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Drug use at OHS

Magnet Staff, Editorial

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Teenagers are doing drugs and drinking alcohol. It is a fact that has been established over and over, and will continue to be an issue for some time. Something needs to be done about it, but by who?

More than half of OHS Seniors admit to drinking in a survey mentioned in a previous Magnet article titled “Teenage Substance Use”. In the same survey, 9th graders admitted to having smoked marijuana. This survey was startlingly honest, and revealed a problem at OHS. Results can be seen below.

Substance Use in the OHS Freshman 2010 (Grade 9) Senior 2010 (Grade 12)
Alcohol 37% 53%
Marijuana 3% 1%
Alcohol and Marijuana 21% 41%

 

Parents should be the first line of defense for students abusing drugs and alcohol. Parents usually are diligent in keeping track of their children’s whereabouts, and understanding the signs of substance abuse.

School officials should also try their best to keep students from abusing substances. Students within the Owatonna school system have been bombarded by videos, seminars and presentations on drug and alcohol abuse, but nothing seems to be working. SHOC is everywhere in the schools, and their efforts there are applauded, but in our building they are practically nonexistent. A solution can be seen in the athletic department of OHS. Athletes at this school are the role models and leaders, and set examples for the rest of the class–not to mention the children who look up to them. OHS follows MSHSL guidelines, but are they doing enough? No. They aren’t punishing students enough for the decisions they’ve made. OHS should be firm in punishments for athletes, and captains should be expected to not have any violations for substance abuse. The leaders of this school should not be the ones abusing alcohol and substances. Stricter punishments for drug and alcohol abuse needs to begin within the athletic system, even if they haven’t been in trouble with the law.

The community also needs to step up and help kids get out of the cycle of drug and alcohol abuse. Downtown Owatonna is virtually nonexistent, and the stores and restaurants that are there close at 5 p.m. This gives students nowhere to be at night, and in a way, pushes them towards drugs and alcohol. The solution to this isn’t simple–it’s hard to predict what teens will think is “cool” and what will prevent them from doing drugs. Should there be a center downtown especially for teens? Should there be activities for teens after events? These are some solutions, but the easiest is that local businesses should stay open longer. The fact is that restaurants are seeing all the business from teens simply because they are open past five. If local business stayed open later, it may solve substance abuse and low downtown turnout.

Prom is coming up, and sometimes there is a rise in substance use. It is important the dangers of substance use is not ignored. Students, make wise choices throughout the rest of the year! It is important that our OHS community is strong as we end the year.

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