Drug Education:

Rural Programs Have Many Components and Most Rely Heavily on Federal Funds

HRD-92-34: Published: Jan 31, 1992. Publicly Released: Jan 31, 1992.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on drug education and prevention programs in rural school districts, focusing on the: (1) extent of the drug problem among rural students; (2) types of programs rural districts provide; and (3) extent to which Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Program grants fund those programs.

GAO found that: (1) in 1990, the National Institute on Drug Abuse surveyed high school seniors about the use of 20 drugs and found that the percentage of rural students reporting use of those drugs was similar to nonrural students; (2) alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana were the three most prevalent drugs in rural, urban, and suburban areas; (3) in the 30-day period before being surveyed, the percentage of rural students using those drugs was 54.4 percent for alcohol, 30.4 percent for cigarettes, and 12.6 percent for marijuana, rates similar to those of urban and suburban students; (4) although alcohol was the drug of choice among students, parents generally expressed concern about students' use of such drugs as cocaine; (5) most rural school districts have implemented some multifaceted program to combat the student drug problem, and 99 percent of all rural districts have at least three types of drug education components for students; (6) 9 of every 10 rural districts included components for teachers, parents, and others in the community; (7) 86 percent of rural school districts received federal Drug-Free Schools funds for school year 1990-91, and those funds paid for between 2 and 100 percent of the total drug education programs implemented in each rural district; and (8) nearly all rural districts' drug education programs used funds from the state, other federal grants, private organizations or groups, or other public funds, to pay for drug education and prevention programs.