Social media, private schools among changes in drug use

For the 17th year, The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University interviewed 12 to 17 year olds about drug use in schools.

Here’s what they found. From CNN:

“About 17% of American high school students drink, smoke or use drugs during the school day, a new survey by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University says.”

“It’s no surprise to their classmates, either: 86% say they know the 2.8 million who are abusing substances during the day, according to the latest version of the center’s annual back-to-school survey. The estimate is based on information gleaned from telephone interviews with about 1,000 kids ages 12 to 17.”

“The survey found that 44% of high school students know a classmate who sells drugs at school, and 60% say that drugs are available on campus. Marijuana was the most-sold on school grounds, students said, as well as prescription drugs, cocaine and ecstasy.”

But what I thought was most interesting were some of the new factors affecting drug use.

The survey found a jump in private school use from 36 percent in 2011 to 54 percent in 2012.

On social media’s influence:

From The Huffington Post: “Seventy-five percent of respondents said that seeing Facebook pictures of their peers partying with alcohol and marijuana encourages other teens to imitate them. “

“Compared to teens who have never seen such incriminating images, those who have are four times more likely to have used marijuana, and more than three times likelier to have used alcohol.”

On parents who leave them alone over night:

From The Huffington Post: “Survey-takers also asked participants if they are ever left home alone overnight without adult supervision. Nearly 30 percent answered in the affirmative, and are about twice as likely to have used alcohol or marijuana and almost three times more likely to have tried tobacco than teens who have never been left alone at night.”

So what do you make of the survey? What do you make of social media’s influence? What about private schools and being left alone at night?

50 comments Add your comment

DB

August 27th, 2012
2:17 am

It’s . . . depressing. As one of the comments in the report said: 60% of the public schools are drug-infected — and these are schools that the government requires parents to send their kids to, barring alternatives. It’s distressing how much peer pressure is a factor on making poor decisions, after years and years of being told “Drugs Are Bad!”

What I did find interesting in the report was how parental disapproval affected use:

“Teens who say their parents would be extremely upset to find out their child smokes, drinks or uses marijuana are less likely to use these substances or to say that it’s okay for teens their age to smoke, get drunk and use marijuana. Compared to such teens, those who say their parents would not be extremely upset if they parents found out their child smokes, drinks or uses marijuana are:

•Eight and a half times likelier to say it’s okay for teens their age to use marijuana (34 percent vs. 4 percent);
•Ten times likelier to say it’s okay for teens their age to get drunk (22 percent vs. 2 percent); and
•Nine times likelier to say it’s okay for teens their age to smoke cigarettes (18 percent vs. 2 percent).”

I have an acquaintaince (I won’t call her a friend) who told her son that if he wanted to smoke pot, just “keep it down to a reasonable level” and smoke it outdoors so it wouldn’t stink up their house. Really? You tell a 17 year old that? What about, “HELL NO, NOT IN MY HOUSE!!” One of the few times I was speechless . . .

I’m a little surprised at the private school numbers, but given the amount of money floating around those kids, perhaps the surprise should be that it took that long to catch up. Private schools can (and often do) expel kids who are caught — but perhaps the economy and the lag in private school enrollments are making some schools a little more forgiving in order to keep enrollments and tuition coming in? Dunno. I do know that it was the death sentence at my kids’ private school 4-5 years ago — one kid, a senior, got tossed out two months before graduation when they found something in his car.

As far as leaving kids along at night — yeah, I can see it happening, easily. Not a surprise at all. Even if your own child is pure as the drven snow, parents being out of town quickly turns your home into “party central”, even if it’s just a handful of kids.

[...] more at Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog). Filed Under: [...]

Lil Timmy

August 27th, 2012
5:50 am

I’m high right now.

Monkey Spunk

August 27th, 2012
5:56 am

Waiting on MJGs hero story……

Mercy

August 27th, 2012
6:26 am

It’S a little early to be bitter, Monkey. Have some coffee.

catlady

August 27th, 2012
6:31 am

Oh, piffle. Let’s blame our drug use on social medial. Or, on the cat. sheesh

Private school kids have always used drugs. They have the money. Poor kids use drugs. They have other methods (stepping on it) to get them.

As to beling left alone, much drug use happens in kids who are unsupervised.

No biggie here.

gtmom

August 27th, 2012
7:50 am

I always under the assumption that Private Schools used more drugs (or more dangerous drugs) than Public Schools. They had the money to buy the more expenisve potent designer drugs. I do remember that a friend of mine played an intramural sport (ultimate frisbe) at GA Tech and that some of the players would buy drugs from another team they played..which happened to be from kids from a very well to do private school (which I will not name) here in Atlanta. I can believe that the more you are in your child’s life, the more they are not likely to use drugs.

Jeff

August 27th, 2012
8:10 am

No surprise. Our parents would wring their hands over us and all of the “new” dangers that they never faced, now it’s our turn. It’s been going on since the beginning of time and will continue.

Some kids will always succumb, some will not. Sad, but true.

Mayhem

August 27th, 2012
8:12 am

When you start your kids on drugs at an early age, ie Ritalin, etc, then in their world, pot is ok and so are other drugs. After all parents started them on drugs. You have no one to blame but yourself.

Also I’ve seen several kids, who’s parents tried to keep them so busy to avoid drugs, use heavy drugs and burn out earlier. One kid her mom had her in softball, she took pitching lessons, piano lessons, tennis lessons and tutoring. This kid crashed in high school. Burned out. Dropped out pregnant at 16. So much for keeping her busy!

Kids need boundaries. They need their parents. Parents need to be home, to be there for their kids. One poster had it correct last by saying parents sacrifice their kids. Not all do, but when you place your work above your kids, they will wander and find trouble. And it’s out there let me tell ya! Love your kids. Hold on to them. You are the guide in their lives. Stand up and be strong!! Done give them the control.

Voice of Reason

August 27th, 2012
8:30 am

@Mayhem

It is extremely ignorant of you to say that giving a student a prescription drug like Ritalin is somehow a “gateway” drug to illegal drugs.

Most kids start out taking that kind of medication at a very early age. I, myself started taking it in second grade. I have NEVER once tried any illegal drug, and I am 34 years old, and believe me I went to college, so I had plenty of opportunities to try if I chose to, only I chose not to, out of respect for myself.

My mother always explained to me as I got older that yes, it is a controlled substance, but I needed it to concentrate on my studies and I could tell the difference when I would try to sit down to study without it, vs. with it. That made sense to me, I never looked at it like it was some drug I could get high on, it was what I needed to function normally and get my work done.

Saying Ritalin, stimulant, is a gateway drug to Marijuana, a depressant, is the same thing as saying that Aspirin or Tylenol is a gateway drug to Vicodin.

shaggy

August 27th, 2012
8:31 am

Place them all in radiation survival suits (of course, text messaging enabled ones, with farcebook, and tweeter.) so they are exposed to absolutely nothing until they are 39 years old…at least. By then, they might be able to cope with all of the temptations that everyone here swears they never had, when they were growing up.

Yes, we were all innocent little darlings, who wanted to be either a Benedictine monk, or June Cleaver.
There were no drugs or drug abuse. No one ever stole from Dad’s liquor cabinet, or had a fake ID. The Woodstock generation is a myth. It never happened, except for some way cool music that is still better than anything perforating eardrums today.

homeschooler

August 27th, 2012
8:33 am

There has always been talk about high drug use in private school. I think the factor is parental involvement. In many of the high priced private school parents are caught up in their own lives, either in high powered positions or selfish luxuries, trips, clubs etc.. I’m sure there are just as many uninvolved parents in private as in public school.
Where I have personally seen a difference is in small, inexpensive, private schools. These families are typically struggling to send their children to private school, making sacrifices and are very involved parents. I would like to see a study on drug use in private high schools that cost less than 10,000 dollars per year.
As far as social media. I’m blown away that kids would post pictures of themselves doing this. Again, uninvolved parents. How do you not know that your child is posting this stuff? I know kids can have accounts that the parents don’t know about but surely with all the friends of friends that see this the info would get back to the parents. IMO if a child is willing to post a picture of himself or herself smoking pot or drinking, they are not one bit concerned about that information getting back to their parents. So, the parents either don’t care or are so far removed from their peer circle that they know it would never get back to them. I can’t imagine that. You have to know your kids’ friends.

homeschooler

August 27th, 2012
8:41 am

@ Voice, there are numerous studies that kids who have been on Ritalin or Adderall are more likely to use drugs. Now whether this is a cause and effect correlation or just a “kids who are chemically imbalanced or ADD are more likely to seek out drugs” is up for debate.

jarvis

August 27th, 2012
8:56 am

Don’t post “studies” without the studies please.

motherjanegoose

August 27th, 2012
9:03 am

Hero?? Can’t claim that title.

My two went to public school, so I have no personal experience here.

Three stories about students/parents I know in public school….

1. Parent provided alcohol for under age high school students in their basement to eliminate the need for them to purchase it elsewhere and keep them in a controlled environment. Their child was arrested underage for purchasing alcohol and driving at a later date.

2. Parents made no big deal out of their teen drinking in front of them and being drunk.
Student entering 5th year of undergrad and still unsure what vocation will be pursued. The student has *** enjoyed college*** but has not been able to hone in on what would be a potential career.

3. Parents went out of town and HS student posted a small party on Facebook. The party went viral and eventually the police were called. The Mom’s jewelry box was raided and it contained family heirlooms that were lost forever.

DB’s 3rd paragraph is spot on, in our house.

FCM

August 27th, 2012
9:17 am

I was not into the drug scene ever….I knew in general who did them in my 1980s East Cobb High School….the vast majority were doing marijuana. However, my best friend attended Lovett. Years later he told me that he used to hang in the lot doing cocaine and other “high end” drugs. Apparently it was not uncommon there in the 80s. Since we were not in the same school (and I was clueless about signs of drug users) I never knew.

FCM

August 27th, 2012
9:23 am

“When you start your kids on drugs at an early age, ie Ritalin, etc, then in their world, pot is ok and so are other drugs. After all parents started them on drugs. You have no one to blame but yourself.”

Actually that is false. Studies have shown that kids who used medicine for ADD/ADHD or similar uses on a regular basis are less likely to use illegals. I will have to ask the doctor to give me another copy of the reports I read about that before I made the decision to use meds on the ADHD child.

(TWG in your journalism notes on ADD/ADHD do you have anything that can be posted easily about that statement “MAyhem” decided to post?)

RJ

August 27th, 2012
9:24 am

I went to a public school with kids that lived in mansions. The amount of drugs they did was unreal! As @catlady pointed out, rich kids have the money to get drugs. Poor kids do drugs too, but the rich kids do them just as much if not more.

I’m not surprised at these numbers. It’s not about “where” you send your kids as much as it is about “what” you instill in your kids.

FCM

August 27th, 2012
9:28 am

“Contrary to the oft-cited “gateway drug” phenomenon, stimulant medication for children with ADHD leads to a 1.9 fold reduction of the probability for future substance abuse disorders as adolescents and adults (Wilens et al, 2003)”

homeschooler

August 27th, 2012
9:41 am

I’m not sure of the studies and don’t necessarily believe they are accurate or valid. I just know I’ve read them. I wouldn’t post studies that I just pull up by “googling”. Like FCM I have also read studies that say that say the complete opposite. There seems to be a correlation between ADD and drug use. Some believe that use of early stimulants leads to this and others believe that lack of controlling the problem at an early age can lead to drug use as those individuals tend to self medicate. Just more things to be aware of as we try to steer our children away from the dangers of drugs.

shaggy

August 27th, 2012
9:46 am

Julius Caesar talking to Ms.Caesar about adopted Octavian

JC: He was not very good today, when we were pillaging the Gauls. He missed a chance at a couple of concubines and a ransom of gold. I think it’s the influence of those kids he has been hanging around with lately. I might have to have some of them sold as slaves to teach them a lesson, or maybe a good torture session.

MJC: Oh honey, you always say that. You weren’t always the conqueror that you are today. I remember when you were a shy, cracking voice, centurion, who had only had a couple of massacres under his belt. You were so cute.

JC: Yes, maybe, but times are different. he has to deal with those senators if he ever wants his own triumph, or a few legions to do a proper conquering. I haven’t worked my tail off and sacrificed to Jupiter for nothing. I don’t trust those senator rats, and they want to worship me in the senate this afternoon…I am thinking about not going, but Brutus will be there, and he is one of the guys.

MJC: Well if you weren’t running off to Egypt all of the time…on business, you could spend some time with him, teach him how to persecute his enemies or something together. He already is drinking too much of that French wine, and I think Octavian has been smoking something…… Maybe Marc will help out, but I don’t think he likes little Oct.

The Ides of March redux.

Atlanta Mom

August 27th, 2012
9:56 am

I have heard of Pill Parties for students from one of Atlanta’s premier private schools. Kids bring pills from home and put them in a bowl to share. I’d much rather my child smoke MJ than take unknown pills.

Scooby

August 27th, 2012
10:13 am

I’m with Atlanta Mom on the pill party thing. I don’t think it matters, rich/poor, private/public school, involved parent/uninvoled parent, if a child is inclined to do drugs/drink, they are going to do them. Sometimes, the more “involved” a parent is, the more likely the child is to rebel.

Mayhem

August 27th, 2012
10:20 am

You don’t “do” marijuana. You smoke it. You “do” drugs. Weed is NOT a “drug”. It’s an herb that grows naturally. It is NOT man made like extacsy, meth, cocaine ritilan, and the ever popular heroin. No one has EVER died from weed. There are no cases.

And yes medicine for the made up “disease” ADD/ADHD is putting your kids on unnecessary drugs. If they can’t concentrate put them on Ritalin. Or adderol. Whatever. Just give your kid a pill. Again with the sacrificing. You sacrifice your kids mental health and open the door to trying other drugs. Pill popping is one of the leading causes of teen death.

Techmom

August 27th, 2012
10:31 am

I agree with @homeschooler in that it’s pretty difficult to lump all private schools together. Not all private school kids have the money to buy high-end drugs. Would it be a better correlation to family income versus private/public education? I think so. I also think it has to do with the size of school/number of students. It’s a lot easier to ‘get lost’ in a big crowd.

This was a survey was based on a “telephone interviews with about 1,000 kids”. Is that really a big enough pool to justify these percentages of all students in America (a quick Google search showed there were approx. 26 million children in grade 6-12 the US in 06-07)?

Yes, I well remember those times being left overnight and being up to no good. It’s almost harder when your kids are old enough to stay by themselves overnight but you can’t trust them (and by “them”, I mean ANY of them!! They’re teenagers and it’s too big of a temptation!) We have him spend the night with a friend, call the parents to let them know we are out of town and pay someone to come over and feed the dogs. The boy is old enough to stay home by himself and take care of the dogs so we don’t have to pay anyone BUT we’re simply not that naive.

Techmom

August 27th, 2012
10:33 am

Mayhem – apparently none of your children have ADD/ADHD

jarvis

August 27th, 2012
10:45 am

Mayhem is funny…..like a clown.

Poppy grows naturally. Is Opium not a drug?

DebraB

August 27th, 2012
10:45 am

My child graduated from a large private school in north Atlanta a year ago. Although the students knew who was doing drugs (and occassionally students did report classmates), with the mandatory and surprise drug-testing, no student escaped for long. The school was very strict, not only with drugs but also alcohol, and depending on the “caught” student’s history, were either suspended, with zeros in all grades until end of suspension, or permanently expelled. Note that tuition was NOT reimbursed in this case and tuition was paid before school year even started.

jarvis

August 27th, 2012
10:46 am

Togo article on frontpage is very funny.

Voice of Reason

August 27th, 2012
10:50 am

I think maybe we should discuss the fact that every kid I have ever encountered that was home schooled was a socially awkward outcast.

Where is the study on that?

I don’t make up the stereotypes, but I can sure point them out when I see them.

jarvis

August 27th, 2012
10:59 am

Let’s start with the basics VOR, how many kids are you talking about? I’ve not met many homeschooled kids. I coach baseball for little guys, and I don’t think that I’ve met any.

I did have a family down the street from me as a kid, and they were bass ackwards, but samples from the 1980’s should be left out of our current discussion.

Secondly, “outcasts” is so passe’. Let’s go with “mouth breathers”.

Voice of Reason

August 27th, 2012
11:06 am

Commentor posting as me at 10:50 am was not me.

Whatever blows your hair back as far as homeschooling is concerned.

Mayhem, on the other hand, is an idiot.

oneofeach4me

August 27th, 2012
11:07 am

One thing I tell my kids on a regular basis, if I don’t give you the pill (or medicine), then do NOT take it because you don’t know what you are taking and you could die. My daughter is uncomfortable with just the though of death and HATES throwing up so I try to use those as incentives to NOT do or try drugs. My son is only 6 so I really only pass on the “medicine” thing to him. However, I do know that I can do my best, and yet they still may try them.

@FCM & Homeschooler ~ I personally know more adults who did NOT become addicts that were on Ritalin or Adderall at an early age due to ADD/ADHD diagnosis than those who were/are ADD/ADHD and remained untreated. Homeschooler hit it right on the head, those who were not being properly medicated, began to self medicate.

mark

August 27th, 2012
11:08 am

Does this mean we lost the War on Drugs? Seventy years of fighting, incarcerating, arresting, peeing in cups has been a complete waste of time and money? We may have to re think our battle plan.

Voice of Reason

August 27th, 2012
11:11 am

@jarvis

The only homeschooled kids I’ve ever really seen are the ones on that Dugger show. Now they are socially awkward.

Trying to have a conversation with one of the Dugger children throwing in pop-culture references would be a exercise in futility for me.

oneofeach4me

August 27th, 2012
11:16 am

Oh, and side note, I am SO tired of people saying that ADD/ADHD is a made up disease. I guess Bi-polar, Schizophrenia, Multiple Personality Disorder, Aspergers, depression and any mind related disorder is fake. People, get with it. The brain is PART of the body, however it has more to do with chemical imbalances and neuron firings and so on. Therefore, sometimes it requires medication or at the very least cognitive and behavioral therapy to fix it’s issue. Just like we learn to walk, some people have to be taught how to make better choices. Just like some people need insulin to control their sugar, some people need medication to control their attention span and moods. Stop passing judgement like you KNOW IT ALL.

Voice of Reason

August 27th, 2012
11:21 am

@oneofeach4me

You said it….

Ignorant people can call it what they want. If they have never had to personally deal with it then they have no idea what it is like.

FCM

August 27th, 2012
11:45 am

@ one of Each I think you misunderstood me I was saying they are LESS likely to do drugs if they were on Adderall, Concerta or something. I have 2 children on those.

oneofeach4me

August 27th, 2012
11:54 am

@FCM ~ no I knew what you were saying, I was just backing up your statement ;-)

homeschooler

August 27th, 2012
12:15 pm

I love the Duggars. Personally I’d rather my children have strong family values and work ethic than know anything about “pop-culture”. I bet a conversation with any of the Duggar children would be more stimulating that a conversation with the average American kid.
And I wasn’t the one who brought up homeschooling but I’d love to see a study on how many home schooled children end up with drug problems. Not saying they are immune but I bet statistically the rates are much, much lower than any other group. And I’d bet that it would have less to do with not being in school and more to to with close relationships with parents. Again, I think closeness of family and active, involved parenting is your best hope for keeping your kids away from drugs. That and hard facts. I always fill my kids up with facts. I’ve found that my kids as well as my teen nieces and nephews care a lot more about facts and a lot less about opinions. Facts give kids confidence to push against peer influences and do their own thing.

Trolls Bane

August 27th, 2012
12:52 pm

I have a solution …

1. Mandatory drug testing in school starting in 6th grade
2. Parents, buy and use drug tests at home … surprise drug test. One positive test … lose all after school activities and priviliges
3. Child’s room & posessions including car, subject to search at all times
4. Limited or no un-supervised activities … a responsble adult is always present

jarvis

August 27th, 2012
1:10 pm

@homeschooler, I’d rather mine have both. They aren’t mutually exclusive.

homeschooler

August 27th, 2012
2:15 pm

Agreed Jarvis but VOR was the one who seemed to think pop-culture was the important part of a conversation. If I were to pick what is important for a child to be able to converse about, pop culture would be very, very low on my list. My kids know who Justin Bieber is and all the songs he sings but if they had no idea who he was it wouldn’t bother me a single bit.

tlc

August 27th, 2012
2:28 pm

Homeschooler – but the Duggars kids don’t know who Bieber is or hardly anyone else for that matter. I agree with VOR that those kids are wayyy out of the loop. A strange, strange family IMO

FCM

August 27th, 2012
4:07 pm

Just do your best to expose your children to all the things you think are important. In my house we do not watch the Duggars or Kardashians etc…My kids do know who both families are if referenced in conversation. Mine know Vivaldi, Mozart, and Katy Perry.

I was actually dismayed the other day to learn that they had never seen the original Star Wars trilogy (ie the ones with Luke and Leia). Because I am a fan, they do get references, but had no idea Chewbacca is a Wookie. I did promise the younger child we would start watching over Labor Day weekend. She (like her Mom) is a Sci Fi fan. Older child rolled her eyes, but I may persuade her to accept the Force yet. :)

shaggy

August 27th, 2012
4:16 pm

Who are the Duggars and why does everyone here know so much about them?

FCM

August 27th, 2012
4:45 pm

@ shaggy…I told you in my post the Duggars are a family…Now, they have more kids than I have shoes. I think they have more kids than that Old Lady in the shoe! However, my understanding is that even before their TV series they were able to support all the kids without government aide.

homeschooler

August 27th, 2012
8:48 pm

Kind of funny that we all just determined that the Duggars are not familiar with pop culture , yet, in actuality they ARE pop culture. Just an observation.

shaggy

August 28th, 2012
7:01 am

Thanks FCM, so they are a large family that takes no aid from the government….an anomaly?

Billy

August 31st, 2012
8:08 pm

It is a shame that social media is instigating negative behaviors. It seems like we are kind of putting ourselves in a corner in a lot of respects. I got help getting clean and sober from a place called New Life House. Check out their site if you are looking for help. New Life House – A Structured Sober Living