From a July 2 statement of the American Council for Drug Education:

A new survey from pollster Louis Harris concluded that the American family is a healthy institution, with a reduced divorce rate, strong bonds between children and parents and general optimism about family life. But there is a worm in the apple. The poll found that nearly nine in 10 parents -- a phenomenal percentage -- are worried about their children's use of illicit drugs and alcohol. They have reason to worry.

In the high school graduating class of 1986, nearly one in four students admitted they were current users of marijuana, and well over half (65.3 percent) admitted to current alcohol use. As early as fourth grade, fully one in four children say they feel some to a lot of pressure to try marijuana. The consequences of drug and alcohol use -- accidents, illnesses, suicides and homicides -- are more likely than anything else to snatch children away before they reach adulthood.

Parents must do more than worry, however. They must transform their concern into action and work to "drug proof" their children. Virtually every child in this country will have to decide, again and again, whether or not to use drugs and alcohol. How well they make these decisions is, to a considerable extent, a reflection of how well their parents have armed them with the facts and built strong values. Parents must teach, supervise and be positive role models for their children. And they must begin early.

Just as they teach even very young children to avoid other health hazards. . . so parents must begin early to instill in their children reasons to avoid drugs and alcoho