Teens Sex Activity Tied to Drink & Drugs (cont.)

Drug-Free Schools

For the first time in its history, the CASA teen survey examined the frequency of physical fighting and cheating at schools where drugs are used, kept or sold. At such schools, 62 percent of students report seeing physical fights on a monthly basis, and students estimate that 54 percent of the student body regularly cheats on homework and tests, compared to 42 percent and 40 percent, respectively, at drug-free schools.

"This year's survey underscores the importance of drug-free schools and the across-the-board dysfunctionality of schools where drugs are used, kept and sold," added Califano.

Parental Perceptions

Forty-four percent of parents believe that teens who abuse prescription drugs get them from their parents. Yet an overwhelming 71 percent of parents do not take any special precautions to protect prescription drugs in their homes.

Only 12 percent of parents think that a teen's number one concern is drugs, while 29 percent of teens report drugs as their biggest concern.

Other Key Findings:

  • Forty-five percent of teens attend parties where alcohol is available; 30 percent where marijuana is available; 10 percent where prescription drugs are available; and nine percent where cocaine or Ecstasy is available.
  • Drugs have rebounded as the number one concern of teens.
  • Twenty-one percent of 12 to 17 year-olds can buy marijuana in an hour or less; 40 percent can buy marijuana within a day.
  • Forty-five percent of teens have friends who regularly view and download pornography from the Internet; such teens are at increased risk of smoking, drinking or using illegal drugs.
  • Teens who attend religious services weekly are at less than half the risk of smoking, drinking or using illegal drugs as teens who do not attend such services.

"Parents, make sure you are aware of the dating practices of your child and get to know your child's friends," said Califano.

QEV Analytics conducted The National Survey of American Attitudes on Substance Abuse IX: Teen Dating Practices and Sexual Activity for CASA between April 16 and May 16, 2004. One thousand teens aged 12 through 17 and 500 parents were interviewed at home by telephone. All of the 500 parent interviews were conducted in a household where parents gave consent for their teen to be interviewed (even though the teen interview may not have been completed). Sampling error is +/- 3.1 percent for teens and +/- 4.4 percent for parents.

The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University is the only national organization that brings together under one roof all the professional disciplines needed to study and combat all types of substance abuse as they affect all aspects of society. CASA's missions are to: inform Americans of the economic and social costs of substance abuse and its impact on their lives; assess what works in prevention, treatment and law enforcement; encourage every individual and institution to take responsibility to combat substance abuse and addiction; provide those on the front lines with tools they need to succeed; and remove the stigma of substance abuse and replace shame and despair with hope.

With a staff of 74 professionals, CASA has conducted demonstration projects in 89 sites in 41 cities and 21 states focused on children, families and schools, and has been testing the effectiveness of drug and alcohol treatment, monitoring 15,000 individuals in more than 200 programs and five drug courts in 26 states. CASA is the creator of the nationwide Family Day initiative-The Fourth Monday in September-that promotes parental engagement as a simple and effective way to reduce children's risk of smoking, drinking and using illegal drugs.

Source: The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University press release, August 19, 2004

Last Editorial Review: 8/20/2004