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Another reason to consider implementing a student random drug-testing program:

"The foundation for later substance use is set for most people by the time they finish high school," Alicia C. Merline, MA, “Substance use is still common at age 35, U-M study finds,” University of Michigan News Service, 05 Jan 2004.

Using data on respondents to the Monitoring the Future survey who graduated high school between 1977 and 1983, University of Michigan researchers randomly selected graduates from this group to participate in follow-up surveys every two years. What they found in this follow-up study was that substance use was surprisingly prevalent at the start of mid-life and that there was a high level of stability of substance use over the 18-year time period by those who had used drugs or drank heavily by their senior year in high school.

Summary of findings:
–Those using marijuana by their senior year were 8 times more likely to use it at age 35 than those who had not tried it by the 12th grade.
–Those using any illicit drug other than marijuana by their senior year were 5 times more likely to use cocaine and 3 times more likely to misuse prescription drugs at age 35 compared to students who had not used any illicit drug by their senior year.
–Those who drank heavily were 3 times more likely to drink heavily at 35 years of age compared to those who did not drink heavily as high school seniors.
Source: Alicia C. Merline, MA, et al., “Substance Use Among Adults 35 Years of Age: Prevalence, Adulthood Predictors, and Impact of Adolescent Substance Use,” January 2004, Vol 94, No. 1, American Journal of Public Health, 96-102.
To read the full study: http://www.ajph.org/content/vol94/issue1/

Shoveling Up: The Impact of Substance Abuse On State Budgets, by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA), 2001.

Description: Although this three-year study was published seven years ago, it remains a significant contribution to our knowledge of the costs of substance abuse as it is the first and only report to analyze the impact of all substance abuse on individual state budgets. CASA extensively surveyed individual states, examined programs designed to prevent and treat substance abuse or deal with consequences of substance abuse and interviewed state budget and program officials. The report focused on 16 areas of state spending including criminal and juvenile justice, transportation, health care, education, child welfare and welfare.
Link to full report:  http://www.rwjf.org/pr/product.jsp?id=14210

What do the majority of adults in the United States think about student drug testing?

When asked "Do you think school districts should or should not be allowed to test public school students for illegal drugs before those students can participate in non-athletic activities?", it was found that the majority of those polled (1,020 adults nationwide) SUPPORT student drug testing.

70% of adults responding said they thought student drug testing should be allowed.

29% responded that student drug testing should not be allowed

1% had no opinion on student drug testing

Source: CNN/USA Today Gallup Poll (June 21-23, 2002)


National Youth Surveys

New report from CADCA:
A new two-page report from CADCA documents the evidence of the link between drug use and violence.  The report is titled: The Inextricable Link: The Relationship Between Alcohol, Drug Use and Violence Among Students and may be found at: http://cadca.org/CoalitionResources/PP-documents/TheInextricableLink.pdf

Results of the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University’s (CASA) twelfth annual National Survey of American Attitudes on Substance Abuse are, in CASA’s word “unprecedented.” The most recent survey reveals “. . . that the corridors and classrooms of our nation’s middle and high schools are so infested with drugs that for many students school days have become school daze. Parents should wake up to the reality that their children are going each day to schools where drug use, possession and sale are as much a part of the curriculum as arithmetic and English.”—Joseph A. Califano, Jr., Chairman and President

Highlights of the 2007 CASA annual survey:
Eighty percent of America’s high school students (11 million teens) and 44 percent of America’s middle school students (five million teens) have personally witnessed on the grounds of their drug-infested schools:
• illegal drug use
• illegal drug dealing
• illegal drug possession
• students drunk
• students high on drugs

To review the full report: August 2007 National Survey of American Attitudes on Substance Abuse XII: Teens and Parents

CASA’s scathing indictment of the current drug situation in our nation’s schools has sounded the alarm. Parents and school administrators should heed the report as a call to action to take whatever steps are necessary to stop this trend of accepting drug use as the norm. “Drug-infested schools” should be an unacceptable reality to all who care about the health, education and welfare of U.S. children.

The members of the Student Drug-Testing Coalition applaud Mr. Califano for the following statement made in the CASA report: “Those responsible for this appalling situation should be held politically and legally responsible, in state and local elections and in the courts, for the damage that is being done to children forced to attend drug-infested schools.”

Parents and educators need to know if their elected representatives are among those supporting pro-drug issues such as legalizing and promoting marijuana as a medicine. Such support tells young people that, not only is marijuana a harmless drug, but that it is illicit without a basis in fact. Concluding, therefore, that all the anti-drug messages from parents and educators and school prevention programs should not be considered credible if marijuana is considered a medicine. You must challenge the local and national media when it is supportive of a pro-drug/pro-legalization messages. Do not let pro-drug advocates such as the ACLU, the Drug Policy Alliance, the Marijuana Policy Project, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws et. al. tell your communities and schools what is best for your children or dictate what school prevention programs will be implemented.

Monitoring the Future Study

According to a recent report from PRIDE surveys, parents dramatically underestimate alcohol and drug use by adolescents as young as 11 years of age.

Sixth-graders reporting use                                     Parents saying sixth-grader uses

21%  reported alcohol use                                           5% said there was alcohol use

8.3% reported drug use                                               0.9% said there was drug use

Twelfth-graders reporting use                                 Parents saying twelfth-grader uses

 68% report alcohol use                                              41% said there was alcohol use

 36% report drug use                                                  15% said there was drug use

Source: Pride Surveys National Summary for Grades 6-12, 2004-05  www.pridesurveys.com

Student Drug-Testing Programs: The Facts and the Need

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Statistics and Data on drug use

Teens driving drugged—and it is not from alcohol

Maybe your teen does not use drugs, but many other teens are drug users.

Can you be so certain that the teen drivers your child rides with are not drug users?

Can school administrations be certain that those with parking privileges are not driving on school property while under the influence of a drug—either illicit drugs or alcohol?

Findings from the Pride Survey National Summary 2006 suggest that illicit drugs may be more
prevalent than alcohol in teenage impaired driving.
The data showed that nearly 14 percent of
12th grade students say they use illicit drugs in cars—more than say they use alcohol in cars.

10th and 11th grade students also showed similar responses. The survey did not ask if the drug user was the driver.

Data summary on 12th grade student drug use while in cars:
–10.1 percent used alcohol
–12.9 percent used marijuana
–13.6 percent used any illicit drug

Concerned parents and school administrators can take steps to deter drug use among teen drivers. If your school has a student random drug-testing program, propose expanding
the program eligibility to cover students with parking permits or privileges. If your school does not have a random testing program, consider starting one. It is a proven deterrent to drug use—and who knows, maybe the life you save will be that of your own teen.

Source of data: PRIDE Surveys newsletter January 16, 2007

Drug Use and Academic Performance

Studies affirm drug use leads to poor academic performance
Research on student drug use and academic performance continues to support a relationship between poor academic performance and drug use (this includes alcohol use). The most recent study using data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2002-2004 continues to affirm this relationship. 
Researchers found that the frequency of the use of alcohol and marijuana during the past month was related to academic performance. Of students reporting an A or B average:
-72.2% were students who did not use marijuana in the past month as compared with 58% of those who used marijuana on 1 to 4 days in the past month and 44.9% of those who used marijuana on 5 or more days during the past month.
-72.5% were students who did not use alcohol during the past month as compared with 67.1% of those who used (but did not binge on) alcohol in the past month and 57.7% of those who engaged in past month binge alcohol use.
Source:  U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, National Survey on Drug Use and Health,  Academic Performance and Substance Use among Students Aged 12 to 17: 2002, 2003, and 2004." The NSDUH Report, Issue 18, May 2006.

PRIDE Survey data finds adolescent substance use correlates with academic achievement

According to data analysis of the PRIDE Surveys National Summary 2005/2006, academic performance of students surveyed showed a correlation between student drug use and academic achievement. High percentages of students using marijuana and/or alcohol on a monthly basis were shown to rarely make good grades.

Summary of data analysis:
–38% of students who rarely make good grades were also monthly marijuana users
–Only 7% of students claiming monthly marijuana use frequently made good grades
–49% of students who used alcohol monthly had poor grade performance
–Only 18% of students claiming monthly alcohol use were academic achievers
–Students with low academic performance also were shown to disproportionately represent those students reporting truancy, discipline problems, gang membership and bullying

Source: PRIDE Newsletter, November 16, 2006

The Science on Drug Use

MRI Brain Scans Show Effects of Marijuana Abuse, by Dr. Yurgelun-Todd. at McLean Hospital, Harvard

Brain SPECT images: on users of marijuana, heroin, methadone, cocaine, methamphetamine and alcohol demonstrate a number of abnormalities in substance abusers' brain areas known to be involved in behavior, such as the frontal and temporal lobes. Dr. Amen has found that the most common similarity among drug and alcohol abusers is that the brain has an overall toxic look to it. In general, the SPECT studies look less active, more shriveled, and overall less healthy. A "scalloping effect" is common amongst drug abusing brains. Normal brain patterns show smooth activity across the cortical surface. Scalloping is a wavy, rough sea-like look on the brain's surface. This pattern is also seen in patients who have been exposed to toxic fumes or oxygen deprivation. To see the images, click here:

Source: Amen,Daniel G., MD, Images of Human Behavior: A Brain Spect Atlas, Chapter 15: Images of alcohol and drug abuse. Images by kind permission of Dr. Amen, psychiatrist, brain imaging specialist and medical director of Amen Clinics, Inc. Dr. Amen is also Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine and a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. He is a nationally recognized expert in the fields of the brain and behavior and brain imaging. The full Atlas may be found at http://amenclinics.com/bp/atlas/

Virtual Tour of the Teen Brain: to learn how marijuana impairs, and even changes, the functionality of the centers responsible for maintaining overall mental health. http://www.theantidrug.com/drug_info/mjmh_virtual_tour.asp

PET scans of the brain on marijuana: (Image courtesy of Brookhaven National Laboratory Center for Imaging and Neurosciences, Behavioral, Pharmacology & Neuroimaging Lab, Upton, New York. http://www.bnl.gov/thanoslab/)
PET scans show long-term changes
in glucose-metabolism in the brain
of a marijuana abuser compared to
that of a normal brain.


PET scan of the brain on cocaine (image courtesy of the National Institute on Drug Abuse)

PET scan shows how the use of cocaine
interferes with glucose-metabolism
in the brain. The red color shows the
highest level of glucose utilization as seen
for the normal brain on the left. Yellow
represents less utilization and blue the least
utilization. Glucose provides energy to
neurons and when those neurons cannot
use glucose, many brain functions will be