Archive for January, 2012
A recent survey was done from among the 14 district schools in central Wisconsin revealed that only three schools implement random or scheduled drug tests for newly hired employees to determine if they had drug encounters prior to their employment in their school.
From the 5900 employed staff in 14 school districts, only 2325 underwent drug testing and passed before they were completely hired.
The issue of drug testing for school staff became controversial when several Antigo and Merrill school district employees were suspended last week after admitting to the Langlade County Sheriff’s Department that they engaged in marijuana use and selling in the recent months based on the court documents that were made available to the media.
D.C. Everest Area School District human resource director Kim Hall says that passing a drug test has become a very important factor when they offer jobs to prospective employees. “A drug screen can tell a lot about a candidate. We want good staff.”
On the other hand, Antigo school district does not require pre-hire drug tests. Only employees who are suspected or appear to be under the influence will be subjected to drug testing. Failing the test means an employee can be immediately fired from the job.
When other school districts were asked why they do not have a drug testing policy for employees, authorities said they did not see the need for such policy as they have never experienced having employees linked to any drugs issues.
As of Tuesday, there were 134 respondents to the survey which can be accessed at www.powaytownhall.com yielding results that suggest the need for the implementation of random drug testing among athletes, more effective crackdown on “party buses” which transport teens, and transparency on drug-related issues in school campuses.
According to Steve Vaus who initiated the community forum, respondents were given the following choices in answering questions to the online survey: absolutely, possibly, undecided, and no way. Comments were also welcomed along with their answers.
It was no surprise that 90% of those who took the survey favored drug testing for school athletes, 67% saying “absolutely” and 23% said “possibly.”
There were also 86% who said that they wanted to be informed about drug or alcohol offenses on campus, 75% saying “absolutely” and 11% choosing “possibly.”
With regards to “party buses,” 82% said they wanted to have a total ban on such vehicles that transport teens to events which often carry drugs and liquor too.
Interesting comments gathered from the online survey include one participant stating parents should stop allowing their kids to use their credit cards to reserve party buses. Others also added that they have not heard of reports of student arrests or anything about substance abuse from campuses.
Comments like “when kids get caught, don’t sweep it under the rug,” and “withhold names, but publish everything about arrests and anything/everything that has to do with substance abuse,” and “how about parents stop letting their kids use their credit cards to reserve party buses. Parents, step up and get tough,” only prove that people are concerned about issues affecting the youth.
What is drunkorexia? This condition happens when teens forego eating and use their money to buy more alcoholic drinks. When they don’t have anything in their stomach, the effects of alcohol are magnified and faster.
Parents should be warned about this trend and they should be always on the lookout if their kids are into this type of situation. Recent studies from the American College Health Association have shown that 31% of students are already diagnosed for alcohol abuse and 6% are already alcohol dependents.
It has also been noted that most girls who drink have another reason for becoming victims of drunkorexia. Data results confirmed that 16% of women student drinkers have eating disorders and alcohol habits, in the hopes of losing more calories and shed the weight.
The dangers of alcohol abuse are very alarming, and combining them with eating disorders is a sure way of creating very disastrous conditions. The long-term and short-term effects of such habits could affect not only the physical development of a child but could very well hit the cognitive abilities of a student, which is often manifested through poor academic performance.
As high school is a highly stressful phase, drunkorexia can yield tragic results especially when body image and peer pressure are put on a spotlight. This is why it is very important to not only put a stop to alcohol, but to guide teens on how to cope with their problems and the stresses that they encounter.
Kentucky State Reps. Jody Richards and Jim DeCesare are both backing up a bill which will make drug testing for people who are receiving public assistance a mandatory procedure.
“If you’re drug tested for a private job, why shouldn’t you be drug tested for public assistance? If you have nothing to hide, then there shouldn’t be a problem,” Rep. DeCesare said.
The drug testing bill has been introduced during last year’s General Assembly but it has made very little progress.
Drug testing will be done only if a caseworker suspects substance abuse from a recipient. The suspected individual will then be subjected to drug testing and should he fail, he will be given a list of substance abuse treatment facilities in the area. Children of recipients who fail the drug test will still continue to receive public assistance.
“I think it could be practical in its implementation,” Rep. Richards stated. “I think most people think that it’s fair. If you’re on assistance, you should be drug tested.”
Another bill scheduled to be tackled is one authored by Richards that pertains to the health and wellness of state employees. The Kentucky Personnel Cabinet will be required to create programs which will improve the health and wellness of state employees if the said bill should pass legislation.
Incentives will be given to those who participate in such programs. The state will source the funds from their current annual budget as well as from surplus funds from previous years.
“There are incentives for people to reduce weight, stop smoking,” according to Rep. Richards. “With Kentucky being such an unhealthy state, I think this is really important. It’s important to hold down expenses on health care as much as we can.”
Simon Cowell is taking concrete steps towards getting rid of his 15-a-day cigarette habit, and has begun treatment at an addiction clinic.
The 52-year-old music mogul is seeking help at a top facility in London, giving in to the urging of friends and family to stop smoking. Cowell had admitted that he started smoking at the age of eight. He was also quoted as saying that he loved to smoke, and that he equated smoking with “having a good time.”
Max Clifford, spokesman for Simon Cowell, gave the following statement: “Simon is a very healthy guy who looks after himself diet-wise very well. But he has made a New Year’s resolution to give up, or at least significantly cut back, on his smoking.”
A report on The People revealed that Cowell has a family history of lung cancer. His mother, 87-year-old Julie, had shared: “My father Robert was a heavy smoker like Simon and he died of lung cancer at the age of 62.”
A source had shared with the paper that the Britain’s Got Talent judge felt that is was time to quit his habit. The source said: “He’s been smoking since a very young age and feels the time is now right to try to stop. He has no major health issues at the moment, but, as always, he is under a lot of pressure with his work schedule. Simon’s mother and some of his closest friends have been nagging him for some time to stop smoking. His grandfather Robert was a heavy smoker who died of lung cancer. His father suffered a heart attack. It made Simon think long and hard about his own health now.”
It’s not really possible to label teens today with just a few adjectives. Each teen has his own personality that makes him unique from the others. At one point, we may encounter a kid who’s too shy and on the other hand, we could see someone who oozes with confidence and is totally uncontrollable.
Recent studies, though, are suggesting that kids who are bolder, adventurous and risk-takers are more susceptible to substance abuse. This condition may be explained by the findings that prove both risk-taking activities and drug abuse greatly affect a teen’s system of rewards in the brain.
This means that kids who are often on the extreme side of things could be craving for anything that could trigger neural activities which make them feel good about themselves and their whole being. This is where substance abuse may come in as this habit also offers the same feeling of euphoria even for just a short time.
The study does not generalize risk-taking teens as substance abusers or addicts. While preliminary studies may show the relationship between extreme physical and mental activities and drug or alcohol susceptibility, the findings are not yet solid enough to be considered as conclusive. This is why more researches are being done to be able to uncover more possible contributing factors of teen substance abuse.
It is advised that parents do their roles in keeping their kids safe and healthy at all times no matter what kind of personality their children may have. For those with kids who have the potential to become high-risk takers, they could find other channels for their kids to put on the extra energy. Parents can even be with their children in doing extreme activities to be able to guide kids properly. Teaching kids about proper rewards system may also help in the right development of a child’s mentality.