Across the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area, especially in the suburbs, as many as 80 percent of teens have reported that alcohol and illegal drug use is a problem at their school, says the Minneapolis Star Tribune. As many as one-third say they’ve been sold, given, or offered drugs at school in the past year. “I’m not surprised, because I work with it. Am I disappointed? Yes. But not surprised,” said Judy Hanson, chemical health coordinator at Wayzata High School.
Why, after years of drug awareness education and incessant warnings against teenage drinking, do teens say that substance abuse is so out of hand? In a word, invincibility, say those who work with teens. Kids think this stuff really won’t hurt them. “Frankly, I see shifts in attitudes,” Hanson said. “The perception is that marijuana isn’t harmful. And there are some very casual attitudes about drinking.” In a survey given to sixth-, ninth- and 12th-graders across the state last spring, of one high school’s 12th graders, a whopping 84 percent of boys and 88 percent of girls agreed that drug and alcohol abuse is a problem at their school.