The truth about modern drug use
November 9, 2018
Warning me of the AP workload, one of the first things my sister told me before I entered freshmen year was that some students turn to unprescribed adderall just to focus on their homework.
The fact that high schoolers feel so much stress and pressure that they become dependent on drugs cannot be ignored, as stressed-out teens are twice as likely to do drugs than other teens. On the other end of the spectrum, teens who are frequently bored and uninvolved in school activities are also more likely to do drugs than other teens. These factors leave it up to students to determine a healthy balance, despite their current situations.
But how can we expect students to always make the right choice for their health when they are continuously being pushed to work harder and harder? Currently, some students accept this academic challenge — soon realizing it’s too much stress — while other students back away from the challenge and instead, are discouraged to work hard in school at all. Either way results in a negative high school experience, as about two-thirds of depressed teens also struggle with substance abuse. Thus, education in schools needs to be tailored to modern day struggles of high schoolers, such as social and academic pressure. Otherwise, mere warnings, punishments and drug prevention assemblies will continue to be shrugged off.
The consequences that come with doing drugs often compel students to dismiss any possibility of changing their habits. The fear of being punished by the school, parents/guardians and police officers puts pressure on teens to be secretive and burden their struggles on their own. Although these punishments are necessary, what’s more important is actually preventing these problems from happening in the first place. Truly caring about this issue would require solving the problems that directly cause students to turn to drugs.
Right now, drug reliance is most likely caused by emotional issues and stress. Teens therefore justify drug use to themselves by believing it helps them cope with anxiety and depression. The seriousness of this epidemic grows, as only 30 percent of depressed teens are receiving professional treatment.
By forming a greater connection among counselors, teachers and students, our school will make drug treatment and prevention more accessible to students. Schools need to understand that students must put their own health over their workload. Do not just claim that stressed-out students shouldn’t take advanced classes. Instead, recognize that this challenge may result in horrible drug habits if students don’t learn how to properly handle stressful situations.
An alarming amount of students live with loneliness, depression and anxiety, but instead of looking for professional help they keep their head down and do whatever it takes to get their work done. Without support from their school, teens will continue to feel discouraged, as if they should give up on their education as a whole.
When working toward drug prevention, schools must know their audience: modern teenagers. It’s saddening to see people at my school fall into friend groups that make drugs a focal point in their social lives, just to ignore the emotional burdens that most of them are carrying. High schoolers are just trying to support each other through the rigor of classes and the depression many of them feel, but that is not enough. Our education system must address these issues in order to create a drug-free environment for high schoolers.