DefinitionPercentage of adolescents (grades 9-12) who responded "1 or more" on the [http://dhss.alaska.gov/dph/chronic/pages/yrbs/yrbs.aspx Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS)] to the question: "During your life, how many times have you used any form of cocaine, including powder, crack, or freebase?" Responses of 0 were not considered as having a positive response for using cocaine.
NumeratorWeighted number of adolescents (grades 9-12) who responded "1 or more" on the YRBS to the question: "During your life, how many times have you used any form of cocaine, including powder, crack, or freebase?" Responses of 0 were not considered as having a positive response for using cocaine.
DenominatorWeighted number of adolescents (grades 9-12) with complete and valid responses on the YRBS to the question on ever using cocaine in their lifetime, excluding those with missing, "Don't know/Not sure," or "Refused" responses.
Data Interpretation IssuesAlaska has conducted a statewide Youth Risk Behavior Survey in 1995 and biennially from 2003. Weighted data were not obtained in 2005 and therefore no statewide estimates are available for that year. A YRBS survey conducted in 1999 did not include the Anchorage School District and therefore was not considered a valid statewide estimate. No YRBS survey was conducted in Alaska in 1997 and 2001.
Traditional high schools are sometimes called comprehensive high schools. They are public high schools that are distinct from alternative high schools, which serve students at risk of not graduating, charter schools, correspondence schools, and students enrolled in high school in correctional facilities.
Responses are weighted to reflect youth attending public traditional high schools in Alaska.
Why Is This Important?Cocaine is a highly addictive illegal drug and a major public health concern for the youth who engage in its use.^1^ Both long-term and short-term cocaine use put adolescents at risk for seizures, stroke, neurological damage, and overdose death.^2^ Additionally, illicit substance use contributes to an increased risk of injuries, violence, HIV infection, STDs, and other infections.^3^[[br]]
1. Sinha R. The clinical neurobiology of drug craving. Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2013;23(4):649-654.
2. Riezzo I, Fiore C, DeCarlo D, et al. Side effects of cocaine abuse: multiorgan toxicity and pathological consequences. Curr Med Chem. 2012;19(33):5624-5646.
3. Goldstein RA, DesLauriers C, Burda AM. Cocaine: history, social implications, and toxicity--a review. Dis--Mon DM. 2009;55(1):6-38.}}
Healthy People Objective: Increase the proportion of high school seniors never using substances--Illicit drugsU.S. Target: 58.6 percent
How Are We Doing?In 2017, 4.0% of Alaska adolescents (high school students in grades 9-12) reported using cocaine in their lifetime. Adolescent report of ever using cocaine was higher in students reporting academic performance of not mostly As and Bs (7.2%) than those reporting performance of mostly As and Bs (2.6%). Additionally, those who reported current smoking or use of smokeless tobacco and marijuana also reported higher rates of ever using cocaine, when compared to those who did not report current smoking or use of smokeless tobacco use or marijuana use.
How Do We Compare With the U.S.?For the 2017 YRBS, Alaska adolescents had rate of cocaine use at 4.0%, not statistically different from the national average of 4.8%. Alaska adolescent cocaine use continues to show a declining trend similar to the decline in the U.S. trend.
Reported adolescent use of cocaine ever in their lifetime was higher than ever using ecstasy, methamphetamines, and heroin (in descending order) for adolescents in both Alaska and the United States.
What Is Being Done?The State of Alaska Epidemiologic Profile on Substance Use, Abuse, and Dependency is available at [http://dhss.alaska.gov/dbh/Documents/Prevention/EPI2013.pdf]. This profile provides a more detailed report on the state of substance use and abuse in Alaska.
Evidence-based PracticesThere are multiple sources for research on interventions to prevent and reduce the use of illicit drugs in the adolescent population. Alaska is partnering with other states, the [https://www.cdc.gov/ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)], and the [https://www.samhsa.gov/ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)] to develop a series of public health strategies gleaned from the evidence base.
SAMHSA maintains a website that collects the latest in substance abuse prevention evidence based practices. The link to the information can be found here [https://www.samhsa.gov/prevention].