A combination of factors, including the ease with which drugs can be procured, alienation and peer pressure, is driving American teens toward their abuse. As a result, adolescents in high school and college do drugs on the sly. In dorm and frat parties, it has become customary to pool all drugs – stolen from elder’s medicine cabinets, or procured from vendors or pill mills – before going on the adventure ride of a collective high. However, this fun and adventure comes at a cost. As most teens doing drugs are aware of the implications of the misdemeanor once caught, they do not report to the authorities in case a peer overdoses, resulting in tragic loss of young lives.
The problem of drug abuse has spread its deadly tentacles across schools, posing a significant threat to the future of children in terms of impact on their health, academics, career and personal life. In the wake of such a serious implication on the future of the society, many schools, despite the paucity of funds, have put together programs for spreading awareness and keeping drug abuse under check. While some approaches rely on prohibition and punishment, others stress on education and rehabilitation. The objective is to keep drugs off the campus and establish a solid foundation to empower individuals to resist such temptations.
As youngsters prefer engagement to long boring lectures, some of the means adopted by the schools are as follows:
Disseminating knowledge through antidrug assemblies: Antidrug assemblies are engaging means to showcase the grim consequences of drug-seeking habit. With addiction treatment doctors and recovering patients turning up as guest lecturers, students can have a realistic picture of how drugs take them away from their loved ones and cause impairment of cognitive skills, such as difficulty following instructions. Students get the opportunity to clarify their doubts during such sessions.
Educating children as early as possible: Considering the fact that most youths start doing drugs, smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol in school days, or when they are on the cusp of adolescence, it is the best time to drive home the dangers of doing drugs and other addictive substances.
Conducting self-reliance programs: Children who are confident about themselves are less likely to take drugs. Therefore, some programs stress on building the child’s self-reliance in all sorts of social situations. This helps them even under adverse peer pressure to not succumb to the temptation of doing drugs and say no to such activities firmly. Such programs are effective even in the long run as they teach children some essential life skills necessary for abstaining from drugs, alcohol, etc.
Stocking antidotes: As it makes no sense to shy away from the truth that youngsters, especially those in college, will be doing drugs irrespective of the controls, authorities are advised to stock up their supply of opioid overdose antidote naloxone.
Engaging children from families grappling with addiction: Instead of isolating a child with a problematic family, including members addicted to drugs, it is essential to engage him or her in all school or college activities. Irrespective of whether the child reports late to school or has problems with homework, a concerned and supportive school environment will mitigate the chances of the child falling into the same addiction cycle. Children of drug addicted families could also participate as guest lecturers in antidrug assemblies.
Focusing on building teen assertiveness: With the help of a trained child counselor and other professional services, schools could focus on providing training to teens to develop their assertiveness and emotional control level. This is not only handy in career building, but could also help the teen realize his or her worth. Teens who feel sad and befuddled have greater risks of taking drugs to feel successful or empowered.
Get help for drug addiction
Children run the increased risk of falling into the trap of drug addiction due to their emotional vulnerability and undeveloped brain still in the process of developing the key cognitive skills. It becomes essential for parents and teachers to listen and talk to their fears and emotional upheavals, rather than ignoring them as their tantrums.