Survey: Nation’s Public Schools Infected with Drugs and Gangs

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
Staff Journalist

The latest survey of the nation’s public schools has found that more 5.7 million American youth are now attending schools that are considered to be drug and gang dominated.

The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University is reporting that their latest survey has found that 27 percent of public school students aged 12 to 17 are attending schools that are both gang and drug-infected,  with as many as 50 percent reporting the presence of drugs in their schools.

The survey also found an alarming one-in-three middle-schoolers who said drugs are used, kept or sold at their school, which is an increase of 39 percent from just last year.

Sixty-six percent of high schoolers said their schools were drug infested, up from 51 percent in 2006. 

This situation is having a negative impact on our young people. The CASA survey compared teens attending gang and drug-free schools to those who attended schools infected with gangs and drugs and found that those youth who attended schools with drug and gang problems are five times more likely to smoke pot, three times more likely to drink and twelve times more likely to smoke cigarettes.

“The combination of gangs and drugs in a school is a malignant cancer that must be eliminated if we are to be able to improve public education in our nation,” said Joseph A. Califano, Jr., CASA Founder and Chairman and former U.S. Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare.

“This steady increase in the number of 12- to 17-year olds attending drug-infected schools is a trajectory to tragedy for millions of children and families,” he said. “Placing our youngest teens and pre-teens in an environment where drinking and drugging are common is child abuse by states and localities that are obliged to keep their schools drug free.”

It is interesting to note that the survey also found a vast difference between public schools and private and religious schools when it comes to gangs. Forty-six percent of teens at public schools report the presence of gangs in their schools compared to only two percent of teens at private and religious schools.

As far as drugs are concerned, private and religious schools also fare much better. Ten years ago, a CASA survey found 62 percent of public school students and 79 percent of private and religious school students who said they attended drug-free schools. In this year’s survey, 43 percent of public school students and 78 percent of private school students said they attended drug-free schools, which resulted in widening the drug-free-school gap from 17 points to 35 points.

© All Rights Reserved, Living His Life Abundantly®/Women of Grace®

Comments are closed.