Scholastic success can keep kids away from drugs

April 4th, 2011 - 4:19 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, April 4 (IANS) Children who did better at school were also less likely to use drugs and alcohol or steal or break into fights than their non-performing peers.

“Higher performance cut the rate of drug use and delinquency in schools kids by as much as 25 percent,” said Amy Tobler, research assistant professor of health outcomes at University of Florida College of Medicine.

The schools in question had high population of ethnic minorities and underprivileged children — factors often linked to lower achievement in schools, said Tobler, reports the journal Prevention Sciences.

“It could be good teaching, better administration, whatever these schools are doing, if we can replicate it, it will lead to not only academic achievement but improvement in healthy behaviors as well,” said Tobler, according to a Florida statement.

“Some schools can break that strong link between socio-demographic disadvantage and drug use and delinquency,” said Tobler, who led the study.

The researchers collected data in the schools from 2002 and 2005, following students in their sixth, seventh and eighth grade years.

Of the 61 schools, seven performed better than expected academically, a link that seemed to help keep kids in class and off drugs and alcohol, Tobler said.

“It is not surprising in a way. If you can get low-income kids to identify with a school, you get better kids at the end,” said David Berliner, professor emeritus of education at Arizona State University.

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