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National Survey Highlights State of Student Drug Use
posted by: Alix | August 27, 2012, 04:35 PM   

According to a new survey by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, drugs are more accessible to students in high school than ever before. The results of the survey were garnered by asking questions to 1,003 teens throughout the United States. Participants were asked about their school, substance use, access to illegal drugs, and social media use in order to yield a snapshot of student drug use across the country.

Astonishingly, 86% of those surveyed say that some classmates drink, use drugs and smoke during the actual school day. Fifty-two percent of those surveyed stated there is a place on school grounds or near the school where students go to drink, use drugs or smoke during the school day. Further, 36% of those surveyed say it is very easy or fairly easy for students to drink, use drugs or smoke during the school day without getting caught. Another 44% of those surveyed state they know a student who sells drugs at their school.

Pollsters assert that several factors impact student drug use including:

Peer Pressure
In the age of social media, digital peer pressure can be a problem for high schools students. For example, the survey found that 75% of 12- to 17-year-olds say they're encouraged to socialize with alcohol when they see images of their peers doing so. The survey found that 45% of teens have seen online photos of their classmates drinking, doing drugs or passing out–a statistic that's up 5% since last year's survey.

Public Schools vs. Private Schools
According to the results, drug use in private schools have risen. In 2011, 36% of private school students said their school was affected by drugs. But in the past year, that figure jumped to 54%, the first time in history that a majority of private school students reported drugs on campus. Overall, 60% of students– in both public and private schools–report drugs on campus.

Parental Involvement
According to the survey, teens who say their parents are indifferent about drug or tobacco use are significantly more likely to smoke or drink. Teens who say they have been left alone overnight–30% of surveyed teens– are about twice as likely to have used alcohol or marijuana as teens that have never been left alone at night. In contrast, teens who regularly attend religious services aren't as likely to use illegal substances or tobacco.

As educators, it's important to understand the climate that our students are navigating. Talk to your administrators to discuss the trends at your school. For more information and resources for talking with students about the impact of drug use on health, visit the National Institute of Drug Abuse website.

Click here to review the full survey report.

What do you think about the survey results? Do they surprise you?
Comment below.

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