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Barton County CTC surveys show high rates of teen drinking
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BARTON COUNTY —The 2013-14 Communities that Care data for the area once again shows that Barton County teens drink at a higher rate than teens from the remaining portions of Kansas, although the good news is that the numbers are trending downward across the state, including here. The report shows that area teens tend to smoke less and use marijuana less than the state average.
The survey is  a segment of students in grades 6, 8, 10 and 12.
The Barton County Alcohol Prevention Task Force was formed several years ago to create awareness and work towards reduction of the drinking. They have held awareness campaigns and sponsored alcohol stings at area businesses that sell liquor all in an effort to reduce availability and usage.
“We as a community need to band together to work diligently to make that statistic go down,” said CynDee Christiansen, Barton County Alcohol Prevention Task Force.
There were 26.49 percent of Barton County students  reporting using alcohol in the last 30 days prior to the survey, while the state percentage was 19.92 percent. This is an overall decline from 2010 when 32.65 percent of Barton County teens and 25.63 state-wide reported using alcohol.
In addition, the numbers increase from 5 percent of students in 6th grade reporting usage to 49.17 percent of 12th graders reporting usage in the last 30 days.
Barton County has had an issue with alcohol retailers selling to minors and the Task Force paid for three stings this spring. Conducted by the Kansas Department of Alcohol Beverage Control, these stings results were that in 10 out of 44 attempts, teens were able to buy alcohol.
The CTC data shows that 62.95 percent of teens here do not believe they would be caught by police when drinking, which is also higher than the rest of the state.

Binge drinking
Barton County also had a higher rate than the state numbers on teens who report having five or more drinks in a row on at least one occasion within the two weeks prior to the survey.
There were 14.63 percent of Barton County teens reporting binge drinking and 9.76 percent of teens in the remainder of Kansas.
These numbers have been decreasing overall since 2010.
In good news, the rate of teens reporting smoking cigarettes in the  30 days prior to the survey decreased and is lower than the state. There were 5.30 percent of students in Barton County reporting using cigarettes, and 5.8 percent of the remainder of the state. The numbers have dropped significantly since 2010 in Barton County when 12.08 percent of students reported smoking.
Also, the data show that 8.22 percent of Barton County teens reported using marijuana in the last 30 days, while 8.41 percent of teens in the rest of the state reported use of that drug.