Schools throughout the country have realized that they have a responsibility to their students and community to do their part in fighting against teen substance abuse. While the notion isn’t new, the ways that they have gone about it have changed over the years. As part of this push to prevent teenagers from experimenting with and abusing drugs, some schools have instituted new policies regarding drug testing.
Currently, most schools don’t have drug testing policies, but more of them are starting to adopt mandatory random drug testing for extracurricular activities. Some people look at this as a form of punishment or threat, but it can also be viewed as more of an incentive not to use drugs.
“This policy is a step forward in my mind in assisting families and children, not to catch them, not to get them in trouble, not to harm them, but because we love them,” commented Tracie West, Auburn City School Board Vice President. The issue was passed unanimously by the school board, despite some parents’ objections regarding the new policy. Some people were concerned that the new policy would invade the privacy of the children. Others were worried about the cost of the drug tests and administering the tests, while others insisted that the new policy would not do much to handle potential drug problems.
Acknowledging that teenagers and children are often in situations where drug and alcohol use is present, even at school, is important for teachers and parents to understand. Chances are likely that more schools will continue to implement similar policies.
Some experts believe that the more tools and systems we have in place to help protect our children from substance abuse issues, the better off we are, but those must include effective education programs so that they choose not to engage in the behavior on their own.
When most people think about prescription drug abuse they think about painkillers. However, there is another category of prescription medication that is being abused by many students across the country. Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) drugs such as Adderall and Ritalin have been making their way across college campuses and even high schools. The drugs are being sold to young people who believe it will make them stay awake and alert when they are studying for a big test or if they have a lot of homework.
These drugs were created to help people with ADHD focus on their work. Unfortunately, it did not take long for other people to realize that when they take the drugs they are very powerful stimulants. This realization enticed many youth and young adults into taking the drug without a prescription, oftentimes developing a strong addiction to the pills due to their high potential for abuse.
Adderall and Ritalin are forms of amphetamine. They are powerful stimulants that increase the heart rate and cause a person to have more energy, temporarily. They are highly addictive as they mimic the effects of cocaine, methamphetamine and other stimulants. Many people who are addicted to methamphetamine or cocaine started out abusing some type of prescription stimulant. For those who are abusing the drug in order to get better grades, studies show that the opposite actually happens.
“Many (students) are misusing or abusing stimulants thinking it is going to help them to concentrate and study more effectively, when in actuality, research shows that the kids who are using and abusing the stimulants actually have a lower grade point average than those who are not using stimulants,” explained certified alcohol and drug addiction counselor, Michelle De La Riva.
All across the country the DEA is holding drug take-back events where people are encouraged to bring their unused prescriptions for safe disposal. These take-back days are ways to prevent students from selling or buying unused prescriptions of potentially dangerous medications like these.