A national study of middle- and high school students calls U.S. schools “drug-infested,” even though the major studies used to gauge teen drug use show a decline, reports USA Today. The telephone survey for the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University asked 1,063 students ages 12 to 17 about illegal drugs at school and whether they ever witnessed students high or drunk. From 2002 to 2007, the percentage who said they attended schools where drugs were used, kept, or stored increased 12 percentage points to 31 percent in middle schools. Among high schools, the increase was from 44 to 61 percent. “We clearly have a drug culture in most of the country’s high schools and a significant proportion of the middle schools,” says center founder Joseph Califano.
Other data tell a less troublesome story. Large national studies last year by the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and Monitoring the Future at the University of Michigan both suggest drug use among teenagers is down.