Glen Cove's youth are generally less at risk for substance abuse and antisocial behavior such as fighting and bullying than other communities studied, according to a survey commissioned by a local anti-substance abuse group.
SAFE, Inc., which stands for Substance Abuse Free Environment and operates out of City Hall, presented the statistics Thursday night to an audience of about two dozen.
Students in grades 6, 8, 10 and 12 were surveyed, with a total of 641 surveys.
The results showed that the perceived harmfulness of alcohol and tobacco has increased slightly among teens since the last study, conducted two years ago, although tobacco was reportedly seen as less harmful among older students.
Among sixth graders, 87 percent said they had never tried alcohol, while the number dropped to 23 percent for twelfth graders. This represents an earlier onset of alcohol use, according to the study.
25 percent of students surveyed reported they binge drink once or more per month. Binge drinking was defined as having five or more drinks.
Overall, though, alcohol and tobacco use are seen more unfavorably by Glen Cove's teens than in the past, while marijuana is considered to be a less dangerous substance.
Use of other drugs is relatively low compared to other communities surveyed, although the study found that use of prescription drugs is on the rise.
Family influence was a factor recognized as key in keeping teens on the right track in all aspects of their lives, and Glen Cove's parents were rated highly for discouraging use of any substances. The survey noted "protection factors," identified as family and community influences, were relatively high.
Gang activity was said to be decreasing, and students were not considered at risk for academic failure relative to the rest of the country.
Factors contributing to the results were discussed, including programs like "Teens as Teachers" and "Lock Up Your Meds."
Also mentioned was the Social Host Law, which makes it a crime for adults to allow underage drinking in the home. Glen Cove adopted the law before it was enacted by the county, and so far there have been 21 cases of it being used since its adoption by the city.
A recent example is the case of Margaret Shencavitz, 44, of Glen Cove who was charged .
Shencavitz commented on the March 8 story reporting that incident:
"I was not even aware of any party nor was I home for the party," Shencavitz wrote. "Instead of helping me get the kids out of my home the police arrested me."
A new program was announced which will encourage residents to post signs in their windows pledging that the household is committed to combating "underage drinking and substance abuse of any kind."
The meeting was attended by a handful of community leaders, including city councilman Anthony Gallo, the SAFE Commission's co-chair, and councilman Tony Jimenez, chair of the organization's Community Committee.
Mayor Ralph Suozzi and legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitton attended the meeting as well.
Also in attendence were members of the organization's Youth Committee, introduced by executive director Melissa Tierney.