I'm responding to the article Feb. 21 Empire article about drug use at Juneau's high schools. Although I do believe that many students have stopped using O.C. (Oxycontin), I can't help but laugh at how all these adults think they have made such a huge difference on the drug problem by putting up fliers and talking to kids in school about it.
It also surprises me to hear so many people say that drug testing is what is slowing the problem down. I strongly disagree. I want to make it clear that if this "drug awareness" convinced anybody to stop, it was a small number.
You think we all didn't know it was bad for us before? Everybody knew, and everybody knew at least one person that was doing it. We all saw the addiction and the huge cost to do the drug, but it didn't make a difference. Scare tactics and bribes don't work for teens. The Empire article ignored or glossed over key factors in the decrease of drug use: many users graduated, many dealers were busted, and OC users have a reputation now for not being trustworthy.
I can't help but point out that it's being said that mandatory drug testing has lowered the number of athletes using drugs, but I disagree on that as well. There have been many student athletes who have done drugs or have consumed alcohol on a Friday, and showed up clean the day of their test, because the substance is already out of their system.
Somehow, many of the kids who should have failed, haven't. I've known of a few separate cases with different people smoking weed just days before their test and somehow passing. Some of the kids with serious drug problems have dropped out of sports, which gives them more time to use. Actually, I know of a few teens who have gone to harder drugs such as acid, heroin, ecstacy or meth because they don't stay in your system as long as marijuana.
How can the community say that they are the reason that the drug problem has become less severe? Oxy isn't that big anymore, but drugs are still out there and being used everyday. People haven't stopped - they just got smarter about it. Oxy might be out, but there are many other drugs available and being used and many more to come. Saying that it's because we're addressing the problem is schools is just being naïve.
As one voice in the school, I'm getting sick of people taking credit for teens becoming smarter. Putting up a flier isn't changing our awareness, and the drug testing is just making students switch to harder drugs.
Senior at Juneau-Douglas High School
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