Substance abuse in schools

October 17, 2018

One aspect of school safety that is important to remember involves teen substance use. Most notably on school property and during the school day. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration just issued vaping a youth epidemic and said, “In 2017 vape use among teens rose from 1.5 percent to 11.7 percent, categorizing it as an epidemic.” This is something Principal Mr. Mark Randall reminded students on Friday, Sept. 28, during an all-school announcement. Being a minor, vapes are illegal to buy from the typical retailer. However, kids under the age of 18 are still able to purchase them online, making it extraordinarily easy to obtain one.

86 percent of high school students know someone who smokes, drinks or does other drugs during the day, and 42 percent of kids have admitted to participating in the use of chewing tobacco, vapes or cigarettes.

— The Recovery Village

There are a number of reasons why the abuse of drugs during the day causes serious implications. Beyond the obvious harm to the person using them, this illegal activity impairs judgement; behavior and choices can become erratic. This makes an unsafe environment for students and staff.

While people know drugs alter the function of the brain, research shows that teens in particular, are having an exceptionally hard time dealing with the impact of these substances. Drug use in general creates a hostile environment which comes with its own set of troubles. In fact, a new study by US News said, “Students who reported a positive school environment were 20 percent less likely to use marijuana and 15 percent less likely to smoke cigarettes.” This would imply that restricting the amount of drugs that enter schools would help keep the climate a positive one, and it would reassure students that security is tight. When asked about creating a positive school environment, Principal Randall said, “The goal for all of the staff here at OHS is to create a friendly and positive climate through connecting with students on a more personal level.”

When drugs are being used, it can get pretty uncomfortable for students who do not use them. Walking in on a group of peers vaping or smoking in the bathroom and the complications that might follow, can be a difficult situation to navigate. Unfortunately, statistics show that these instances are not that uncommon. TheRecoveryVillage.com said, “86 percent of high school students know someone who smokes, drinks or does other drugs during the day, and 42 percent of kids have admitted to participating in the use of chewing tobacco, vapes or cigarettes.”

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