NEW YORK (WWTI) — New surveys are open to school districts in the state to identify risks related to substance abuse, violence and other health topics.

The New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports and New York State Education Department announced two student health surveys that New York State school districts can participate in. This includes the Youth Development Survey and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Youth Risk Behavior Survey.

According to OASAS and NYSED, the Youth Development Survey will assess substance-related risk and protective factors of students in grade seven through twelve. This will include risks such as underage drinking, substance use and gambling.

The Office of Addiction Services and Support will work with International Survey Associates to conduct the Youth Development Survey in November. ISA will then process and analyze results and provide district-specific estimates of substance use and risk, as well as potential protective factors to address these risks. 

“We have a responsibility to keep our kids safe, and New York is focused on engaging with young people to assess substance-related health risks,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “The Youth Development Survey directly engages students, and will help schools and communities target their services and prevention methods to combat these risks.”

Additionally, the Youth Risk Behavior Survey will measure the strengths and risks in students in high school, grades 9- 12. This will include unintentional injuries and violence, alcohol, tobacco, other drug use, dietary behaviors, physical activity, sexual behaviors, obesity and weight control.

NYSED will contract with the NYS Center for School Health to administer the Youth Risk Behavior Survey to 30 high schools randomly selected by the CDC. These schools will be notified in August.

“A comprehensive and coordinated approach with students, families, schools and communities is so important in helping our youth with decision making,” stated Board of Regents Chancellor Lester W. Young, Jr. “If information from these surveys can help even one student, it’s worth it for districts to take part.”

“This year has seen increased stress, anxiety and trauma for our students and families and now, more than ever, we must help our children avoid harmful behaviors any way we can,” added State Education Commissioner Betty A. Rosa. “I encourage districts to participate in these important surveys to ensure they receive the proper resources to support students in making good choices.”

District participation is voluntary and free of charge, and OASAS and NYSED will be reaching out directly to superintendents to solicit participation in the survey.

New Yorkers struggling with an addiction, or whose loved ones are struggling, can find help and hope by calling the state’s toll-free, 24-hour, 7-day-a-week HOPEline at 1-877-8-HOPENY (1-877-846-7369) or by texting HOPENY (Short Code 467369).