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The Correlation between Substance Abuse and School Performance

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “more than 6.5 million children in the United States, approximately 13% of all students, miss more than 15 days of school each year.” Unfortunately, increased absences contribute to a serious issue in our nation: chronic absenteeism, often defined as “missing 10% (or around 18 days) of the entire school year.” This issue cannot be taken lightly as it can lead to a lot of destructive behaviors.


An article by Brittany A. Bugbee, MPH, examined the correlation between substance use and academics. Studies have found that marijuana use is associated not only with skipping school or dropping out, but also lower grades; the article mentioned how “individuals who used marijuana fewer than ten times per year throughout adolescence had lower levels of educational attainment at age 29 compared with those who never used marijuana.” Other substances have similar effects as well, impeding a student’s ability to make decisions and retain information; as a result, this affects school performance.


Ultimately, it is imperative that schools and communities across the world continue to fight against the substances that plague students in school. Whether it is making posters, inviting guest speakers, or hosting a hands-on event, every action contributes to making our homes and schools safer and more conducive to learning. For more information on what you can do to make your community drug-free, visit sadd.org/resources! Stay safe, SADD Nation!


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