David W. Craig, professor of chemistry, had a letter to the editor published in the June 17 Canandaigua Daily Messenger, titled “Drugs, alcohol less common than kids think”. Craig wrote to challenge the headline for a front-page story by Sarah Allen, “Kids do what they want” (Daily Messenger, June 11). He wrote, “I recently completed a study of more than 8,000 middle and high school students from 28 schools across the nation and found very consistently that an overwhelming majority of kids actually have very healthy attitudes about alcohol, tobacco and other drug use but that they don't always act in accordance with those values. What they do not have is an accurate perception of what their peers think and do about substance use. Across this nation young people uniformly believe that their peers are much more heavily involved in substance use than is actually the case. Moreover, they also believe that their peers are much more tolerant of negative consequences than is actually the case.”
Craig is the director with H. Wesley Perkins (professor of sociology) of the Alcohol Education Project. Results of social norms studies they have done are published in the book “The Social Norms Approach to Preventing School and College Age Substance Abuse Prevention,” edited by H. Wesley Perkins.