HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Parents Called The Key To Kids Avoiding Drugs
Pubdate: Sat, 24 Feb 2001
Source: Chicago Tribune (IL)
Copyright: 2001 Chicago Tribune Company
Contact:  435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611-4066
Author: Terry L. Dean


WASHINGTON -- Children who live with attentive parents stand a better 
chance of never using drugs than do those with "hands-off" parents, 
survey findings showed Wednesday.

However, there were troubling signs regarding the availability of 
some drugs to the nation's teens, warned Joseph Califano, president 
of the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse.

More than 1,000 youngsters ages 12 to 17 were surveyed for the 
center's sixth annual report on attitudes of U.S. teens on drug use, 
peer pressure and parental involvement. Califano announced the 
results jointly with the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

The survey asked teens about the use of drugs such as heroin and 
cocaine, cigarettes, marijuana and Ecstasy.

Of the teens surveyed, 47 percent with "hands-on" parents said they 
would be less likely to use drugs. Such parents frequently monitor 
their children's television viewing and Internet use, and know what 
music they listen to and where they are after school and on weekends, 
according to the survey.

"The loud and clear message of the survey is that moms and dads 
should be parents to their children," said Califano, former U.S. 
Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, the department now called 
Health and Human Services.

Nearly 1 in 5 teens surveyed, 18 percent, said they lived with 
"hands-off" parents, who failed to closely monitor them.

Califano said parents who are engaged in their children's lives 
offered the greatest deterrent to kids using drugs.

"It is the family that will have the greatest impact on this 
problem," he said. "This problem is going to be solved across the 
kitchen table."

The number of teens who said they would never use drugs dropped from 
60 percent in 1999 to 51 percent this year.

Califano called the plunge "a warning sign of trouble ahead."

This year's study included for the first time questions about the 
illegal party drug Ecstasy. It was added because of the drug's 
increased popularity, Califano said.

Ten percent said they have been to a rave, a type of dance party 
where Ecstasy is often bought, sold and consumed. The teens said the 
drug was available at 70 percent of raves.

In the survey, 26 percent of the teens said drugs were their biggest 
concern, compared with social pressures and crime and violence. That 
is up slightly from 1999. Those surveyed also said it was slightly 
easier to buy marijuana than cigarettes, and 44 percent of the teens 
said they knew someone who used drugs, compared to 48 percent in 1999.

Brent Coles, mayor of Boise, Idaho, and president of the U.S. 
Conference of Mayors, said it has become increasingly difficult to 
teach children to walk drug-free in a drug-filled world.

"The majority of our youth do the right thing," he said. "The measure 
of our success in the drug war must come from the number of families 
and neighborhoods that are drug-free."
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