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Schools Infested with Drugs: Teen Survey

Friday, August 17, 2007
By JoAnne Allen

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Millions of U.S. teens attend "drug-infested schools" where students routinely see drugs used, sold or kept on schools grounds, according to a national survey of attitudes on substance abuse released on Thursday.

Thirty-one percent of high school students -- more than 4 million -- see drug dealing, illegal drug use or students high or drunk at least once a week on their school grounds, said the annual survey by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University.

Nine percent of middle school students, or more than 1 million, at least once a week see classmates engaging in drug-related activity at school, the survey found.

The results also show that since 2002, the proportion of students who attend schools where drugs are used, kept or sold soared 39 percent for high school students and 63 percent for those in middle school.

From 2006 to 2007, the proportion jumped 20 percent for high school students and 35 percent for middle school students, according to the survey.

CASA chairman Joseph Califano, a former U.S. health secretary, warned that too many schools had become open drug bazaars for teens.

The survey shows that "our nation's youth are drenched in a culture where drug and alcohol abuse are commonplace and that drug-infested schools encourage the idea that it's cool to get high and drunk," Califano said in a statement.

"Parents should wake up to this reality... and do something about it," he said.

Only 11 percent of the parents surveyed see drugs as their teen's greatest concern, but twice as many teens say drugs are their biggest concern.

The survey of 1,063, 12- to 17-year-olds and 550 parents was conducted April 2 to May 13. It has a sampling error of plus or minus 3 percent for teens and plus or minus 4 percent for parents
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