• Talk About It

    Many of our middle school students participated in behavioral health screening this school year. Students who participated received feedback on sleep, alcohol, marijuana, vaping, and mood.

    If your student took the survey, ask what they thought of it and what they learned through the feedback.


    Getting enough sleep is important.

    • Good grades: When students are well rested, they listen better, remember more, and are more creative. Staying up late can lead to lower grades.
    • Positive mood: Students who get enough sleep are happier, more patient, and less grouchy
    • Energy: Students who get enough sleep have more energy throughout the day.


    Do most teens drink alcohol? No, at every age there are many teens who have never had an alcoholic drink. It might seem like most teens drink, but it isn’t true. In fact, 90 percent of teens in middle school report that they have never had a drink.*

    Common Risks

    • Accidents: Alcohol increases risk for car and bike accidents, being involved in a fight, and injuries due to falls.
    • Harm: Alcohol interferes with decision making. Being drunk puts you at greater risk for being a victim of crime like robbery and sexual assault.
    • Alcohol Poisoning: People can die from drinking too much alcohol because it slows your breathing and changes your body's chemical balance.

    Binge Drinking

    Binge drinking is when you drink many drinks over a short period of time. If you binge drink, your blood alcohol (the amount of alcohol in your blood) rises rapidly which can be dangerous.


    Most teens don’t use marijuana. In fact, 97 percent of middle school students report that they have never used marijuana.*

    Harmful Effects

    • Memory: Marijuana can make it hard to learn and remember things.
    • Mental health: Marijuana can increase worry, fear and risk for psychosis (losing touch with reality) especially in teens.
    • Health risks: Marijuana smoke can damage the lungs just like tobacco smoke.

    Smoking & Vaping

    It may seem like many teens vape or smoke regularly. Actually, in 2017, less than 10 percent of ninth-grade students used a vaping device and less than 9 percent smoked cigarettes in the last month.**

    Did you know 31 percent of teens who vape begin to smoke cigarettes within six months?

    Vaping (or Juuling) is Not Just Inhaling “Flavoring”

    • Vape companies call the liquid used in vaping devices “juice” which sounds harmless.
    • Vape liquid is a mixture of nicotine and chemicals which damage the body.
    • One pod of liquid in a Juul has the same amount of nicotine as a whole pack of cigarettes. Nicotine is addictive.

    Vapor Contains Harmful Chemicals

    The vapor contains even more harmful chemicals that weren’t originally in the liquid because of the heating process.

    • Cadmium: Cadmium is found in cell phone batteries and when inhaled can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
    • Aluminum: Inhaling aluminum can cause pneumonia and in teens can slow growth and deform bones.
    • Lead: Lead exposure can lead to a drop in IQ, nerve damage, digestive problems, and death.


    You can take several steps to try to improve their mood.

    • Get regular exercise, or plan and do fun activities.
    • Sleep more each night.
    • Spend more time with the people you care about. Start small. Studies show that even making small changes can improve mood.

    Many teens get help with depression or sad feelings. There are many benefits of sharing these feelings.

    • Friendships: Depression can affect relationships with friends and family. Getting help can improve your relationships and sense of wellbeing.
    • Sleep: Depression can disrupt sleep or make you tired. Getting help can improve your sleep.
    • School: Feeling down can affect grades and motivation at school. Sharing feelings with a trusted adult can help.

    Tips to Avoid Drinking & Drugs

    • Practice easy-to-say phrases for refusing when you are offered, like:
      • "I'm good, no thanks."
      • "I don't like it."
      • "I'll get in trouble at home."
    • Find healthy ways to feel good, like exercise, participating in hobbies and doing other activities.
    • Don’t go to places where you know people will be drinking or using drugs when possible.


    *Information taken from the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, a survey of about 15,000 teens from across the U.S.

    **Information taken from the 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance, a survey of 14,000 U.S. high school students.

Last Modified on December 9, 2019