Addressing school effects on drug use

Research shows that schools can be a major negative influence on students’ drug use. Adam Fletcher explains   

CHILDREN BORN DURING THE MID-1990s are highly connected, “digital natives” of Generation Z. They have grown up with MySpace and mobile phones, illegal downloads, and instant messaging. However, they are also growing up at a time when experimentation with drugs often begins during early adolescence and pathways into regular drug use have been normalized. As such, reducing the harms associated with drug use is a major public health concern.

What we know
● There is evidence of school effects on youth drug use.
● These are likely to occur because at some schools drug use is an important source of identity, bonding, and “escape.”
● Interventions which promote a positive school culture and reduce student disengagement would complement existing drug education interventions.
● Broader social policies relating to school targets and educational assessment may also influence rates of youth drug use.

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Published

June 2012