Drug abuse is a major issue in today’s society with serious consequences. Due to the availability of drugs widely, most the people in society use them and students are of the users of drugs in American society. Although schools do not encourage the use of drugs, many students start using drugs when they come to go to school due to peer influence. The increased use of drugs in schools is a major concern of society and the school administration. According to research, the use of certain drugs such as marijuana increased from 23-30 percent in the past year (Mohler-Kuo, Lee, & Wechsler, 2003). As it affects the academic and non-academic aspects of the student’s lives. The use of drugs demotivates the students making them lazy resulting in poor performance. Students under influence cannot learn even if they are present in the class but most of them are likely to miss the classes. Drug use during school also has negative impacts in the long term. As drugs have negative impacts on students, the school must collaborate with the community to control the use and abuse of drugs by the students. Community schools can play a role in reducing drug use in schools as they can build holistic collaborative efforts to improve the schools and community life.
Drug abuse can affect the students negatively influencing their performance in school and life. The research shows the academic performance of students is strongly related to substance abuse. Drug users whether alcohol, marijuana, or others achieve lower grades in school. For instance, the high school students involved in alcohol earned Ds and Fs in their classes. Similarly, students aged 12-17 who used marijuana got Ds and Fs in their courses (NIDA, 2017). As the drugs affect brain functioning heavy drinking and getting high on marijuana can create problems in processing the information in class. Additionally, alcohol impairs the memory of the person during intoxication. The person cannot recall the events even if the person attends classes(Diego, Field, & Sanders, 2003). Marijuana and alcohol can affect the sleep cycle negatively which also interferes with the learning process. Moreover, the drugs not only lower their grades and performance in school, it also makes them lazy and ill-prepared to take responsibility in their later lives.
They become underachievers in their work life as well. They cannot build a strong relationship and keep them for longer as their moods depend largely on the doses of drugs. As relationships and work need strong commitment, drug users are unlikely to persist (Johnston, 2010). Consequently, the college students involved in drugs have serious implications for life. Also, the students involved with drugs are more likely to be involved in risky behavior. The students are more likely to have risky sexual behavior. The males usually have multiple partners and do not use protection due to which they are susceptible to AIDs and other contagious diseases. Some of the assaults on campus and unwanted pregnancies are due to the use of drugs or heavy drinking (Pillon, O’Brien, & Chavez, 2005). Furthermore, the students using drugs have high rates of mental illness such as depression and anxiety. They are depressed because of their lifestyle and academic performance due to which they use multiple and heavy doses of the drug, which reinstates the cycle and maintains the misery of the students.
Consequently, the issue of drug use in school must be taken seriously. The school administration, community, parents, teachers, and students must work together to combat the problem of the prevalent drug use problem in the school. One way of helping the students would be using the community school systems and implementing them to improve the conditions of the students as they are a significant part of society and the future of society.
Therefore, the community school system can assist the students as well as the communities to grow positively and contribute to society as they value the quality and holistic development of the students. Community schools are collaborative schools focusing on quality and partnerships. They collaborate with the parents as well as governmental and non-governmental and community institutes to improve the students learning. They focus on planning and implementing of feasible plans that yield positive results for society (Palmer, McMahon, Moreggi, Rounsaville, & Ball, 2012). They have a proper check and balance system between the schools and the community handling the school problems. They focus on solving the problem by bringing together all the shareholders as it affects everyone in the society. They believe in action including community and their concern to responding to a problem confronting the society or the school (Blank, Melaville, & Shah, 2003). They are accountable and transparent in their actions and plans. Most of the time community schools focus on compassion, understanding, and decision-making. They evaluate the impact of their actions on society (Mears & Knight, 2007). Hence, they can be helpful in combating the drug use issue of the school, as it is very complex and cannot be solved with the efforts of the school and its administration.
All shareholders and members of the community must contribute to combating the drug abuse problem in the school. The school can educate the students about drugs and their impacts on the students and their lives. Schools or governmental organizations or non-governmental organizations can train the parents to listen to the problems of their children (IEL, 2017). They can train the parents to understand and respond to their children to help them from using drugs. They can answer the questions at home if the child is curious about a drug. Additionally, the trainers, therapists, and community leaders can assist the students who need help in changing their habits of drug use.
The therapists can train parents as well as the children to respond to their concerns (Diego et al., 2003). They can educate and monitor their children while positively intervening in their lives. The government can introduce certain leadership programs and control the distribution of drugs in the community. The community collaborative leadership programs assist the students in developing positive and healthy habits. Thus, all the stakeholders can play their role in planning and implementing the plans. They can share their ideas and missions of the school to create a positive impact on society. Such plans of collaborative work focused on student contributions as well (NIDA, 2017). As they are affected by the school and community policies, all the plans must include their involvement. The student’s input must be prioritized, as they know the triggers. Hence, the collaborative approach would engage the members, all the stakeholders making them responsible for the lives of the students as well as the parents and teachers (IEL, 2017).
The involvement of all the stakeholders can be an effective way of responding to the problem of student drug use. For instance, the students understand their problems or curiosities. If they are attracted to a drug, they must know whether it was recreational, due to depression, or curiosity. Consequently, listening to the student and including them in the decision-making would help to understand and respond to the problem (IEL, 2017). Similarly, the role of the therapist or school must be clearly stated in the process of helping students and freeing the school from drugs. They can come up with educational programs and certain bans and checkup procedures in the school to discourage possession of illicit or licit drugs. However, the school must inform the parents and take them in confidence before implementing any policies.
The rationale must be known to the school, students, parents, and other involved organizations. Moreover, the policies must be clear (Blank, Melaville, & Shah, 2003). For example, if students are prohibited from bringing drugs into campus, the consequences of the violation must be written and available to the students. Every student must know the school’s healthcare center and the therapist’s office hours and the purpose of the provision of the facility in the school. The school and parents must show compassion for the students who are involved in drugs instead of condemning them and judging them. The considerate behavior might be helpful for the students to change their behavior. The school and community can introduce certain physical activities to reduce stress and improve healthy life for the students.
The use of the drug is a serious issue and it has certain consequences for all the involved groups. Use and possession of illegal drugs can lead to legal action as possession and use of certain drugs before a certain age is illegal. Therefore, it must be approached with care. The students must be told about the legal problems that they might face if they continue to use the drugs. The use of drugs also has a certain political history as the famous war on drugs has a racist undertone. The community schools must respond to the problem by analyzing the political, legal, social, and emotional issues and implications for the community and individuals.
To conclude, drug abuse is a serious issue in school. Therefore, certain steps must be taken such as collaborating with the community and incorporating all the stakeholders to respond to the issue of drug abuse. The aim of such a collaborative approach is to reduce the harms that drug use inflicts on the students improving their performance in school and social life.
Blank, M. J., Melaville, A., & Shah, B. P. (2003). Making the Difference: Research and Practice in Community Schools. ERIC.
Diego, M. A., Field, T. M., & Sanders, C. E. (2003). Academic performance, popularity, and depression predict adolescent substance use. Adolescence, 38(149), 35.
IEL. (2017). The Community School Standards [Org]. Retrieved from http://www.communityschools.org/assets/1/Page/Community-School%20Standards-Updatesd2017.pdf
Johnston, L. D. (2010). Monitoring the future: National survey results on drug use, 1975-2008: Volume II: College students and adults ages 19-50. DIANe Publishing.
Mears, C. J., & Knight, J. R. (2007). The role of schools in combating illicit substance abuse. Pediatrics, 120(6), 1379–1384.
Mohler-Kuo, M., Lee, J. E., & Wechsler, H. (2003). Trends in marijuana and other illicit drug use among college students: results from 4 Harvard School of Public Health College Alcohol Study surveys: 1993–2001. Journal of American College Health, 52(1), 17–24.
NIDA. (2017). Monitoring the Future Survey: High School and Youth Trends [Gov]. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/monitoring-future-survey-high-school-youth-trends
Palmer, R. S., McMahon, T. J., Moreggi, D. I., Rounsaville, B. J., & Ball, S. A. (2012). College student drug use: Patterns, concerns, consequences, and interest in intervention. Journal of College Student Development, 53(1).
Pillon, S. C., O’Brien, B., & Chavez, K. A. P. (2005). The relationship between drugs use and risk behaviors in brazilian university students. Revista Latino-Americana de Enfermagem, 13(SPE2), 1169–1176. https://doi.org/10.1590/S0104-11692005000800011