Teen Surveys on Substance Abuse Attitudes and Behaviors

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In the past month, two agencies have announced the release of reports on teen attitudes and behaviors related to tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs. On August 22, 2012, the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University released its 17th annual report on teen attitudes toward substance abuse The survey was conducted by telephone of a nationally representative sample of 1,003 teens, between the ages of 12-17 (493 boys and 510 girls).

Respondents were asked questions about the prevalence of alcohol and other drug use in their high schools. When asked about the most important problems they face, 26% say alcohol and other drugs, 18% say social pressures, and 11% say academic pressures. Eighty-six percent say that 17% of their classmates (2.8 million teens) are smoking, drinking, and drugging during the school day. Over a third (36%) say it is easy for students to smoke, drink, or use drugs during the school day without getting caught. Sixty percent say that drugs are used, kept, or sold on school grounds. When asked which drugs are sold on school grounds, 91% say marijuana, 24% say prescription drugs, 9% say cocaine, and 7% say ecstasy. Data also indicate that 54% of private schools are drug-infected.


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