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The Drug Issue: insights from three students

The Harrisonville High School population is nearly 900 students. Given the school’s growing size, the student body is becoming increasingly diverse. This variety brings with it a large range of after- and before-school activities that include athletics, drama productions, club events, or just hanging out with friends.

However, for some Harrisonville students, that last  extra-curricular activity can involve the use of drugs or alcohol.

To explore these different approaches to free time, this story focuses on three actual Harrisonville students and what they do with their friends and/or family. Although these individuals are outwardly very similar – they wouldn’t look much different from each other if walking down the hall side by side – some of their responses to the questions asked differ significantly.

Here’s a quick snapshot of the three students:

Student A: This individual would be considered by many as the all-American kid. This person is well rounded and enjoys spending time with family and friends, going to church and doing little tasks around the house.

Student B: This person is also a well-rounded student who participates in athletics and various school activities, and also enjoys hanging out with friends. Occasionally, this individual will have a few alcoholic drinks while having fun with friends.

Student C: This student, who would be considered part of the popular crowd, also is involved at school and has many friends. This person has occasionally used various drugs when having a good time.

We asked each student the same four questions. Below are the questions, as well as their responses.  


Question 1: What are some of the things you do for fun on the weekends?

  1. I work for my dad on the weekends, hang out with my friends at the turf, go on bike rides, work on projects and go to church on Sundays.
  2. Cruise around with the fellas and a 30 pack, go to different parties around town, get pretty drunk, drive home and pass out at about 3 o’clock in the morning.
  3. We get high like a lot. We go out to eat or chill and play video games. Lots of times we watch movies or go cruise. On occasion we’ll do Xanax, ’shrooms and sometimes Kpins.

Question 2: Where do you see yourself in 25 years?

  1. In a nice house with a family and a good paying job, possibly owning my own business.
  2. Maybe being a physical therapist with kids and a family, a nice house and a stable lifestyle.
  3. I hope to run a restaurant, hopefully a steakhouse or similar. Married and I would love to live in Maine or Rome. I also really want three kids!

Question 3: What do your parents think about your lifestyle?

  1. They like my lifestyle and they enjoy seeing the things I experience in the generation. They respect my lifestyle.
  2. They question the people I hang out with, but the more they don’t know the better off they are.
  3. My parents think marijuana is an awful drug, that it ruins lives. I strongly disagree and argue with them about it. They think any person who does any other drug is a horrible person.

Question 4: What would 5th grade DARE graduation you think about your life choices?

  1. He’d say good job and stay on the right track. Keep up the good work!
  2. Maybe a little disappointed on the choices I make on the weekends.
  3. When I came into high school, I thought weed was awful and people who did it were low lifes. I’m not here to say drugs are good, and a lot of them are not. Lots of people I know, including myself, turn to them when they are feeling low. I’ve learned to accept people no matter what they choose to do or how they act. Fifth-grade DARE me would be disappointed, but you have to learn for yourself.