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Drug Use Rises Among High School Students

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Meanwhile, the survey brought some good news. Student use of alcohol and cigarettes dropped to its lowest level in more than 10 years, it said. Some 52.1% of students in grades 6 through 12 said that they had used alcohol within the last year, which was the smallest percentage since 52.0% reported this pattern of use in 1987-88.

For cigarettes, the survey found that annual use was 30.5% among those in grades 6 through 12; in 1987-88, 29.1% of students had reported smoking.

The survey also found the following:

  • Compared with last year, slightly fewer kids said their parents talked with them frequently about the risks of alcohol and drugs.
  • Children whose parents never talked to them about illicit drugs were far more likely to use these substances than kids whose parents spoke with them "a lot" about the problem.
  • Students with clear rules about family standards were much less likely to report use of illegal drugs.
  • Children who often attended religious services were less likely to report illicit drug use.

These results, says Edward Jurith, the White House acting drug czar, "confirm the importance of parental involvement in children's lives as one of the key factors in keeping kids off drugs."

Jurith says, "Youth with strong parental influences and access to local support networks are much less likely to use illegal drugs."

Carl Pickhardt, PhD, author of Keys to Raising a Drug-Free Child, tells WebMD, "what parents want to do is keep their kid as anchored as possible in activities and relationships that they really care about."

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