This makes sense from a practical standpoint because schools offer efficient access to large numbers of youth during the years that they typically begin to use drugs and alcohol.Since the 1970s several approaches to drug and alcohol abuse education and prevention have been implemented in school settings.Traditionally, drug and alcohol abuse education has involved the dissemination of information on drug abuse and the negative health, social, and legal consequences of abuse.

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However, use of the drug ecstasy (MDMA) has seen a sharp increase among American teenagers at the end of the twentieth century, from 6 percent in 1996 up to 11 percent reporting having tried ecstasy in 2000.

Indeed, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, ecstasy was used by more American teenagers than cocaine.

Many educators recognize that drug and alcohol abuse among students are significant barriers to the achievement of educational objectives.

Furthermore, federal and state agencies and local school districts frequently mandate that schools provide health education classes to students, including content on drug and alcohol abuse.

The Safe and Drug-Free Schools Program is a comprehensive federal initiative funded by the U. Department of Education, which is designed to strengthen programs that prevent the use of alcohol, tobacco, drugs, and violence in and around the nation's schools.

In order to receive federal funding under this program, school districts are expected to develop a comprehensive education and prevention plan, which involves students, teachers, parents, and other members of the community.

Thus it is clear that schools have become the major focus of drug and alcohol abuse education and prevention activities for youth.

Drug and alcohol abuse are important problems that affect school-age youth at earlier ages than in the past.

Young people frequently begin to experiment with alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs during the middle school years, with a smaller number starting during elementary school.