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Fewer Nevada teens are smoking cigarettes, but more are smoking marijuana
since 1993, according to a study released by the state Department of Education.

It's a trend that did not surprise Carson High School senior Ash Dauenhauer.

"Smoking (cigarettes) is a lot worse because pot's not addictive," he said.
"People who smoke seem to kill their bodies a lot faster, but I'm no doctor."

A tennis player and member of student council, Ash said he would be more
likely to associate with other teens who used marijuana than those who
smoked because marijuana does not have the same stigma.

"It's semi-common," he explained. "It's not something that everybody does,
but a lot of kids have at least tried it."

Sex among high school students has also declined, according to the "Nevada
Youth Risk Behavior Survey," based on responses from thousands of high
school and middle school students in 2001.

"I'm glad it's dropped," said Carson High School's student body president
Megan Petterson. "I think everyone is just more aware -- AIDS is a reality."

However, she said the number may still be too high.

"I know a lot of kids are sexually active," she said. "Sometimes they just
use it as an excuse as something to do."

Jack McLaughlin, state superintendent of public instruction for the past
year, said the survey shows risk-taking among Nevada youth "at unacceptably
high levels."

For instance, cocaine use has also risen since 1993, inching up to 6
percent from 4 percent. But violence on school campuses has declined.

Drug sales on school campuses apparently rose. The report said 35.7 percent
of the high school students said somebody had offered, sold or given them
an illegal drug on campus. That's up from 31 percent in 1999 and 30 percent
in 1993.

In the 1993 survey 58 percent of the students said they had sexual
intercourse. That fell to 49 percent last year. And the use of condoms has
risen from 53 percent to 62 percent during the eight-year period.

The report in 1993 found 10 percent of the students had been pregnant or
had gotten someone pregnant. That's down to 6 percent in 2001.

The survey also found 9.2 percent of the high school students said they
have been forced to have sexual intercourse; and 19.6 percent of high
school students said they seriously have considered suicide.

The 1993 survey found 27 percent of Nevada students considered suicide, and
6.5 percent tried to kill themselves. Nationally, 33 percent of high school
students said they considered suicide in 1993.

The question about whether students had been forced into sex has been asked
since 1999. That year, 10 percent of the students said they had been forced
into sex.

Newshawk: Sledhead
Pubdate: Thu, 31 Jan 2002
Source: Nevada Appeal (NV)
Copyright: 2002 Nevada Appeal
Contact: appeal@tahoe.com
Website: http://tahoe.com/appeal/
Details: Overload Warning
Author: Teri Vance
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