Keeping Our Teens Safe from Drug Use at School
Teen drug use and substance addiction have continued to rise at an alarmingly steady rate, driving serious concerns about health and safety. Motivating parents and educational professionals to discuss proactive options for keeping kids safe. Methods such as drug prevention programs, addiction education, and random drug testing in schools are helping to make a difference and deter teens from making life-changing – and potentially life-ending – mistakes.
Teen Drug Use: Surprising Statistics
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 20 percent of high school students across the U.S. currently use marijuana, with almost 35 percent of those who have ever used it reporting that they tried it before the age of 14. Other substances, such as synthetic marijuana, report similarly high rates of usage. Texas school districts reported higher than average use of synthetic marijuana, with up to 12.3 percent of students admitting having tried it.
While marijuana has become a popular drug among teens, it’s not the only dangerous and illegal substance being abused. Here are just a few of the alarming statistics addressing the abuse of illegal substances by teens across the U.S.:
- About 4.8 percent of teens in the U.S. reported using cocaine at least once.
- More than 5 percent of teens have used ecstasy, a drug popularly used in the “party scene.”
- Heroin, an extremely dangerous substance, has been tried by 2.5 percent of teenagers.
- Inhalants, which are found in everyday products like glue or spray paint, have a usage rate of 7.7 percent among American teens.
While these statistics show that teen drug use is still a widespread issue, there is good news. Rates of use among teens have dropped for many teens, with the past several years showing slight declines in the percentage of teens who have tried marijuana, cocaine, and hallucinogenics. Many experts believe that drug prevention efforts have contributed to these positive changes.
How to Prevent Teen Drug Use
One of the most important things you can do to prevent teen drug use is to have open, honest conversations with your teen about the dangers of drug use. Being aware of the signs and symptoms of drug use is also important, and a professionally-administered drug test is an excellent tool for both prevention and dealing with suspected use.
Is Drug Testing in Schools Legal?
In response to mounting rates of teen drug abuse and addiction, the U.S. Supreme Court expanded the authority of public schools to administer random, on-campus drug testing. This 2002 ruling has finally opened the door for schools to make effective use of a method that’s been shown to have a direct impact on the rate of teen drug use. While specific laws and regulations can vary by state – and even school district – there is now increased conversation surrounding the value of random drug testing and its ability to reduce teens’ illegal drug use.
Learn More about Drug Testing in Schools
Are you a parent or educational professional that’s interested in learning more about available options for drug testing in Texas schools? ARCpoint Labs of Austin North is a professional lab provider, offering a wide range of testing solutions to support the health and safety of our youth. We’re prepared to work with school staff, parent-teacher organizations, advocacy groups, and more to help provide on-campus drug testing options to deter student drug use and aid in early detection.
Together, we can stand on the front lines against youth drug use and addiction, working together to provide tangible, real-world solutions to the serious drug-related issues teens are facing today. Contact ARCpoint Labs of Austin North today to learn more about how we can help implement preventive solutions to safeguard against teen drug abuse at your local school.
Image Credit: Getty Images / Prostock-Studio