ATLANTA (CBS ATLANTA) — Students heading back to school may not just be looking to get high grades.
A new study finds that nine out of 10 high school students know someone who drinks, uses drugs or smokes during the school day.
The National Center on Addiction and Substances Abuse at Columbia University (CASAColumbia) stated that 52 percent of high school students know where to get high on or near school grounds during the school day. Over one-third say it is very easy for students to use drugs, drink or smoke during a school day with little to no risk of being caught.
“For millions of American teens, drugs and alcohol, not more advanced education, are what put the ‘high’ in the high schools they attend,” Joseph A. Califano, Jr., founder and chairman emeritus of CASAColumbia and former U.S. Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, wrote in the study.
“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.”
The survey showed that 44 percent of high school students know a peer who sells drugs at school.
Ninety-one percent said marijuana is most prevalent, followed by prescription drugs at 24 percent. Many parents seek refuge in private high schools, but the survey reveals a sharp increase in drug use. It found a 50 percent increase over just the past year, from 36 percent in 2011 to 54 percent in 2012.
Social media use plays an important role in influencing teen drug and alcohol use. The survey found 75 percent of kids between 12 and 17-years-old said seeing pictures of teens partying online made them much more interested in the use of drugs or alcohol.
“This year’s survey reveals a new kind of potent peer pressure — digital peer pressure. 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,” Califano told mynorthwest.com. “So parents should be aware of what their children are viewing on social networking sites. If their teens are seeing pictures of other teens partying with marijuana and alcohol, getting drunk or passed out, or using drugs, they may think it looks like fun and want to try it.”
The survey states that parents can play a big part in influencing teen substance abuse, particularly by expressing strong disapproval. According to the findings, far more young people were likely to approve or partake of illicit activities if they felt their parents would not be extremely upset by their participation.
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