The student news site of Eden Prairie High School

Eagle News Network

The student news site of Eden Prairie High School

Eagle News Network

The student news site of Eden Prairie High School

Eagle News Network

Understanding Student Drag Abuse

The journey to recovery.

By the time it takes you to finish this article, 1 person will die from drugs. 

The main cause of this is drug abuse. Drug abuse is the habitual use of addictive substances, according to the 2022 Minnesota student survey. 

In the last couple of years, the use of drugs has gone down substantially in the Minnesota student population. Now only 14% of 11th graders have used an e-cigarette in the past 30 days compared to 26% in 2019. With the drop in the use of e-cigarettes when asked about how drug abuse has changed in the past couple of years, Steven Banks, a social worker at our school stated, “I think the amount and the frequency of use [drugs] hasn’t changed, but, the things kids are using nowadays are a lot more dangerous than they have been in the past. And kids don’t know what they’re getting into a lot of times.” Since the mostly benevolent invention of e-cigarettes, it has turned into a new drug that kids use not for their original purpose, which is helping people quit smoking cigarettes. But now kids are skipping the cigarettes and going straight for vapes.

But e-cigarettes are not the only drugs teens use, according to the American Addiction Center 35% of 12th graders smoked marijuana in the past year. What does this mean? 

“Kids are more in danger now because they don’t know what they’re using.”

But your health is not the only thing impacted by drug use there are many studies linking failing grades with substance abuse in students. The reason for this is that, for example, marijuana is linked with memory loss and being able to pay attention. 

It’s easy to fall into a drug spiral. People who use drugs do it for a myriad of reasons, for example, many teens use marijuana because they are trying to cope with anxiety and depression. Teens who try to use self-medication often are at risk for substance abuse disorder and can quickly fall into addiction and dependence on the drug they are using. Teens who use marijuana are shown to be two to four times as more to develop psychiatric disorders (Columbia University). When asked about mental health and drug use Banks said “The problem with that there’s not a lot of kids that want to stop using [drugs] and so it’s kind of a pull and tug situation.” 

But for people to recover we need a school environment that supports them. When asked about how the school can foster an environment that helps students’ mental health, Banks stated “First provide resources for students. That’s the biggest one right there. You know, teachers need mental health resources too. Their jobs are tough and they’re going to struggle too. So first I think we need resources, but then I think we need resources available for staff and students.” So students aren’t the only ones struggling, teachers are under high-stress lots of times a day while teaching and these high-stress situations can cause psychological distress and many people dont have good coping skills to deal with this psychological stress so some teachers turn to drugs, “7% [of teachers] heavy drinking in educational occupations. 8% illicit drug use in educational occupations. 5% of a diagnosed substance use disorder in educational occupations,” According to Master Of Social Work.

Wanna be arrested? Well, the good thing is that if you buy or sell drugs while being underaged or get caught selling drugs to a minor you can get up to a hefty $500,000 in fines and also up to 25 years in prison. Also if you are an athlete you can be kicked out of your sport or even banned from it for life if you are caught doing drugs.

COVID has also impacted people’s use of drugs, according to the National Institute Of Health drug use has gone up since precovid stats. Since COVID impacted people’s mental health so greatly because of the stress and collective pessimism of most of the world many people turned to drugs to try to cope. Banks states “Since the shutdown, I don’t think a lot of kids or staff have recovered from that. It’s taken some time.”

Even though quitting drugs is the healthier way to live, the struggle to quit is real. When asked about how kids struggle to quit, Banks refers to the first and biggest barrier: “Them [students] being honest about it. I’ve had students come to my office high and I know they’re high. The biggest barrier for kids is that there are drugs available in the school everywhere you can go anywhere and buy anything in the school. You know, and so the availability is a difficult thing to stop too.”

Although it is easier for teens to get hooked on drugs the good news is that because your brain is still growing, your brain can heal itself back to its pre-drug state in about 14 months of being drug-free. So if anything is taken from this article let it be this: recovery is here at our schools and people are eager for you to get better. So contact your counselor or a social worker if you need or want help.