Drug Use In Our Schools

Drug use in high schools

Natasha Maciel, The Arrow

Drug use in high schools

Natasha A. Maciel, student-journalist

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Throughout the years’ drug use in high schools has become a widespread epidemic and without any signs of premature drug abuse slowing down many want to know what actions are being taken to stop this problem.

There are several reasons teens use these substances, including the desire for new experiences, the belief that it will help them with their problems or that it will help them perform better in school, and simple peer pressure. 

School psychologist Ms. Jennifer Shell said, “I think that for some students, using drugs can start experimentally, for fun as an escape from the stress of real life, or because of peer pressure.”

Many factors influence drug use amongst adolescents, but the most common might very likely be the availability of drugs within their neighborhood, community, and school.

According to the health website The Recovery Village, facts about teenage drug and alcohol abuse reveal that 86% of this age group know someone who smokes, drinks or uses mind-altering substances during the school day.

In the U.S. teens abuse alcohol more than any illicit drug and it causes the most harm. Unsurprisingly it is responsible for nearly 200,000 emergency visits and 4,300 deaths among kids under 21 each year.

“I feel like drug abuse has gotten worse in that there are different types of drugs now, some stuff I’ve never even heard of,” said Clairemont High-security officer Mr. Robert Dean.

In terms of illicit drugs, marijuana has become the most popular amongst high school teens due to the belief that it is not as bad as other substances.

More high school seniors smoke pot than smoke cigarettes. As of 2015, 12th graders are about as likely to smoke weed as they are to drink reports The Recovery Village.

Mr. Dean said, “It troubles me and makes me sad to see the younger generation being exposed to drugs so early because these are young people making unwise decisions. Which could very well haunt them later on (in life).”

Adolescents believe weed cannot be harmful due to it being thought to be “natural.”

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) information website reports that ten percent of users may develop what is called a marijuana use disorder that can lead to problems with their health, school, friendships, family or other conflicts in their life. People who begin using weed before the age of 18 are 4–7 times more likely than adults to develop this health problem.

Ms. Shell said, “These years are precious years for brain development and learning. Drugs can severely impact students future outcome not just in school, but also in life. The teenage brain isn’t fully developed, and I don’t think many teens fully grasp the lasting impact the decision they’re making to have fun now might have on their life.”

The drug information website Project Know reports that in the United States alone 7% of youth aged 12–13 took an illicit substance in the past year while 5.6% reported drinking alcohol. Early use of drugs or alcohol has been linked to several times higher risk of developing substance dependence, as the majority of Americans aged 18–30 admitted for substance abuse treatment initiated alcohol or drug use before the age of 18.

When it comes to the topic of drug prevention, not everyone will agree that enough is being done, but studies have shown that research-based programs can significantly reduce the early use of tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs. Also while many social and cultural factors affect drug use trends when young people perceive drug use as harmful, they often reduce their level of consumption.

When talking about substance abuse in high schools today many do not believe how severe it has become even when faced with facts. But that does not mean they have to accept the problem it just means students and adults should be educated on the issue and in doing so a lot of misunderstandings and situations having to do with drug use can be prevented.