Pubdate: Sat, 24 Feb 2001
Source: USA Today (US)
Copyright: 2001 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc
Contact:  1000 Wilson Blvd., Arlington VA 22229
Fax: (703) 247-3108
Author: Robert Davis


Parents who are more ''hands-on'' with their kids -- setting limits on 
everything from where their kids go at night to what they are exposed to on 
the Internet, TV and in music CDs -- raise children who are less likely to 
use drugs, says a survey released Wednesday.

The sixth annual teen survey by the National Center on Addiction and 
Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University finds that ''hands-off'' 
parents double the risk that their teens will smoke, drink alcohol or use 
illegal drugs.

''As much as they may complain about the rules their parents set, teens see 
that and feel that and sense that as caring and love,'' says CASA president 
Joseph Califano. ''This shows the parent's power as a preemptive tool.''

The survey finds more reasons for parents to increase their efforts. Teens 
say that cigarettes are now more difficult to buy, but marijuana is easier 
to get. And the percentage of teens who say they will never use drugs was 
51% in November, down from 60% in 1999.

''Ecstasy is a big factor,'' Califano says. ''Twenty-eight percent know 
someone who uses it.''

Among the other findings:

* 61% of children ages 12 to 17 at moderate or high risk of substance abuse.

* More than 60% of high school teens say drugs are in their school.

* 31% said ''drugs can ruin your life and cause harm''; 17% ''feel peer 
pressure to use drugs''; 2% were concerned about illegality.

The survey was conducted between Oct. 20 and Nov. 5, 2000, and included 
1,000 teens, ages 12 to 17. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.1 
percentage points.

Teens who think their parents would ''not be too upset'' if they smoked 
marijuana are more than three times at risk than those who think their 
parents would be ''extremely upset.''

For the survey, a ''hands-on'' household was defined as one in which 
parents took 10 or more of 12 actions ranging from monitoring what their 
teens watched on TV to knowing where their teens are after school and on 

The survey found that teens with ''hands-on'' parents were more likely to 
report an excellent relationship with their parents.

''Hands-off'' parents consistently fail to set rules and monitor their 
teen's behavior. When parents did not know their teen's whereabouts after 
school or on the weekend, the teen was at twice the risk of using drugs, 
the survey found.

''We're going to deal with the substance-abuse problem in this country in 
the living room, across the kitchen table, across the pew and in the 
schoolroom more than any other place,'' says Califano, a former U.S. 
secretary of Health, Education and Welfare during the Carter administration.

''Moms and dads should be parents to their children, not pals,'' he says. 
''They can counter negative media influences and the prevalence of 
marijuana and other drugs in a teen's world.''
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