P.O. BOX 2120



August 29, 2003



Division Superintendents



Jo Lynne DeMary

Superintendent of Public Instruction



Virginia Community Youth Survey


In the fall of 2003 the Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation & Substance Abuse Services (DMHMR&SAS) will be administering the Virginia Youth Survey and the Youth Tobacco Survey in collaboration with the Virginia Tobacco Settlement Foundation. The Foundation last surveyed randomly selected school divisions in October 2001.


Working under a joint agreement between the Foundation and DMHMR&SAS will prevent a duplication of random survey sampling for school divisions. The survey sample, to be drawn by the Centers for Disease Control, will include a total of 14,351 students in the eighth, tenth, and twelfth grades. We anticipate that about 574 classrooms will be surveyed. This represents approximately one percent of all eighth, tenth, and twelfth graders.


The survey requires one 45-minute class period to administer. A classroom teacher may administer the survey or a survey administrator will be provided. The survey process will be coordinated by the Survey Evaluation and Research Lab (SERL) of Virginia Commonwealth University.


Your cooperation in allowing the survey to be administered (at no cost) in your school division will be appreciated because the data obtained will serve a number of reporting requirements. It will:


1.              satisfy the reporting requirements for the Department of Education under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, specifically the incidence and prevalence, age of onset, perception of health risk, and perception of social disapproval of drug use and violence by youth in schools and communities;

2.              meet the requirement for the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment (SAPT) Performance Partnership grant for a plan for services based on youth survey data. The amount of SAPT funds for prevention that will be available for FY 04 is $8.5 million;

3.              support the planning efforts of other state agencies including the Governors office for Substance Abuse Prevention;

4.              support community prevention coalitions in determining targeted risk factors and selecting appropriate science-based prevention programs;

5.              assist in determining the need for technical assistance and direction for future efforts; and,

6.              evaluate the effectiveness of the commonwealths substance abuse and other prevention programs.


To request a sample of the survey, or to obtain additional information, please contact Hope Merrick, prevention services manager, Office of Substance Abuse Services, Virginia Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse Services, P.O. Box 1797, Richmond, VA 23218-1797. She may be reached by phone at 804-786-1411 or by e-mail: