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Conference Focuses on Drug-Free Schools

March 02, 2000

SIMI VALLEY — One day after a state report showed that students continue to use and sell drugs in California public schools, a panel of educators met at the Reagan Library on Wednesday to brainstorm ways to make campuses drug-free.

The suggestions weren't new. Drug tests. Locker searches. After-school activities. Parental involvement.

But the urgency was. No longer are teenagers just smoking cigarettes and marijuana. They are increasingly experimenting with--and becoming addicted to--crack, speed and heroin. They're dropping out of school, getting pregnant or committing suicide.

The panel kicked off a three-day conference titled "Substance Abuse in the 21st Century: Positioning the Nation for Progress." The seminar was hosted by the Reagan Library and the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University.

Doctors, police officers, clergy, academics, lobbyists, treatment providers and tobacco company executives from all over the nation were invited to attend the Simi Valley meeting, which was moderated by Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC's "Hardball."

Panelists included a New Orleans school principal, the head of Chicago's public schools, a Cincinnati teacher and the head of a national scholarship fund. The panelists shared experiences on what works, and doesn't work, to keep drugs off campuses.

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