Archive for August, 2011
Many school districts have implemented or at least proposed for a drug testing policy for students. The programs met different reactions for and against the policies. In the case of the Illinois Bluffs School District in Glasford, Illinois, teachers have been on strike for 8 days over a new board policy that called for random drug testing of teachers.
The union and the school board could not come to an agreement in as far as the new policy is concerned, and that the district is in the process of looking for temporary replacement teachers in the coming week, to cover those who are participating in the strike.
The teachers’ union is saying that only the teachers whom the administration believes has probable cause for testing should undergo drug testing. A federal mediator is set to handle the case over the weekend.
The anti-drug regulations of the United States Army indicate the full-scale battle that the service is waging against designer drugs.
Aside from a ban on “spice,” or synthetic marijuana, the Army has also issued warnings against mephedrone, or “bath salts.” A similar ban as that against spice may soon be in place for bath salts.
Lt. Col. Shaun Bailey, chief of the drug testing branch of the United States Army, shared: “It’s an emerging drug of concern to us and we’ve already blasted out [the message] that commanders need to be aware of it.”
Army regulations have a blanket ban against any substance that may cause “excitement, intoxication, or stupefaction.” The revision, however, will explicitly ban synthetic cannabinoids, in very much the same way that heroin, cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamines are banned for Army, Guard, and Reserve personnel.
It is important for parents to keep track of their children and their activities. In today’s tough and dangerous times, kids could find so many reasons to be off track and get into different types of troubles. Parents should be first on the line of defense when their children lose their way.
One of the most common teen problems is substance abuse and dependency. But are parents equipped and ready to deal with this difficulty? Here are some ideas on how the habit develops among teens and some warning signals for parents.
The first stage could be difficult to notice especially when kids try hard to hide it from their parents. When children are into some kind of substance abuse, they do it on their own in the beginning which allows them to keep it from their parents and other persons. In this case, parents should be on the lookout if kids become curious as to the effects of drugs and alcohol in the body.
The second stage involves friends and groups. The need to fit in and have fun with friends could become the driving force why children do these dangerous habits. At this time, kids will have control on the amount that they take, usually just enough to be accepted by their peers.
At the third stage, signs of substance abuse and dependency can be more obvious to parents. Parents can see changes in their child’s behavior and problems begin to pile up. During this stage, teens become more tolerant to the effects of drugs or alcohol and so their consumption increases. They might get into trouble with the law too if the situation isn’t controlled.
Finally, the fourth stage is the most complicated and difficult time to deal with teens. At this point, extreme situations occur such as getting suspended or expelled from school, having eating and sleeping disorders, stealing money from parents and other people, and collapse of overall physical health. This is where kids already have the need to take drugs or alcohol daily and the boundaries between right and wrong vanish.
As a result of teens’ lack of experience, they are faced with a lot of issues linked to alcohol use. It is important for parents to identify these teen issues and plan out measures that the whole family should take to prevent serious consequences.
1. Most adults who are into alcohol addiction started their alcohol encounters during their adolescent years. According to earlier reports, each year that a teen holds back on drinking, he lessens his chances of dependence in his adult life by 14%. This is why teens and their parents should work together to delay introduction of alcohol into a teen’s system.
2. Academic performance usually takes a toll whenever a teen drinks regularly. Previous studies from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have shown that kids who do not drink have much better scholastic achievements compared to those who use alcohol. Teens who drink will have poor grades and this translates to lower chances of getting into a good school. Not enough education could lead to unemployment which leads to troubled economic conditions later on in life.
3. One of the most serious consequences of teen alcohol abuse is teenage pregnancy and the proliferation of sexually-transmitted diseases among the teen population. When teens get intoxicated, their behaviors are affected and their sexual urges become uncontrollable.
4. Depressed teenagers could become more susceptible to their suicidal tendencies when they drink. There are some instances that teens who suffer from depression and those affected by anxiety turn to alcohol as a quick solution to their problems. Each year, the CDC attributes at least 300 cases of suicide to alcohol use.
In their quest to help Santa Barbara High School students in the battle against substance abuse, District Attorney Joyce Dudley and County Sheriff Bill Brown have announced that they will be sharing the chairmanship of the upcoming Summit for Danny on October 29 in the hills of Montecito.
The Annual Summit for Danny Community Climb, which is now on its 11th year, is one of the many efforts that help raise funds to be used for drug and alcohol prevention and treatment programs for the youth of Santa Barbara.
DA Dudley and Sheriff Brown, who are also members of the Santa Barbara’s Fighting Back Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse Steering Committee, are the best persons to chair the event. They both know the present situation of kids in their area and they know exactly how to address the present difficulties.
Sheriff Brown said that “drug and alcohol abuse is so pervasive in our community…it is at the root of most of the crimes we prosecute. I understand the devastating effect that substance abuse has on individuals, families and the entire community. If we can put people on the road to recovery by giving them hope and a helping hand, we make our community a healthier, safer place.”
The Summit for Danny event raises funds by having families and other concerned citizens go through a hiking summit which will benefit the Daniel Bryant Youth and Family Center. The center caters to troubled teens aged 12 to 18 years old. It was founded by Bob Bryant, a local businessman who lost his son Danny to drug overdose. Since their humble beginnings 11 years ago, the center has helped families to overcome such problems so that Danny’s fate will not be repeated.
The Student Assistance Program of the Eagle Valley High School has come up with a new program that will help fight drugs and alcohol abuse and other teen problems. The program called “Safe to Tell” allows kids to refer their peers who are or might be into substance abuse to school officials while keeping their identities anonymous.
Eric Mandeville, assistant principal of Eagle Valley High, reiterates the important role of schools in the continuing battle against teen drug and alcohol problems. He says the program is divided into two parts: the first part is when school officials catch the students involved and the second part is where kids are counseled and treated from their addictions.
Under Safe to Tell, teens who are taken into custody by school officials will be interviewed, tested, and their parents will be summoned. If proven guilty, a student may be suspended. Counseling will be provided and troubled students will be given an expulsion prevention plan to work on.
Eagle Valley High will be implementing random drug testing for students joining extra-curricular activities. Support groups will be made available for students whose parents face the same situation of drug and alcohol abuse.
Mike Gass, the school’s executive director for student services, tells parents and the whole community that the steps they are adopting are all part of their measures to cope with today’s changing conditions. In today’s tough times, substance abuse among kids is a big challenge not only for the educational system but for the whole country as well.
Another issue that the school is addressing is medical marijuana. “We see tons of medical marijuana and people are reselling it to our kids. People who are old enough to have a card, 18, are bringing it into the schools,” Gass said. “What used to be recreational has now become something of the norm in some groups of kids.”