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Alcohol, Cigarette Use Down, Marijuana Use Unchanged in D.C. Fourth-Graders


March 1993

A recent survey of District of Columbia fourth-grade public school students showed that prevalence rates of alcohol use, alcohol use without parental knowledge, and smoking more than a puff of a cigarette declined from 1988-89 to 1990-91, while no declines were observed in marijuana smoking (Patricia Bush, Ph.D., and Ronald Iannotti, Ph.D., "Alcohol, Cigarette, and Marijuana Use Among Fourth-Grade Urban Schoolchildren in 1988-89 and 1990-91," American Journal of Public Health, January 1993, Vol. 83 No. 1, p. 111).

Looking at combined rates for both boys and girls, the survey found that 51.4 percent used alcohol in 1988-89 compared to 42.6 percent in 1990-91. The percentage who used alcohol without parental knowledge declined from 14.9 percent in 1988-89 to 13.4 percent in 1990-91. Cigarette use, defined as smoking more than a puff, declined from 13.5 percent in the 1988-89 survey to 11.4 percent in the 1990-91 survey. Marijuana smoking, however, remained almost unchanged, dropping a statistically insignificant 0.3 percent, from 2.3 percent in 1988-89 to 2.0 percent in 1990-91. In the first survey, 4,675 fourth-grade, District of Columbia public school students participated. In the second survey, 4,678 fourth-grade D.C. public school students participated.