Students Can Avoid High Drugs, Alcohol Use


Staff members have placed a few pamphlets as a resource for students to explore and use. These pamphlets are located on a shelf inside the guidance office.

Mercedes Nesbit, Editor-in-Chief

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, nearly 40 percent of 10th graders and 51 percent of 12th graders reported drinking alcohol within the past month. Although the United States has an age requirement of 21 to consume alcohol, and almost all recreational drugs are illegal, adolescents seem to be able to acquire and consume these substances without difficulty.

“It’s very much across the board. It doesn’t have to do with gender or age. It’s across all socioeconomic levels,” said nurse Therese Beilsmith.

Although both genders are equally prone to alcohol or drug use, statistics show that boys are more likely to binge drink, while girls do not. However, drinking and drug use can be just as dangerous, if not more so, for girls.

“For females, especially since our bodies are different, intoxication happens more quickly [after using] smaller amounts,” said Beilsmith.

In some cases, alcohol and drug use can be controlled. In others, usage can quickly turn into abuse.

“It may be something then people can enjoy and walk away from, but many others cannot. If we are honest with ourselves then I think we can deal with it and move forth and not get into a situation where we have too much,” said Beilsmith.

After becoming addicted to alcohol or drugs, it is very difficult for someone, especially adolescents to stop using.

“I think maybe some people don’t show an immediate addiction, and they can go a long time before it [requires] treatment. Sometimes, people lose everything before they seek help,” said Beilsmith.

According to the CDC, 30 percent of high schoolers reported drinking some sort of alcohol within the past 30 days.  Using drugs and alcohol can distract students from their studies and extracurricular activities.

“Powerlifting and CrossFit are very important to me and if I were to do drugs or drink [alcohol], that would hurt my health and prevent me from being the best I can be,” said junior Emma Hampton.

“[Drugs and alcohol] can distract students by taking up their time and not letting them do good work,” said senior Etai Dean.

Despite the widespread availability and use, many students are able to avoid using drugs and alcohol.

“Students could either avoid places where they know there will be drugs or alcohol or simply say no and refuse to participate. [They can]  make sure it is known they are not participating,” said Hampton.

In addition to refusing drugs and alcohol, students have the opportunity to join many different anti-drug and alcohol use programs such as the Stand-up Nine and D.A.R.E. programs. These programs aim to educate students about the dangers of drugs and alcohol and promote drug free environments and activities.

“I think the main thing is education, Also, we [need to be] able to see what’s going with some interactions within the students,” said Beilsmith.