American High Schools Becoming "Drug Infested"

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A new survey has found that 90% of high school students in the United States report that they know of classmates who use illicit drugs, including alcohol and tobacco, while at school.

These teens estimate that about 1/5 of their classmates abuse drugs during the school day, which is about 2.8 million teenagers in America.

Bruce Goldman, director of substance abuse services at Zucker Hospital in New York finds the study “not suprising. We know that teens abuse alcohol, cannabis, prescription medications. It makes sense that they do it at school where they congregate with their peers.”

Some students have even reported that their classmates are using drugs while inside the classroom, without their teacher’s knowledge. Common examples are kids arriving to class after smoking marijuana or drinking alcohol disguised as water or a sports drink while in class.

Another recent survey released by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University revealed that more teenagers start using drugs and alcohol in June and July than any other month. Perhaps they are trying to get acquainted to college life, or they simply have too much free time in the summer months.

Not only are young students using drugs at school, but high schools are a hub of drug-dealing activity.

Almost half of high school students surveyed say they know a fellow student that sells drugs at their school, and they also report knowing of places near their schools where students go to use drugs during the day.

Over 1/3 of the students surveyed (out of 1,003 aged 12-17) said there is ample opportunity during the school day to drink, take drugs, and smoke with little to no chance of getting spotted by an authority figure.

Could social media be to blame? Compared to 2002, when only 24% of students reported that drugs were available at school, 61% of students now claim that their schools are “drug infested”. Some believe that students are seeing photos of their friends parting online, which inspires them to so the same to “have a good time”.

Emily Feinstein, project director of the survey, thinks schools need to take a stand to protect students from addiction later in life. “Preventing addiction is all about preventing teen substance use because the developing brain is more vulnerable. We really need to look at this as a health care problem rather than a behavioral problem and start screening and intervening early.”

Click here for more information on teen alcohol and drug abuse.

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