Drugs at Tallwood: An honest conversation

Drugs at Tallwood: An honest conversation

Noelani Stachurski

As of today, America is struggling with an ongoing opioid epidemic. According to recent data from the New York Times, “drug overdoses are the leading cause of death for Americans under 50”, and over two million Americans are estimated to have a problem with opioids (Katz). If this is such a crisis nationwide, what can we say about this issue locally?

Tallwood, like most high schools, has students who are drug users. It’s undeniable that some minors, especially those in the high school age group, are doing drugs. This isn’t exactly breaking news, especially for any student, and it shouldn’t be shocking.

But, parents and teachers, you have little to worry about. For this report, I surveyed 100 students at Tallwood. Although this should not be used to make generalizations about the whole school, it does reveal some telling facts.

The most popular drug overall, according to my survey, is marijuana. So why is this fact relevant? Well, according to The Washington Post, marijuana comes with “virtually no risk of death.” Although you can have too much and experience bad symptoms, chances of death directly from marijuana use are slim to none. There is only one instance of an overdose, and that was an 11 month old baby who died from myocarditis, and it is not entirely proven that it was the cannabis that killed him.

The survey I administered also provides some backup to my claims. Out of 100 Tallwood students surveyed, only 27% had done drugs before. Of that 27%, only 4% had been in a dangerous, harmful, or life-threatening situation because of drug use.

Although most of the students surveyed had never done drugs before, they were very honest about their understanding of the issue. Hypothetically, if a high school student wanted to get their hands on banned substances, most of these students claimed to know how to do that. By asking other people, getting them from a drug dealer, or “networking through the school,” respondents claimed it would be easy to get drugs, although most of them haven’t.

Of those 100 respondents, 68 claimed they had friend who did drugs. 57 percent of respondents claimed that either they or a friend had come to school while high at least once.

So why are some people at Tallwood doing drugs? The 100 students I surveyed were very aware of the reasons, reasons that point to bigger, more prevalent issues than the drugs themselves. Peer pressure and influence, depression, social reputation, relaxation, etc. These are just some of the reasons respondents explained why drugs are so popular among teens.

But the most frequently chosen reason was stress. Could it be that some students are willing to risk consequences to get a hold of a substance just to feel relaxed, to feel feelings, to get away from the typical high school worries?

Parents, teachers, students- we shouldn’t be afraid to talk about drugs. We shouldn’t be afraid to address the growing elephant in the room. If there is an underlying issue that deals with mental health, or something going on at school, then this is something that must be talked about.

Bad decisions are a part of growing up; most adults will laugh at the mistakes they made in their past when they were teens just trying to figure out themselves. I’m not condoning the use of drugs or asking for leniency, but we, as a community, must try to understand underlying reasons for drug use. We will not fix the problem if we do not understand it. Most students turn to drugs due to stress and mental health concerns. For all students, we need more than just a quick fix.

If you see someone who looks like they need help, don’t let them make another bad decision. If you or a loved one is in need of help, please call the hotlines: 1-877-721-4913, 888-502-8286, 1-800-662-HELP(4357) or visit these websites for more information: https://www.samhsa.gov/ https://www.therecoveryvillage.com https://drugabuse.com

Katz, Josh. “Short Answers to Hard Questions About the Opioid Crisis.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 10 Aug. 2017, www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/08/03/upshot/opioid-drug-overdose-epidemic.html.

Lowe, Josh. “Doctors Claim They Have Uncovered the First Death from a Pot Overdose.”Newsweek, Newsweek LLC, 16 Nov. 2017, www.newsweek.com/marijuana-death-colorado-baby-713284.

Silverman, Ellie. “The Truth behind the ‘First Marijuana Overdose Death’ Headlines.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 17 Nov. 2017, www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2017/11/17/the-truth-behind-the-first-marijuana-overdose-death/?utm_term=.eefcb7c8c0b8.

Below are the stories included in Volume 3, Issue 4 of The Roaring Gazette:

Tallwood to try a one lunch schedule by Aniyah Lewis

Drugs at Tallwood: An honest conversation by Noelani Stachurski

Tallwood students react to recent state election by Chris Purkiss

Lion Voices: What is your favorite class? by Frances Summers

Meet a Lion: Mrs. Zhang by Mitchell Durant

Do grades motivate students? by Khyannia Banks

Meet a Lion: Mr. Jason Ordonio by Aaliyah Alli

U.S. should recognize the contributions of Latina women by Ashley Archila-Ventura

“Kevin (probably) Saves the World” is (definitely) worth your time by Morgana Nicholson

Don’t bother boarding this train by Ashley Mallinson

Blandness reigns at the multiplex by Ashley Mallinson