The Danger of Drugs in High School
With the back-to-school season upon us, it’s natural for parents to worry about their children, and especially the presence of drugs in high school. It’s a sad but true fact that many cases of addiction happen in the teenage years. While we’d like to think that schools are safe, unfortunately, there will be some extent of exposure to drugs and alcohol.
Facts on Teenage Drug Use
It’s no secret that high school aged teens are easily influenced. Teenagers have a natural curiosity which can result in experimenting. They are at a point in their lives where they don’t yet grasp the concept of serious consequences. There are plenty of facts to support the claim that drugs and alcohol are present in schools.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse:
- More high school seniors smoke marijuana than cigarettes.
- 21.3% of seniors smoked marijuana in the past 30 days
- 79.5% of seniors say it is easy to get marijuana
- 35.3% of high schoolers have drank alcohol in the past month
- Almost 5% of seniors don’t disapprove of heroin abuse. Up to 40% don’t think it is harmful to try it.
Prescription drugs are a big problem in high school. As a matter of fact, more teens die from prescription drugs than heroin and cocaine combined. This may be because prescription drugs are easier to obtain. 60% of kids who take prescription drugs get them from friends or relatives. All it takes is for one bad seed to come into school with a script for something powerful like Vicodin, and a number of teens can get hooked.
Kids are also starting to experiment earlier and earlier. By the 8th grade, which is usually around age 13:
- 28% of them have tried alcohol
- 15% have smoked cigarettes
- 16.5% have smoked marijuana
Keeping Kids Safe From Drugs in High School
While every parent strives to keep their kids as safe as can be, they can’t be with them 24/7, and there needs to be a certain level of trust. Yes, kids will be exposed to alcohol and drugs in high school, but it doesn’t mean that they have to develop a full-blown addiction.
The problem with this age group is that there is a lot of peer pressure to give in to what other kids are doing. Students can come to school with anything from prescription pills they stole from their grandma to alcohol, to ecstasy, and everything in between. The exposure will be there, but it is how a child reacts to the temptation that makes all the difference.
Parents: How You Can Help
There are a number of things parents can do to help prevent their children from falling victim to addiction. One of the most important things to do is educate yourself on teenage drug use and know the facts and figures. Information is power and the more awareness you can create, the better.
Here are some things you can do to help keep your teens safe:
- Stay informed. From drug trends to alcohol abuse, stay knowledgeable and realistic about things that may go on.
- Talk to your children. Educating them about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse might just prevent them from picking up a substance. And, fostering these kinds of conversations will create an open door for trust and more discussion.
- Know who your child is friends with. If you know the company they keep, you can tell if there may be potential problems. You can also tell if someone is a bad influence.
- Encourage your child to talk. If they know they can come to you for advice, they are more likely to do so. This isn’t an appropriate time to use scare tactics or threats, but rather to compassionately listen and offer advice.
- Talk to teachers and authorities at your children’s school. The more people you can network with, the more you will stay informed about what your kid is up to. These people can be your eyes and ears during the school day, so develop those relationships.
- Talk to the parents of your child’s friends. Make sure that you are all on the page about drug and alcohol use, and that prescription drugs are out of reach.
An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure
The truth is that the more communication you can create, the more you will be able to prevent your child from picking something up in the first place. And, if they do pick something up, there is a bigger chance they will tell you before it becomes a problem.
Remember that creating a loving, supportive, and happy environment at home will greatly reduce the chances of your child using drugs or alcohol. Make the effort to get to know your child, and to get to know their friends and other people in their lives. Regularly talking to them about the dangers of alcohol and drugs in high school will help to curb any issue before it gets out of hand.