Or something! We just got the results of the biennial Healthy Youth Survey from the state's Department of Health, and while teen smoking and drinking are down (just say no!), the rate of "feeling crappy because being a teenager can be really bullshit sometimes"* among Washington's youth remains pretty much the same. *Not a direct quote.
About 10 percent of 10th graders reported smoking a cigarette at least once in the past 30 days, which is waaaay down (it was around 13 percent in 2010 and 25 percent in 1999). Weirdly, "nearly as many 10th graders smoked tobacco from a hookah pipe as from a cigarette, and about 7 percent said that they smoked a cigar in the last month." My suggested follow-up question: "Cigar-smoking sophomores: totally boss or totally lost?"
On boozin': The survey reports that 12 percent of 8th graders, 23 percent of 10th graders, and 36 percent of 12th graders used alcohol in the past 30 days. They DOH says this represents "nearly 11,000 fewer students... using alcohol compared to 2010" survey results.
But the emotional health part of the survey is not trending downward:
About 8 percent of 8th and 10th graders attempted suicide in the past year. Over 100,000 youth, ages 12-17, seriously considered suicide—about one in every six students. More than one in four teens surveyed said they felt so sad or hopeless for two weeks in a row that they stopped doing usual activities: 26 percent in 8th grade, 31 percent in 10th grade, and 30 percent in 12th grade. These numbers haven’t changed much over the past 10 years.
The DOH says it's a "concern" that "the percentage of Washington 10th and 12th graders who smoke marijuana is nearly double the percentage of cigarette smokers." But, um, that seems about right to me. According to a DOH fact sheet on the survey, "In 2010, suicide was the leading cause of death in Washington for youth ages 15 to 24." I'd say maybe we should go ahead and focus a little bit of the drug- and alcohol-prevention money on some counseling, huh?