Two separate reports released by the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services (HHS) offer some positive news in the quest for safe and drug-free schools. “Juvenile Arrests 1999” provides a summary and analysis of national and state juvenile arrest data reported by the FBI. Overall, the juvenile arrest rate for violent crime dropped 36 percent from 1994 to 1999. Moreover, from 1993 to 1999, the juvenile arrest rate for murder decreased 68 percent (to its lowest level since the 1960s) and the number of arrests has declined in every violent crime category despite an eight percent growth in the juvenile population from 1993 to 1999.

Meanwhile, HHS’s 26th annual “Monitoring the Future Survey” found that illicit drug use remained unchanged in 2000—the fourth year in a row that the use of any drugs among teenagers has stayed level or declined in all categories (lifetime, past year, and past month use)—and that cigarette use among teens dropped significantly. However, the use of ecstasy increased for the second straight year and heroin use among high school seniors is at a record high.