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The Informed Parent

Drug Use In Students, Part One

by Peter W. Welty, M.D., F.A.A.P.
Published on Oct. 25, 2004

A triad of major drug surveys has been released this past year. Of note, the Pride Survey offered important information regarding drug use and our young children. It was shown the 1/4-to-1/2 of middle and high school students are using illicit drugs.

This represents a three percent increase over the previous year in the use of illicit drugs among teenagers. It brings the overall usage in line with the five year average of teen drug usage, an increase of five percent. The use of alcohol and cigarette smoking, however, is below the five year average.

These figures are for annual reported use among students in grades 6 - 12. They indicate that the student admitted to substance use at least once during the last year. Thomas J. Gleaton, Ed.D., the survey author, noted that the country is “placed in at somewhere around one quarter of our 11 - 18-year-olds using drugs”.

The annual survey is in its sixteenth year and is conducted by the National Parents Resource Institute for Drug Education, Inc., in Atlanta. The Pride Survey contains the responses of more than 107,000 students in grades 6 - 12.

The survey found that teens who use marijuana once a month or more are more likely to steal, act violently, join gangs, carry guns, consider suicide and have poorer academic performance. Liquor users are even more likely than marijuana users to engage in these behaviors. One in eight students, and one in four in the 12th grade, used marijuana monthly, the survey found. Among the students who used illicit drugs, 86 percent of them also smoked marijuana.

Next month we will look at other results from the recent Pride Survey.

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