27% of Public School Students Report Gangs and Drugs on Campus

WASHINGTON—As many as 27 percent of public and middle school students report that gangs and drugs are present on their campuses, according to a survey by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University.

Roughly 5.7 million public school students attend schools where gang activity and drug use are prevalent, the research unveils. In fact, one in three middle school students reported that drugs are used and sold at their school – a 39 percent increase since last year’s results. Meanwhile, 66 percent of high school students said drug use was strong at their schools.

Forty-six percent of public school students report gangs at their school, compared to 2 percent of teens at private and religious schools. Furthermore, 47 percent of public school teens reported that drugs are used, stored and sold at school, while only 6 percent of private school students reported the same.

Additionally, the survey reveals that students who attend schools that are heavily populated with gangs and drug users are more likely than their counterparts at private and religious schools to smoke, drink and use illegal drugs.

Other key findings from the report include:

  • 76 percent of surveyed teens said they can get marijuana from a friend/classmate; 30 percent said their parents know the person supplying the marijuana
  • 75 percent of teen respondents said that the teens they know who drink and/or use drugs are more likely to engage in sexual activity
  • Teens who have tried tobacco are 12 times more likely to have used marijuana compared to teens who have never tried tobacco

The 15th annual “National Survey of American Attitudes on Substance Abuse XV: Teens and Parents” surveyed more than 2,000 teens and 456 of their parents.

Read the full report.


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