If you take a walk through the hallways of a standard North American high school at lunch hour today, you may be surprised by the obvious signs of drug use that can be easily detected by your senses. Then again, if you happen to be an average teenager sent walking down those hallways, you may not even be able to detect the abnormality of the situation. Drugs are constantly present amongst our high school students and are inevitably tied up with their lives. Therein lies the problem facing our youth today: the fact that student drug use has now become an expectation rather than an exception.
Recently, this ever-growing problem of drug use amongst high school students has led to serious issues for parents, teachers, school boards, and students themselves. These issues are numerous and serious in nature. Students are high in class or skip class to get high. This situation results in lower grades, which encourages kids to give up on school and drop out, or, for those who do graduate, get lower paying employment because of their lower marks. Also, since the students often smoke during breaks at school, the hallways get filled with smoke and the remains from the drugs.
This lack of cleanliness creates a more uncomfortable work environment at the school, which can also cause teenagers to fall below their potential in their school work. In addition, drugs cause unnatural confidence and a lack of reasoning abilities. As a result, many teenagers act irresponsibly while high and commit stupid and dangerous stunts. Even if these stunts do not physically injure the adolescents, they can cause other issues. Such stunts can lead to arrests and/or criminal records, which can permanently prevent these teenagers from getting specific jobs.
These students are also unknowledgeable about drugs and may either unknowingly take poisonous drugs, misuse the drugs, or overdose on drugs. All of these situations are extraordinarily dangerous and result in deaths every year. Yet, despite all of these consequences, drugs are still being used daily in high schools. Clearly, drug use in high schools has become a very serious issue for all parties involved. A solution is needed quickly in order to save today’s youth and render them responsible enough to run our world tomorrow.
However, before such a solution can be created, one must first examine the reasons behind the drug use in the first place. Based on my observations, I have concluded that there are four main reasons for which teenagers “do drugs”. The first is to rebel against authority, whether it be their parents, teachers, or society in general. Drugs are forbidden by all authority figures. Right at the point of adolescence, teenagers have hormones telling them to resist authority and form their own lives. This makes drug use an appealing rebellion technique.
The second reason is pure and simple curiosity. Again due to their hormones, teenagers are naturally eager and curious about everything new. Having all their friends doing drugs around them causes the students to become curious. The only way they can see to fulfill this curiosity is by doing the drugs themselves. A third reason is peer pressure. Teenagers are constantly in environments where they are trying to be cool and the same as everyone else. Many teenagers cannot say no when their friends pressure them to do drugs. They agree just to fit in with their environment.
The final, fourth reason is for students to get a break from stress and just relax. Students are in highly stressful situations with changing hormones and demanding school. Sometimes, they simply can no longer handle the stress and require the drugs in order to relax. These reasons must all be removed should we wish to put a stop to teenage drug use. Upon examining the reasoning behind drug use, one can find a certain degree of sympathy for these adolescents. They are not just smoking to be obnoxious, but as the result of a combination of hormones, development, and environment.
This being established, it becomes clear that simply punishing teenagers, as authorities have been continuously attempting for many, many years, will not solve the problem. The time has come for a new solution. One that reaches to the root of the problem, thus preventing it from ever re-growing. Since somebody must be the first to speak, I now humbly present to you my possible solution: one that I feel parents and teachers will love and students will, at the very least, complain little about.
I propose a two and a half hour long period set aside in the middle of the school day where all students are brought to one room in the school, under teacher supervision of course, and made to do drugs. Now, I can already hear the cries of protest from hardworking adults against such an unorthodox idea; however, I have developed a method to make this solution structured and strict, perfect for such organized adults. This period can be a mandatory class for all grades called, ‘The History and Usage of Narcotics’ with a course code of DRG AC.
The school day will still end at the same time; the two last periods will be removed and their time combined to make this new class. The last two classes will be added to the morning, resulting in four classes, each of half the original length. Since all of the consequences of drug use at school resulting in lower grades will be removed by this class, the students will be able to learn faster, and so, this shortening will not negatively affect their marks. The class will be divided between a two hour period to get high and then sober, as well as a thirty minute period to nap off the crash.
The class also provides teenagers with an opportunity to raise their averages (useful for post-secondary options) by actually being a course with a grade. This grade will be based on the knowledge of drugs, participation level, the level of tolerance managed to be built up, and the amount of drugs used. However, the students will not simply be expected to have knowledge of drugs; every lesson will begin with the teachers giving them a lesson on the drug being used. The teachers will also control the drug being used (with a change every two to three weeks) and the amount to be used (increased every lesson).
Parents will, of course, be aware that this course goes on; however, they will not be given any information on what exactly occurs within the course unless it is provided by their children. This lack of parental knowledge will result in any level of rebellion that the child desires. That being said, this course will effectively eliminate a teenager’s curiosity, stress, rebellion, and peer pressure by providing them with a way to get stoned safely under supervision, and without affecting their outside lives.
Adolescents will therefore have no reason to use drugs outside of this class, thus eliminating all of the negative consequences that this issue has produced. Firstly, having a narcotics class would solve the teenagers’ urges to strike out against their parents and other authority figures. Since parents would not have any details about what goes on in this class, the adolescents would still be rebelling, but in a way that would be safe and supervised. This would stop the irresponsible and dangerous stunts committed by teenagers while they are rebelling and stoned.
I would like to draw your attention to one such stunt committed by my best friend who was high (and therefore not thinking clearly) and wandering outside alone (because his mother told him not to). During this state, he climbed the side of a three story building, using a ladder attached to the side, and spray painted the roof. This was extremely stupid and dangerous. It could have resulted in his injury or death. Had he not felt the need to rebel against his parents and do drugs, this dangerous stunt would never have occurred.
Even stunts committed in this state that are not dangerous, just stupid, can have serious negative consequences for the individual, such as criminal records and/or arrests. I will bring your attention once again to my rebellious best friend. While rebelling against his parents by being on drugs (and thus having a serious lack of judgment) he attempted to steal Visene from Wal-Mart. Naturally, he was caught, and rather than accept the consequences as he would have had he been sober, he instead tried to run away. Of course, this resulted in his arrest and multiple charges.
These crimes are now on his record, and, though it will be cleared on his eighteenth birthday, when he applies to post-secondary schools it will still be present. As a result, he may be forced to go to a worse post-secondary school than he would have had he never rebelled against his parents and done drugs. Had this rebellion and drug use not occurred, he, and many others like him, would not have had these consequences. By skipping forward a few years after these arrests and criminal records occur, we can see even more consequences in the adult lives of these rebellious adolescents.
If bad post-secondary options are chosen, this may result in low-paying employment. The lack of income can then cause desperation. As a result of this desperation, more drugs are used, and possibly sold, resulting in more arrests, and a vicious cycle is created. In fact, 60% of teenagers with criminal records in high school will end up in jail as an adult. Had these adolescents never rebelled against their parents, they would never have done drugs, stupid stunts, received criminal records, and gone to poor post-secondary schools that result in a desperate, vicious cycle of a life, eventually leading them to jail.
By allowing teenagers to rebel elsewhere, this vicious cycle is prevented from occurring. By removing the rebelliousness in the students, this class also removes all the dangerous consequences that come as a result of that rebelliousness. Secondly, this class would permit teenagers to abate their curiosity about drugs in an environment that would be safe and well-learned. This environment will allow them to become knowledgeable about the drugs they use, so that they are no longer curious, but not injured in unsafe drug processes.
One such process is the lacing of drugs with poisonous, addictive chemicals. An example would be lacing marijuana with wind shield washer fluid or crack cocaine. This is done by sketchy and untrustworthy drug dealers and can result in addiction, sickness, or death for the curious teenager. These physical side effects result from the normal teenage curiosity for drugs. By removing this curiosity in a safe way, this class prevents such dangers from occurring. Another danger for curious, unknowing teenagers who explore drugs is overdose.
In fact, with the sudden increase in drug use, teenagers today are eleven times more likely to die of drug overdoses and suicide than the previous generation were. These overdoses are caused because curious teenagers do drugs without knowing how to do them properly or the consequences of doing drugs. This naivety causes them to use too much and overdose, often resulting in death. These unnecessary deaths would not occur were teenagers allowed to abate their curiosity in a controlled, knowledgeable environment.
Another cause of injury and/or death in these curious teenagers is the wrong usage of drugs. Certain drugs are very dangerous and poisonous if taken incorrectly. One such example is shrooms. Shrooms are mushrooms whose juices give you a high. They must be chewed and then spat out, with only the juices swallowed. If the mushroom itself is swallowed, it is poisonous and may result in death. Curious teenagers may go to take shrooms, just to see what they are like, and, being ignorant about drugs, end up poisoned or dead.
Were this curiosity about drugs satisfied in a safe, knowledgeable way, these poisonings would not occur. By having their curiosity about drugs abated in a safe environment, such as this class, with knowledgeable teachers, teenagers are allowed to explore the avenue of drugs without causing harm to themselves accidentally. Thirdly, by making all teenagers do drugs together at an equal rate, this class eliminates the peer pressure that teenagers feel from others in order to do drugs and be cool.
Since teenagers will only need to do drugs in this class, and since all students will do equal drugs in equal amounts for equal time, there will no longer be a hierarchy of teenagers who are cool and do drugs compared to those who are uncool and do not do drugs. Everybody will be equal. This concept is very similar to China, where they have a communist government. Since everybody there has the same amount of money and an equal social status, there is nobody who is considered better than anyone else. In China, this equality has led to harmony and friendliness amongst everyone. In high schools the result would be similar.
If there is no hierarchy, there can be no bullying. If there is no bullying, there are happier students. By having all the children do drugs, this class eliminates bullying entirely, making the school a happier place. This happy environment and friendship amongst the students results in better relationships between the students. Through these friendships, they will develop better social skills than they would have had they been bullied. Better social skills result in better jobs and higher pay. Leading psychiatrists agree that good social skills are highly important in obtaining employment.
By removing the bullying by forcing everyone to do drugs, this class creates social kids, and thus allows socially awkward children the opportunity to get better employment than they otherwise would have had. Having no more bullying and peer pressure also prevents uncomfortable situations for teenagers where they are not sure what to say about doing drugs offered to them by their friends. Sometimes, when being told to do drugs by peers, teenagers can feel a bit like a skinny person at fat camp: extremely different and awkward. This is not good for their self-esteem.
However, by making all students do drugs, these teenagers will never be in an uncomfortable, unsure situation like that. Avoiding these situations will improve adolescent self-esteem, which has all sorts of benefits. This class on drugs would equalize all students and remove the need to pressure other kids into doing drugs, leading to improved social interactions for all students. Finally, this class provides students with a break from the stress of school and provides an opportunity to just relax. To begin with, this class provides the opportunity for a nap.
Sleep is something that teenagers are constantly lacking, and they often get high to provide the same relaxation that sleep gives. With this extra sleep will come better grades. Once, while writing an exam, I saw a sign with ‘pre-exam study tips’. While it was a little late for me, I noticed one of the tips was to get lots of sleep. Sleep re-energizes you and refreshes your mind so that you are prepared for class. By allowing students an opportunity for sleep within school, we will improve our students’ intelligence and grades.
Also, since teenagers need a break from stress, they often get high during class or skip class to get high. This dramatically lowers their grades because they no longer focus on learning. Another one of my friends continuously skipped physical education class to get high, thinking it was unnecessary to be present. As a result, he nearly failed. By allowing students to get an opportunity to relax that is not during academic class time, it will improve their marks and prevent failing since they will no longer miss class for the opportunity.
Another consequence of teenagers having drug relaxation breaks at school is that the smell and remains end up all through the hallways. This bad work environment prevents truly excellent learning. However, by having all of the drug use in one room at one time, we can keep schools clean. Clean environments always improve learning. This statement is exemplified in third world countries. Why, in these countries, do they work so hard to clean schools? So that the environment is safe, clean, and easier to learn in. The same applies to North American high schools.
By keeping the school clean of drug residue, we are creating a better learning environment, and raising grades. This class improves the school work of all students by providing a space to relax and keep all of their drugs separate from school. After all, can we really support the fact that our children so closely intertwine school and drugs? Having a History and Usage of Narcotics class mandatory for all students is a revolutionary, and yet, ironically, in my mind at least, also an incredibly simplistic idea to solve the drug use problem in our high schools.
The class would effectively eliminate all the reasons for which students do drugs: rebellion, curiosity, peer pressure, and stress, while therefore simultaneously removing all of the negative effects that drug use has on our youth. In fact, it strikes me as mildly surprising that our current caring, hard-working adult generation, who clearly care so thoroughly for their children and students, would not consider this solution in their serious and numerous debates about how to end teenage drug use.
How could it be that so many intelligent people, dedicated to their truly horrific punishments and harsh treatments could not consider such a serious proposition? I’m sure that all of our older generation could agree that having such a structured separation of drugs and school would really fix today’s youth. I think all mature adults can agree that our main goal is to perfect tomorrow by solving today. This solution fits perfectly with that mantra. After all, what better way to fix today’s generation than by imitating yesterday’s?