WOOD COUNTY, OH (Toledo News Now) - Fifth to 12th graders from every Wood County public school district- plus the Penta Career Center- were surveyed back in February, and their answers show an interesting trend: Marijuana use has become more popular than lighting a cigarette.
The survey shows that 15.2 percent of 12th graders smoked cigarettes in the last 30 days, but 19.9 percent smoked marijuana, and in the past year, 15.6 percent of seniors said they used marijuana 11 or more times.
"I think I see and hear more about marijuana than cigarettes these days, all around high schoolers." said Jacob Wahrman, a junior at Bowling Green High School, who is not surprised by the numbers from the survey.
Jacob says fellow students just think marijuana is "cooler" than cigarettes.
Kyle Clark, the project director for the Safe Schools Healthy Student Initiative and the Wood County Educational Service Center says it follows a nationwide upward trend for marijuana:
"A potentially legitimate medical prescription drug. We have states that have legalized it now so there's a whole host of mixed messages."
Clark says if adults are conflicted about marijuana, more kids may think it's okay. He says local prevention groups and school leaders will use the results of the survey to switch more of their grant money to marijuana prevention programs.
He is encouraged by a drop in cigarette use in the 10th, 11th and 12th grades. Alcohol use by Wood County students is at its lowest rate since the survey was started in 2004.
"Well over 60 percent of our kids have not taken a drink; have not smoked a cigarette ever. And those are good statistics to have."
Binge drinking dropped in all grades except among seniors.
The survey also addresses bullying, and revealed 33 percent of Wood County students say they have been victims. Bullies and the bullied are more prone to substance abuse.