KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL) — Kingsport City Schools participated in the state-wide Tennessee Together Student Survey to measure adolescent alcohol and drug use.

Schools administered the survey to over 21,000 students across 28 counties and discovered that only half of the students’ parents had had conversations with them regarding the negative effects of substance abuse.

News Channel 11 spoke to Jim Nash, the Chief Student Services Officer for Kingsport City Schools, to see what steps they’re taking to prevent teen substance use.

“If we do have any students that are thinking about it or possibly even experimenting with drug use, it’s very important to us that we get them to the appropriate resources and help that they may need so that they can be successful not only in school but in life,” Nash said.

According to Nash, Kingsport City Schools offer programs to both students and parents to inform and raise awareness of the dangers of substance abuse. On school sites, counselors and school resource officers are available and perform classroom discussions.

Nash warned that substance use in students can result in not only poor school production such as a drop in attendance and lowering in grades, but it can also cause behavioral issues that could affect students’ home life.

The Tennessee Together Student Survey found that as many as 40% of students in grades 8, 10, and 12 have consumed alcohol at one point, and the average age to begin experimenting with either drugs or alcohol began as early as ages 13 and 14.

The survey also revealed that there are less perceived risks associated with electronic cigarettes such as the Juul.

In comparison to national averages, however, the rates at which Tennessee teens misuse alcohol or marijuana are lower.

For more information, visit the Tennessee Together Survey website.