It is often believed by educators, counselors, and parents that children and adolescents are shielded from drugs and alcohol, in the private school sector. However, children and adolescents are part of a much larger society, of which private schooling is only a part. Furthermore, the face of private school is changing as students matriculate in with substance abuse and other legal concerns. These changing characteristics of private school and its students force us to look at substance abuse as an issue rather than an anomaly.

Some of the statistics associated with this topic are staggering. One such statistics put out by the Psychiatry Institute of Washington states that nearly 33 percent of seniors said they had taken at least one illicit drug during the preceding year. Another statistic found by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University states that 34 percent of teens surveyed say marijuana is easier to buy than both beer and cigarettes.

There is hope, though, because private education usually has educators, counselors, parents, and grandparents who display their love by becoming intricately involved in the lives of students. One major finding reports that those students who attend at least four religious services a month are at nearly half the risk of those who do not attend religious services. The class size in private school allows educators and counselor to be more aware of behavior and personality changes. The very nature of private school permits creativity in preventing outbreaks of substance abuse and addiction.

For more information and statistics pointing toward the prevalency of this epidemic amongst youth, signs that manifest themselves in children and adolescents, and prevention strategies to assist children and adolescents to overcome this struggle.

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