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Drugs in Schools: Myths and Realities

NCJ Number
Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science Volume: 567 Issue: Special Issue Dated: January 2000 Pages: 72-87
Peter J. Venturelli
Alan W. Heston
Date Published
16 pages
Between 1996 and 1999, the use of licit and illicit drugs by young people increased, and this increase has led some to speculate about the extent to which drug use and abuse by young people is related to the recent wave of school violence.
The article discusses what is meant by drug use in schools, briefly describes the effects of the drugs most frequently used, and examines statistics on the extent of and trends in drug use by students. In the context of discussing some of the myths about drugs, the author explores the relationship between drug use and violence among young people and offers an explanation of why young people use drugs and what the response should be. The evidence presented in the article suggests drug prohibition has failed in the past, and the legal system continues to fail in eradicating drug use. Until individual drug users begin to perceive the personal need to stop using drugs, they will not be persuaded by familial, social, institutional, medical, legal, and governmental authorities. Therefore, it may be appropriate to promote an idea referred to as the "responsible diversity of consciousness" that is not based on legal sanctions and criminalization. 25 references, 4 notes, 2 tables, and 3 figures