The usage of drugs by teens in schools is a worrying trend. While adolescence is a time for teens to figure out who they are and have fun, what happens when they move out of regular teenage life to using drugs? A parent might instinctively want to restrict their teen’s activities, like preventing them from spending time with friends without supervision, to ensure they keep away from drugs. Those parents might be surprised to learn that a lot of drug abuse actually takes place at school.
According to studies the number of teens using drugs in the course of the school day. The majority of teens are aware of exactly which of their school mates are selling drugs. Most commonly, the drugs abused by teens are marijuana, alcohol and prescription medicines. However, other illegal drugs are also commonplace. Among the reasons that teens turn to drug use at school are curiosity, peer pressure and rebellious behavior. It could also be for self medication and pleasure.
What Can the Schools Do?
There are policies in place about the use and abuse of drugs at school, of course. But merely having a policy doesn’t mean it can be enforced or that every student can be monitored. There are budgets and resources to consider, and the faculty have a lot on their plate.
For many schools a possible solution is the creation of a ‘drug contract’, which sets out clear rules for drug use at school and the consequences of breaking those rules. Schools may set up a combined student faculty group to monitor and provide alternatives to teens. Schools can also enforce a zero tolerance policy, and ensure that parents get involved. Parental involvement can make a huge difference in combating school drug use.
Education Equals Avoidance
While there will always be some risk of drug exposure at school, education about drugs and their negative effects is the answer. Experimentation with drugs and alcohol will happen, and some teens will suffer the consequences of that. However, if the teens are educated about the dangers of drug abuse and the physical and mental health problems it causes, then the teens will be much more likely to avoid drugs.
Being a teenager means the individual is at an age where they have difficulty imagining long term consequences of any of their actions. Educating them on the risks of illness and injury, severe addiction and even death, will give them pause and hopefully, steer them clear of any drug use.
Where to Begin?
Parents must set hard limits regarding drug use. The teens must understand that there will be pre-determined consequences if the limits are crossed, and that there are no exceptional circumstances. But teens must also feel safe to approach their parents, so it’s a good idea to have a family policy where the parent will pick up the teen anytime, anywhere and in any situation. Once the teen is safe at home, any discussions can be postponed until the following day.
It is crucial that parents educate themselves on the effects of drug use, and not just expect the teens to be educated. Knowing the facts themselves will help parents to be open and non judgmental in their communications with teens.
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