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The Drug Issue: the school’s response

Harrisonville High School has had some recently rising drug use, and it is not the only school that is doing it. According to DoSomething.org, by the 8th grade, 28 percent of adolescents have consumed alcohol, 15 percent have smoked cigarettes, and 16.5 percent have used marijuana, making high school the perfect stepping stone into new sources and new drugs.**

In most cases of drug use, there is a reason behind the usage. According to NIDA, with over 60 percent of teens reporting that drugs are sold in their high schools, drugs are easier to get to than ever before. ***


“[It’s] a number of different reasons,” said Assistant Principal Mark Rovig. ”Usually people are using drugs to escape from a perceived wrong in their life. I think you are seeing more people trying to drugs as a way to deal with issues in their life, whatever they may be. You just see a lot of people using that route.


“I think that getting drugs is becoming easier; marijuana is legal in some states and prescription drugs are very easy to get to anymore,” Rovig said. “I think when you mix people who are going through a rough time and are looking for a way to cope with it and the readily available drugs as a way to cope with it – yeah you’re gonna see a drug use increase.”


With more and more students having availability to more drugs than ever before, it’s no surprise that students are getting their hands on more drugs.Twenty-one percent of teens have done marijuana in the past month, with an estimated 44 percent going on to use it for the rest of their lives.


“I think some kids do it to fit in, in some way, shape or form,” Rovig said. “I think some kids start with alcohol and are looking for something bigger.”


Not only are students doing this to fit in, but they’re also bringing the drugs into the classroom. According to CNN, a shocking 17 percent of students drink, smoke or use some sort of drug during the school day.* Getting caught can have serious repercussions.


“If you are caught at school under the influence or in possession of even a minute amount, we’re pretty stingy on it,” Rovig said. “As a school district, we can suspend up to 180 days or expel if it’s a serious offense.


“Typically what I do is suspend 10 days out of school,” Rovig said. “I will refer to the assistant superintendent and they will look at the case and determine the punishment from prior cases and discipline.”


With the drugs being present in the school, there is searches that take place using drug detection dogs to help and counter the issue but the dogs are at the hand of the Cass County Sheriff’s Office, making it out of the schools hand to plan these searches.


“I think there should be more drug prevention programs,” senior Jacob Filer said. “I think in order to stop the supply, you have to lower the demand.”


Currently, the school has no further plans to add more drug prevention than what is in place.  

*Fact from CNN.com

**Fact from DoSomething.org

***Fact from NIDA