You probably remember when you were a teen and how there was peer pressure to either go out and drink or do some other type of drug. County teens seem to be shunning these old pressures.

A Maine State survey recently showed a decrease in drug and alcohol use among teens living in Aroostook County.

According to Lola Poirier, substance abuse prevention specialist at the Aroostook County Action Program in Houlton.

"The survey results reflected advances in some areas along with continuing challenges in others"

Poirier said in a recent interview that more than 61,000 students across the state took part in the Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey, an extensive questionnaire that is distributed every two years as a collaboration between the Maine Department of Health and Human Services and the Maine Department of Education.

The survey addresses everything from drug and alcohol use to smoking, bullying and mental and physical health. Ten out of the sixteen high schools in The County participated this year, while ten out of the fifteen middle schools also took part.

Among results for Aroostook County high schools, 8.6 percent of students reported they had taken a prescription drug such as Oxycontin or Ritalin without a doctor’s prescription at least once, which is down from 9.4 percent who answered that way in 2015. Twenty-seven percent of high schoolers admitted using marijuana at least once last year, which is down from 30.3 percent in 2015.

Addressing alcohol use, 23.1 percent of students admitted having at least one drink over a 30 day period last year, down from 28.1 percent in 2015.

But 30.5 percent of respondents said they had been bullied on school property in 2017, compared to 27.1 in 2015. Addressing school safety, 85.4 percent said they “strongly agreed or agreed” that they felt safe in school, down from 88 percent in 2015.

She said that the ACAP Community Education Program will continue providing prevention services across the region, and their focus also remains on getting more schools to take part in the survey.

“Some of the schools are hesitant to participate because they believe that any negative numbers will label them as a school with a drug or alcohol problem, and that is not the case. That is not how the survey works. The results of their survey are only sent to them.”

Poirier said that if more schools participated, it would give them a better picture of the overall problem.

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