Drug Abuse by Youth Gangs in Schools
One of the scariest things for parents is that their children might use alcohol or drugs. Some parents want to believe their children have never tried drugs and won’t ever develop a drug problem. But the alarming truth is children are being exposed to drugs even at young ages, even at school. According to a 2010 survey by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, more than a quarter of public middle and high school students say both gangs and drugs are present at their campuses.
Facts About Drug Abuse and Youth Gangs in School:
Children are pressured to use drugs:
- One in four children in 4th grade say there is peer pressure to use marijuana.
- Almost half of 6th graders report peer pressure to drink alcohol.
- Almost half of 4th, 5th, and 6th graders say they feel pressured to smoke cigarettes.
- One in four children in 4th, 5th, and 6th grades feels pressured to use crack/cocaine.
Children use drugs to fit in:
- Four in 10 children in 4th, 5th, and 6th grades say they would begin using alcohol to fit in and feel older.
- Four in 10 children in 4th, 5th, and 6th grades say they would use crack/cocaine to fit in and feel older.
Some children already use drugs:
- 2% of all 12th graders get high on marijuana every day.
- 13% of 8th graders and 30% of seniors had binged on alcohol (consumed five or more drinks in a row) in the two weeks just before the survey.
Drugs are available to children:
- A recent study revealed that half of 11th and 12th graders said it would be easy to buy drugs at school.
- 80% of all 12th graders say it would be easy to get marijuana.
Studies show that the younger a child is when he or she first uses alcohol, marijuana, or cigarettes, the more likely it is the child will have some type of drug abuse problem later in life.
(More information from August 2000 Juvenile Justice Bulletin “Youth Gangs in Schools”).
Gangs are very prevalent in schools:
- More than one-third (37%) of the students surveyed in the 1995 School Crime Supplements (SCS) reported the presence of gangs in their schools.
- Most gangs that students see at school are actively involved in criminal activity, with two-thirds involved in one or more of the following types of criminal acts: violence, drug sales, and carrying guns.
- The most criminally active gangs were reported by 15 to 17-year-old students of either gender.
As the above data illustrates, the problem of youth gangs in schools demands our attention. The Bulletin concludes that existing school security measures are not sufficient; additional interventions are needed to combat gangs in schools.
Findings of the 1996 National Youth Gang Survey, conducted by the National Youth Gang Center, which updates and expands the 1995 survey, shows results that are based on a sample of more than 3,000 law enforcement agencies and are nationally representative.
The survey results indicate that the youth gang problem is substantial and affects communities of all types. An estimated 30,818 gangs, with 846,428 members, were active in 4,824 jurisdictions during 1996. The report provides analysis and statistics on number, types, and locations of gangs; member demographics (age, sex, and race/ethnicity); and gang involvement in crime and drugs.
Drug Abuse by Youth Gangs in Schools
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