Back-to-School Survey Reveals Surprising Trends on Drug Abuse Among High School Students


Parents send their kids to school to arm them with the knowledge they need for a better life in the future. But given how drugs of abuse have proliferated even in campuses, parents are faced with the challenge of raising drug-free kids as much as teens face added drug and alcohol risks once they’re back to school.

high school drug abuseIn the 17th annual back-to-school survey conducted by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASAColumbiaTM), it was found that 17% of high school students — 2.8 million teens — drug, drink, and smoke during the school day.

The survey also revealed that 44% of high school students know a student who sell drugs at their school. Marijuana remains a drug of choice for students selling drugs on school grounds, followed by prescription drugs, cocaine, and ecstasy.

More than half (52%) of the surveyed students say that there is a place on school grounds or near school where students go to get high during the school day; thereby, making it easier for high schoolers to use drugs, drink alcohol, or smoke during school days without getting caught.

For the first time in the Back-to-School Teen Survey’s history, more than half of private high school students say their school is drug-infected, a 50% increase over the past year, from 36% in 2011 to 54% in 2012.

“For millions of American teens, drugs and alcohol, not more advanced education, are what put the ‘high’ in the high schools they attend,” said Joseph A. Califano, Jr. Founder and Chairman Emeritus of CASAColumbia and former US Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare. “For millions of parents trying to raise drug-free kids, the ‘high’ school years are the most dangerous times their children face, and the ‘high’ schools are a dangerous place to send their kids.”

This year’s survey also evaluated the effects of teen social networking and found that 75% of 12-17-year olds who see pictures of teens partying with alcohol or marijuana on Facebook, MySpace or another social networking site encourages other teens to want to party like that.

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