A new and troubling survey finds that drugs are more widely available in our nation’s schools than ever before, and 86 percent of students say that their peers smoke, drink, or do other drugs.
Teenagers using alcohol, tobacco, and drugs has long been a national problem, but a new survey shows it might be worse now than it has ever been before, bordering on “epidemic.” Teens aren’t just drinking and doing drugs unsupervised at home or with friends anymore; now they’re doing them at school, reports Newser. The annual survey performed by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASAColumbia) in New York found that 86 percent of high-school students say that their peers use illegal substances, including drugs,”during the school day on or near school grounds.” Teens estimate that roughly 1 in 5 of their classmates use illegal substances at school.
The survey gives a “graphic portrait of what is going on in high schools and among high school students – the fact that we have 9 out of 10 students saying that classmates are using drugs, drinking, and smoking during school the day on or near school grounds,” says Joseph Califano Jr., founder and chairman emeritus of CASAColumbia and former US secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare.
More disturbing findings from the Christian Science Monitor.
More than half of private school students report the presence of illegal drugs on school ground for the first time. The number went up dramatically to 54 percent over last year’s 36 percent. More than half of those students have a special spot near campus where they go to do drugs, and 36 percent say it’s easy to get away with. Half also said that they know someone at school who sells drugs — usually marijuana, but sometimes prescription drugs, ecstasy, even cocaine.
Over the last seven years, roughly 60 percent of students said that they consider their schools to be “drug-infected,” meaning that drugs have a visible presence on campus. This number has been consistent since 2003. In 2002, the percentage was 44 percent.
“The point is that we should not inflict this world on our kids and we are,” Califano says.