Risky Behaviors on the Decline among New Mexico High School Students

SANTA FE -- The New Mexico Department of Health announced that rates for several important risk behaviors have fallen dramatically among New Mexico high school students. 

The information is based on results from the 2013 New Mexico Youth Risk and Resiliency Survey, a joint project of the New Mexico Department of Health and New Mexico Public Education Department.

Binge drinking (consuming five or more alcoholic drinks on a single occasion in the past 30 days) has fallen by half in the last ten years, from 35.4% in 2003 to 17.1% in 2013. 

Current cigarette smoking (smoking cigarettes on at least one of the past 30 days) dropped to 14.4% in 2013 from 30.2% in 2003. The rate for being in a physical fight in the past 12 months fell to 27.2% in 2013 from 38.9% in 2003.

"Its encouraging to see that fewer high school students are binge drinking and smoking," said Department of Health Secretary Retta Ward, MPH. We have to continue our efforts statewide to educate students on how these risky behaviors can impact their health now and later in life.

Other trends among high school students include:
  • Carrying a weapon such as a gun, knife, or club on school property fell to 5.4% from
  • 10.9% in 2003;
  • Current cigar smoking, including small flavored cigars, fell to 12.3% from 19.4% in 2003;
  • Drinking and driving fell to 8.9% from 19.1% in 2003; and
  • Using painkillers to get high in the past 30 days fell to 8.5% from 14.2% in 2009.
  • While most of the behaviors measured in the survey showed improving trends, this was not
  • universally true.
  • Use of a hookah, or large waterpipe, to smoke tobacco within the past 30 days, was
  • reported by 21.9% of high school students in 2013. Hookah use was reported by 20.0%
  • of students in 2011.
Most drug use rates have remained relatively stable over the past several years.

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