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Double the Pressure - Drugs and Alcohol Use and Control at East

As a kid, you grow up being taught that drugs and alcohol are unexceptable, but as you begin to go through that weird and challenging time known as high school, there are so many factors that can cause you to doubt your childhood consciousness. Between peer pressure and stress, or even just wanting to have a good time, teenagers begin to make certain decisions that can have more negative than positive outcomes. While many teenagers can say that they have tried drugs or alcohol before, most don’t realize the consequences that can occur in the moment. Some believe that they are invincible, and in the moment, don’t realize that a laced xanax or “just one more” beer could end in the worst night of their lives.


During the 2019-2020 school year at East, a senior got very drunk at homecoming and put their college scholarship on the line all to have one “fun” night. Another group of students got caught juuling in class, and though they weren’t suspended, they had to go through a second chance program online. Similarly, a few girls got pulled out of Morp for drinking very obviously, and many got suspended for a day or two. Though most of these consequences don’t seem like they could affect you, long term consequences have the possibility of happening. Some teenagers don’t think about consequences in general, as one student off of campus got arrested after being highly intoxicated and had to go to court.


While there are many consequences to drug and alcohol use, there are adults who don’t handle these situations in an equitable manner. Though the administrators and adults at East High School have the interest of the students at heart and want all of the students to be safe, some of the adults use their power to their advantage. One student explained how a dean pulled a group out of a football game because “one of them smelled” and gave them an ultimatum: If one of them came clean, the others could go without consequences.


Though there were lots of students who were stumbling and falling down bleachers, less intoxicated students who got pulled out of the homecoming game due to “observation” by the deans felt as if they couldn’t trust their judgement as did some parents. Furthermore, when deans were asked by the students if they’d breathalyze them to prove that they weren’t drunk at the homecoming game, the deans simply said that they weren’t allowed to, showing their credibility was only based on observation. While there were administrators that had sympathy, other administrators only cared about getting students caught rather than the safety and best interest of all of the students. If administrators are going to pull students out of school events for drugs and alcohol, they should have an objective way of assessing and identifying if students are under the influence.


Despite the fact that there are consequences and a negative side to drugs and alcohol, not every teenager feels like they have a choice. Everyone has a choice, and the worst feeling that a teenager can experience is peer pressure. Most teenagers try drugs and alcohol because all of their friends are doing it and don’t want to be judged. One student commented that the only reason his friends drink is because they don’t want to feel excluded. Lots of teenagers only think about how other peers will react if they don’t drink or use drugs, they don’t want to be outcasts. Especially as a high schooler, everyone wants to feel like they fit in, and if the people they are around drink and use drugs constantly, they will be doing the same thing. Another student explained how one of her ex’s friends would call her names and make her feel guilty if she didn’t smoke with her. According to National Center Drug Abuse Statistics (NCDAS) 86% of teenagers know someone who drinks, smokes, or uses drugs during the school day.


So, while many teenagers use drugs and drink, there are consequences that go with it. Though some adults aren’t capable of correctly handling these situations, there are some adults that have teenagers' best interest and are understanding. The choice of drug use and drinking is always up to a person, even though peer pressure plays into it.


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