Students Surveyed on Drug Abuse

By Lynn Olson — September 24, 1986 1 min read

Students in grades 6-12 who have experimented with illegal drugs and alcohol most often used the substances in the home, not in school, a 17 -state survey released here last week indicates.

Students least often reported using drugs and alcohol at school, according to the yearlong survey of 40,000 schoolchildren. On the other hand, more than 25 percent of students in grades 6-8 reported using alcohol or illicit drugs at home, while older students described “a friend’s house” as the most popular place.

The survey-conducted by the Parents Resource Institute for Drug Education, or PRIDE, an Atlanta- based nonprofit organization focused on the prevention of drug abuse-also found that students most often reported using alcohol or drugs on weeknights or weekends.

Only about 1 percent of the students reported that they used alcohol during school; about 2 percent reported they used marijuana during school.

The survey results indicate a need to refocus drug-prevention efforts away from the schools, said Thomas Gleaton, director of PRIDE: “The educational process in drug-prevention efforts must begin at home, in the neighborhood and in the larger community.”

Although drug and alcohol abuse is also a school problem, he noted, “unless we start earlier and consider sources other than schools to convince children of the dangers of drugs, we cannot expect the problem to improve.

Among the study’s other key findings:

  • Nearly half of junior high-school students and three-fourths of senior high-school students reported some use of beer or wine. Almost 37 percent of 12th graders reported using alcohol on a weekly or daily basis.
  • One in 10 junior high-school students reported using marijuana during 1985-1986. More than 25 percent of senior high-school students reported using the drug, with one in 10 using it on a weekly or daily basis.
  • Almost 8 percent of 11th graders and 10 percent of 12th graders reported using cocaine during 1985-1986.
  • A version of this article appeared in the September 24, 1986 edition of Education Week as Students Surveyed on Drug Abuse