Illicit drug abuse among school and college students is a major issue in the United States. The issue needs to be addressed at every level. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) shows that 10.1% among youths aged 12 to 17 years are drug users. Drug abuse leads to negative consequences on the abusers as well as the society as a whole. Even though attention at every level is needed it is essential for schools and colleges to take preventive measures.
Schools and colleges should make sure that there is all-round development in students. They should focus on optimal growth of students – in terms of social, academic and career achievement.
Schools and colleges need to enforce the curricular, co-curricular and extra-curricular activities according to their academic programs. This keeps them busy in educative and learning activities. Such activities will keep them away from influence of illicit drugs.
- Schools and colleges need to frame rules to ensure an environment free from influence of illicit drugs. Zero-tolerance to drugs should be one of the academic policies.
- Once rules are in place, it is time to enforce them. For this, schools and colleges need to form panels of people from teaching personnel, parents, community and members of law enforcing agencies. This will make the program participatory.
Once the panel of overseeing people is formed, the people need to examine issues such as the infrastructure within the premises. This is important to make sure that any preventive measures enforced get the end results.
Parents should be made aware of zero-tolerance to drugs. They should be encouraged to participate in activities to develop a sense of community.
Make a plan
- The panel needs to decide the way of enforcing drug-free environment. They could do it in the form of monitoring students’ behavior within the premises.
- Authorities should make sure that students are well-aware of zero-tolerance to drug abuse. This is likely to be a deterrent to potential drug abusers, and will help the authorities enforce rules effectively.
Drug testing – scheduled and random
It is sensible for the authorities to administer drug-testing as per rules. They could go for scheduled drug testing or random drug testing, or a combination of the two, as the administrators may think essential.
Use FDA and SAMHSA approved drug test kits
While administering drug testing on students, make sure to use FDA and SAMHSA approved drug test kits. These kits fulfill the safety and quality standards as laid by the authorities.
Students spend a major part of their time in the day at schools/colleges. The school/college environment is likely to influence and shape their attitude. Taking measures in line with the points discussed above is likely to help ensure a drug free academic environment.