- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 6, 2001

Teen-age drug, alcohol and tobacco use should be recognized as more than a benign rite of passage and something students "will get over," according to a new report on youth substance abuse released yesterday.
Among the nation's youths ages 12 to 17, an estimated 13.2 million turn to drinking, smoking and drug use each year.
By the time many of those students reach their senior year in high school, their youthful experimentation has become a habit with 86 percent still smoking cigarettes, 83 percent continuing to get drunk and 76 percent continuing to use marijuana, researchers at Columbia University's National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) said in a study.
While the percentage of teens who say drugs are used in schools is down from 1998, the number is still far too high, said Joseph A. Califano Jr., chairman and president of CASA.
Despite school programs devoted to substance abuse awareness and prevention, about 60 percent of the nation's high school students and 30 percent of middle-schoolers headed off to class this fall at campuses where illegal drug use is commonplace, he said.


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