Berkeley High Students are Often High

By Matt Baume
|  Wednesday, Nov 24, 2010  |  Updated 6:15 AM PDT
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Hang on to your hats: shockingly, it turns out that high school students enjoy drinking and smoking.

And those habits spike in Berkeley, a new study has found. Berkeley High students reported coming to class drunk at a rate twice that of other schools.

Observers have pointed to two causes for the culture of substance abuse in Berkeley: permissive parents and a lack of education on the subject.

About half of 11th graders reported being drunk in the past month. That's a worrisome statistic, especially since that number exceeds students' use of less harmful substances like marijuana. And when they do smoke pot, it's often in inappropriate settings, such as before school, rather than on their own time.

Berkeley school officials have reached out to parents, requesting their help in education students about the dangers of drinking. It's been a known problem for at least two years, when another survey found similar results. At that time, a panel was convened to address the issue. Clearly, they've done a fantastic job.

The school district has just begun a new anti-substance-abuse program. It costs $150 to train each teacher to discuss substance avoidance with their classes. Its remains to be seen whether the new program will be effective. After all, one of the best way to deter students from attending class high is to actually let them do it, and discover how unbearable school can be when you've got a buzz.

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