A further 16,000 pupils were temporarily expelled for drug abuse, according to a survey of primary and secondary schools in England commissioned by the Standing Conference on Drug Abuse, the UK's main drugs charity.
Roger Howard, the charity's chief executive, said: 'We are concerned that manay schools are using expulsion as a first rather than a last resort...there are other ways of dealing with drug abuse in schools.
'There is growing evidence that pupils who are not in school are much more likely to come into contact with illegal drugs. It is in the interests of society as a whole to keep young people within the education system.'
The charity's report, entitled The Right Responses, was due to be launched at the Secondary Heads Conference in Brighton today.