CRANSTON, R.I. (AP) _ New England's top narcotics agent, reportedly the target of a Colombian hit squad, wore a bullet-proof vest and was guarded by a special weapons team as he spoke at a high school against drug abuse.

Robert Stutman, New England chief of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration , postponed a similar talk at a Cumberland high school last month. Cumberland school officials said they had been told the postponement was prompted by death threats from a Colombian hit squad.

But Stutman appeared Wednesday night at Cranston East High School for a speech to an audience made up mostly of parents.

During his 21/2 -hour talk, federal agents stood at every exit of the room. Members of a Cranston police special weapons team, armed with rifles, stood in the hallway and on the high school roof. Afterward, he was ushered out a side door with about 30 bodyguards closing rank behind him.

''We take all threats against drug enforcement agents very seriously,'' Stutman said as he left the building.

In his talk, Stutman's only reference to assassins was in response to a question about drugs being imported from Colombia and Peru.

Talk about assassins killing drug agents is an attempt by drug dealers to intimidate the government and keep it from doing its job, he said. ''It shows we are doing our job.''

Drug use among teen-agers in the Northeast is higher than in any other section of the country, Stutman said. He called cocaine the most debilitating and addictive of all drugs.

He urged parents to lobby for drug education in schools, beginning in kindergarten. National statistics, he said, show that children who use drugs tend to start about age 12.

Stutman also urged parents to supply their children with drug information.