The St. Mary’s County Health Department and St. Mary’s County Public Schools have announced the local results of the 2021 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS). This national survey, conducted biennially by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), provides aggregate-level data representative of 9th through 12th grade students in public and private schools in the United States. Through a partnership with local education systems and health departments, data can be localized to represent youth in specific jurisdictions.

Since the 1990s, the YRBS has assessed health-risk behaviors of the nation’s high school students that contribute to the leading causes of death, disability, and social issues among youth and young adults. Assessed topics include mental health; tobacco, alcohol and other drug use; violence; nutrition and exercise; and presence of obesity, asthma, and other health conditions. With adequate student participation and a vigorous data analysis process, results can statistically represent the larger population of high-school age youth.

“Data from the local YRBS effort gives us a much better understanding of emerging health trends in our St. Mary’s County youth,” said Dr. Meena Brewster, St. Mary’s County Health Officer. “This then helps our health department and community partners work to improve health for our young people.”

The 2021 Youth Risk Behavior Survey was administered to students in the public high schools in St. Mary’s County. Participating students voluntarily completed an anonymous self-administered questionnaire about their health behaviors. Survey procedures were designed to protect the privacy of participating students and adhered to local parental permission protocols.

The local results of the survey revealed the prevalence of certain behaviors among high school students in St. Mary’s County. While the data shows a decrease in tobacco use, it also highlights an increase in vaping and e-cigarette use. Additionally, there was an increase in the reported use of marijuana and prescription drugs without a prescription.

The St. Mary’s County Health Department and Public Schools are committed to using this data to inform their efforts in promoting healthy behaviors among youth in the county.

For more information on the YRBS, visit or

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/EditorEditor-in-Chief

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

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