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Drug Abuse in High Schools

Drug Abuse in High SchoolsUsing drugs at any age comes with many risks and consequences. In the high school years, students often feel invincible. These students might use drugs thinking that nothing bad will happen to them. Unfortunately, the consequences of drug abuse at this age can come as a harsh reality. Poor school performance and dropout may occur in addition to possible health and legal consequences when high school students abuse drugs.

Commonly Abused Drugs in High Schools

Because the resources of high school students are often limited, certain drugs are more commonly abused than others at this age. According to the 2012 Monitoring the Future Survey by the University of Michigan, marijuana, synthetic marijuana, Adderall, Vicodin, and cough medicine are the five most commonly used illicit drugs and pharmaceuticals among twelfth-graders.

Marijuana is a psychoactive drug derived from the cannabis plant. Despite that it is still illegal for recreational use, marijuana has become increasingly accepted for medicinal use. Recent findings of marijuana benefits have contributed to an increase in its recreational use among high school students. According to the 2012 Monitoring the Future Survey, use of drugs like marijuana increases as students’ perception of the drug’s risk decreases.

Synthetic marijuana, the second most commonly abused drug among high school students, is more commonly known as “Spice” or “K2”. These drugs are herbal mixtures with synthetically incorporated cannabinoids, which act similarly on the brain to the psychoactive component of marijuana. Until recently, these drugs were legal to possess and use. Despite its newly prohibited status, synthetic marijuana is still frequently used by high school students.

Effects of Drug Abuse in High School

Of the many effects that come from drug abuse, poor school performance is one of the most common at this age. Marijuana and other drugs can interfere with attention and short-term memory. This may not only cause classroom disruptions, but can also result in poor performance on quizzes and tests. In addition, high school dropouts are more likely to be involved in drug use.

In addition to poor school performance, students who use drugs at school may face legal consequences. Possession of drugs in the school setting can result in expulsion, even if the drug was not being used. Most schools maintain a zero-tolerance policy with these rules. In addition, the school system may notify the police, resulting in possible criminal charges.

The risk of health consequences increases particularly for those high school students who steal prescription drugs from their family members. Vicodin, the fourth most commonly abused substance by high school students, is a prescription painkiller that is usually acquired through stealing. When an adolescent uses medications without proper knowledge, there is a greater risk of side effects. This is because they are often unaware of the correct dosing. Possible overdose and death are consequences that may occur from this lack of knowledge.

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