occurring or that we know what the numbers are. We don’t understand the perceptions and the behaviors,” said Krystal Riccio, associate professor, Roseman University College of Pharmacy.
The electronic survey is being done anonymously with parental consent. Many of the questions center around why students are using, how they got it, and their understanding of the consequences.
Each questionnaire is modified based on the answers.
“If a student has experimented or they’re known or they know someone who’s experimented, they may take a little bit longer to complete the survey and they may see a little bit more detailed questions, Riccio said.
After the study is completed, the findings will be presented to state leaders during the upcoming legislative session. The goal is to develop prevention programs.
“It’s kind of scary to think about,” English said. “You have these people that you care about and all of a sudden they’re trying to do these drugs and they’re getting hurt from it.”
The survey also includes questions about other illegal drugs, marijuana, alcohol, and tobacco.
It’s available in both English and Spanish.