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More Kids Trying Drugs, Survey Finds

Acceptance of drugs is trickling down to elementary school, with several hundred thousand more children aged 9 to 12 reporting they tried illegal drugs, especially marijuana, last year, a new survey shows.

While preteen drug use remains small, 4 percent of 9- to 12-year-olds - 460,000 - said they tried marijuana last year, up from 2 percent in 1995, according to a study released Tuesday by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America.

The survey also found that kids in the fourth, fifth and sixth grades were growing more tolerant toward drug use, and getting less information about the dangers of drugs than in years past.

“These findings are deeply disturbing, especially when you consider the age of these children,” Richard D. Bonnette, president of Partnership for a Drug-Free America, said at a news conference.

To fight the problem, the partnership, a nonprofit advertising coalition, announced a national media campaign. With the motto “silence is acceptance,” the blitz will urge parents to talk to their kids about drugs.

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