One In Five High Schoolers Drink, Smoke Or Do Drugs During The School Day
They may be in the classroom, but their heads are somewhere else.
Nearly one in five students do drugs, drink or smoke cigarettes during the school day, according to a jarring new survey by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University.
While the revelation that 17% of high school students may be half in the bag on any given day may come as a shock to some parents or teachers, it’s old news to the 1,000 students surveyed.
Some 86% told survey-takers that they were well aware their glassy-eyed classmates were stoned or drunk.
“It takes a teen to know what’s going on in the teen world,” said Emily Feinstein, who directed the 17th annual survey.
Half of the students polled said they know who deals drugs at school — and where students can go nearby to get high.
Marijuana was the drug easiest to buy on school grounds, students said, followed by prescription drugs, cocaine and ecstasy.
The survey of 12- to 17-year-olds also found that seeing pictures on Facebook or MySpace of their pals partying made them want to get drunk or stoned themselves.
Some 75% said this kind of digital peer pressure is a major problem and 45% said they saw online photos of classmates drinking, doing drugs or even passing out.
These kids were four times likelier to have smoked pot, three times likelier to have used alchohol, and three times likelier to smoke cigarettes, the survey found.
By contrast, kids who didn’t see these images on social networking sites were less likely to drink, do drugs, or smoke, the survey found.
“This year’s survey reveals a new kind of potent peer pressure — digital peer pressure,” said Joseph Califano, a former Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare.
“Digital peer pressure moves beyond a child’s friends and the kids they hang out with. It invades the home and a child’s bedroom via the Internet.”
While 60% of public school students agreed that their schools were “drug-infected,” the survey found a big jump in drug use in private schools as well.
Fifty-four percent of private school students said drugs were rampant compared to 36% last year.
Also, teens who said their parents didn’t lay down the law about smoking, drinking or taking drugs were more likely to smoke, drink and take drugs.
“The take-away from this survey for parents is to talk to their children and get engaged in their children’s lives,” said Feinstein.