Drug abuse in schools: The way forward

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Drug abuse in schools: The way forward

Abuse of drugs is the consumption substances that lead to physical, psychological or mental harm to the user. The most commonly abused drugs today are tobacco, alcohol and marijuana. The national institute on drug abuse reports that five percent of senior school students in the United States of America consume alcohol daily, 61 percent have sampled illegal drugs while a number have tried cocaine. The United States of America leads the industrialized nations in drug abuse among teenagers. Drug abuse by school going teenagers jeopardizes their lives, their education and threatens the society. Most juvenile crimes that occur in many parts of the United States of America are usually connected to drugs and alcohol abuse (Cashman, 2002). High levels of school dropout cases, homicides, suicides, violent crimes and chronic stresses are highly influenced by drugs and substance consumption. Teenagers are completely vulnerable to impairments that are caused by the use of drugs. In this perfectionist world, the transition of the school-going students to adulthood can add stresses and pressures that are highly intimidative on the teenagers, which can wreck them, especially if their serious needs are not addressed. This will make the teenagers to seek for solutions outside the boundaries of common sense and one of the easiest options is drugs (Cashman, 2002). The students under pressure think that the intake of drugs will address all the issues and the problems or make their stress and depression to abate but this is foolhardy. It is irresponsible for them to think that drugs can relieve their guilt and anxieties. When the students take drugs, they tend to become socially withdrawn and as they get hooked to drug dependency, beings without iota of conscience are created. Most prisoners can trace their road to prison to the initial time they decided to involve themselves in drug abuse.

The players in the educational sector can stem the drug menace by paying a lot of attention to the most critical developmental stages of a child, ensuring that no space is left to be filled by external influences like drugs and substance abuse. Elements that teach the most vital social behaviors can be integrated into the school curriculum. This will make the students turn their attention away from harmful social activities like the abuse of drugs and substances. Various social activities like dances, tournaments, trips and excursions can be used to enhance the social skills of the students. Research by experts in the education field indicates that students taking part in programs for drug abuse minimize their vulnerability to the influence of wayward peers by more than ten percent.

Low self-respect is one of the conditions that make the students to turn to drug abuse meaning that how the teens feel about themselves plays a vital part in influencing what they want to do with their lives. Students with low self-respect make choices that are not socially desirable like engaging in harmful activities, like drug and substance abuse. Thus, the handlers of these students make maximum use of their social and counseling skills to make sure that they instill in the students a feeling of self-respect that will promote conscious decision-making tendencies that will in the end make the students to turn away from drugs. Students with low self-respect do not always choose to involve themselves in drug abuse but they are highly vulnerable to influence from their peers, which is the single largest factor that has led many innocent students to start taking drugs. Self-respect creates a high feeling of self-identity, which builds a sense of self-esteem, and discipline that forms a defensive barrier that cushions the teenagers from the peer influence that is very negative. Creation of a competitive environment in school set-ups will work out ways of reducing the menace (Cashman, 2002). A variety of competitive programs both within the curriculum and co-curricular programs will inculcate a desire to always excel in the students and when they become successful, self respect and esteem will come when the success makes them feel proud of their achievement. The competitive atmosphere will still help them to shift their attention and abilities to more constructive things that will deny them time to be idle, thinking about involving themselves in dangerous vices.

However, there is also the home environment that the educators cannot influence. The efforts that the teachers have made on drug control and suppression can be rendered null and void if the parents do not supplement the efforts of the teachers. Most children usually copy what their parents do meaning that children brought up by irresponsible parents who usually involve themselves in the abuse of drugs and substances are highly susceptible to wayward tendencies of the parents. There is less than a teacher to help such a student (Cashman, 2002). Parents who cooperate with the teachers in providing counseling and suppression measures have their children cushioned against the worldly influences that can easily wreck the child. Modern parents are usually too busy for the welfare of their own off springs, often leaving them in the hands of worldly influences. A neat anti drugs system at school can only function only if there is support from the parents otherwise it will be an uphill task for teachers to sail in this boat alone. In reaction to the drug menace, there are requirements in every state for implementation of anti-drug programs that are integrated in the local district schools.

Many states have set up councils whose work is the coordination of the drug prevention programs in schools that also spread to the whole community that the students live in. Nowadays, before teachers are certified, training in drugs control and counseling is mandatory. In every district, all schools are required to assess their problems in the drug menace and constitute sound punitive and control mechanisms (Sagor, 2000). Strengthening of the abusers coping skills can help in mitigation of the effects of the menace.   There is a notion that addiction can be arrested because it goes through a pattern that can be traced and easily predicted. Educators should respond to the issues that motivate activities that are destructive to the teenagers and the worrying issues of alienation, despair, anxiety and fear ensuring that the reaction considers the welfare of the student. While creating systems of commencing appropriate and effective anti drug program, educators should asses the policies currently in place, make new ones as they involve parents, health and legal bodies and enforce  methodologies that  promotes the anti drug war. The best proven systems and strategies of dealing with the crisis of drugs in the education system are the ones that have a long term objectives, the ones that are comprehensive and can be easily integrated in every part of the curriculum (Cashman, 2002).  


Cashman, J. (2002). Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Education: New Jersey: Prentice Hall.  Sagor, R, (2000). Seeking Peace in the War on Drugs: California: Guilford Press.