Drugs and alcohol are becoming a regular part of the lives of adolescents today and they have easier access to them. This year at Estancia High School administration has had to deal with related issues the very first week of school and it continues to be a problem. There are many high schools having similar problems, where freshmen are choosing to partake in risky behaviors. Consequently, there has been suspension and expulsion, but is that truly helping? The trained dogs just come and sniff throughout the school to see who has possession of any substance. Due to these circumstances, there is a greater chance that there are more students under the influence that do not carry substances around school. There should be a three-part program that would consist of: improving our prevention system, drug testing, and help for those who need it.
One can’t help getting slapped with smoke clouds while entering the school bathroom. Since, there is no faculty or staff that enter the student bathrooms, most of the time these students do not get caught. Sometimes there are even students who are vaping in classrooms, with teachers oblivious to this occurring. Recognizing there are some people who have family problems, difficulty adjusting themselves to a new country, or even pressured to get involved in drugs; and play the game to fit in. There are so many ways people can do healthy coping, yet it is avoided just to feel “good” for a couple of hours.
On average, a human loses “…a gram of brain mass per year” after the age of 20 assuming if you are healthy (Brenda Hefti). According to The Drug Policy, when students had a physical dependence to drugs before the age of 18 their IQ level dropped 8 points until reaching the age of 38. If a good majority of this generation becomes dependent on drugs, how will they be capable of taking care of themselves, much less their parents some day.
Some may argue that drugs and alcohol have a health purpose and people should not be denied the access to it. National Institute on Drug Abuse states, marijuana plants have two cannabinoids “…that are of medical interest are THC and CBD.” Unfortunately, a good majority of people are not using it for healthy purposes. The Mayo Clinic informs us, that alcohol with moderate use can help, “Reduce your risk of developing and dying from heart disease, possibly reduce your risk of ischemic stroke (when the arteries to your brain become narrowed or blocked, causing severely reduced blood flow), [and] possibly reduce your risk of diabetes.” Do we truly use these substances those ways?
Unfortunately, banning drugs and alcohol consumption is not an option; especially since these two concepts can provide medical benefits. Schools have prevention by enforcing the service dogs to sniff the school and allocate if there is any drug or alcohol in position. As well some schools have guest speakers that only come once a year, and talk to students about drugs and alcohol abuse. That becomes a temptation for young people; unfortunately the negative impact does not show right away. This is a not enough only coming once, shows how the people who come to inform also consider this a joke, if they are not following up after it. Maybe a partnership like the one Estancia has with the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, that will be following up once a month might be the game changer for freshmen. I believe this is a great opportunity for all ages, and strongly believe it should be accessible to everyone. It should be mandatory for these students to get help to break this “cool” habit. It should be optional if the rest of the students want to go learn about it.
Acting now is essential with freshmen and these habits can be broken if they receive the attention and the help that is necessary. Prevention is needed to stop the spread, and making it harder for these activities to go unnoticed at school. Another factor, is random drug testing to discover which students need to be approached. Lastly, help; the mentor or advisor should be devoted into the student care not just neglecting everything they are doing. Adolescents are still sensitive at this age, therefore the mentor or advisor should be assigned to create an impact in their lives, but if they show no care it can only push them to remain with their habits. The key for this problem is improving prevention methods, random drug testing, and more help.
Reporter: Jennifer Neri