Twenty-seven percent of public school students ages 12 to 17 say that their school is both gang- and drug-infected (drugs are used, kept or sold on school grounds), says a new survey by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University. This means that 5.7 million public school students attend schools which are both gang- and drug-infected. Compared with teens attending gang- and drug-free schools, teens who attend schools infected with both gangs and drugs are five times likelier to use marijuana, three times likelier to drink, and 12 times likelier to smoke.
The survey found that 46 percent of teens at public schools report that there are gangs in their school, compared to two percent of teens at private and religious schools. One in three middle schoolers say that drugs are used, kept or sold at their school, a 39 percent increase since last year (32 percent in 2010 vs. 23 percent in 2009). Compared with 12- and 13-year olds in drug-free schools, those in drug-infected schools are seven times likelier to have a friend or classmate who uses illegal drugs like acid, ecstasy, methamphetamine, cocaine, or heroin, and five times likelier to know a friend or classmate who abuses prescription drugs. Some 24 percent of 12- and 13-year olds in drug-infected schools can get marijuana in a day or less.