Drug and alcohol usage is a persistent issue among adolescents. 22.9 percent of 12th graders used marijuana in the past month and 23.9 percent reported binge drinking (5 consistent drinks in a two week period.)
Last week was Drug Awareness Week at Leesville. The school invited a local non-profit drug awareness and rehabilitation program, SouthLight, to present the dangers of substance abuse to students. SouthLight visits schools, churches and community events across Wake County.
“Our job is to educate students about the negative effects of alcohol and marijuana,” said Crystal (last name not given), SouthLight employee.
“We had some activities, information, and we’re allowing students to be under the impairment of alcohol from the goggles, and educate you on the negative effects,” she said.
Students were offered some activities, information pamphlets and were allowed to try on alcohol goggles.
Why is drug and alcohol use so prevalent among adolescents?
Many times, it is due to the lack of education. Most students do not know the harmful effects of drug usage.
“They see it as an escape, as enjoyment. They look forward to getting high, getting drunk and a lot of times we see it stem from stress or curiosity, or peer pressure; so, once they start using it, it leads to dependence or actual abuse,” said Crystal.
What did students learn from this presentation?
“Smoking marijuana, is not the best thing for you,” said Nnamdi Odonku, junior. “Using the alcohol glasses felt terrible; I felt wrong doing it. I don’t think I need this in my life.”
Max Van Welson, freshman, was one of the many students visiting the information booth.
“I came because it seemed interesting, especially putting the goggles on. It was really hard to see with them on,” he said. “It’s not a good idea to drive drunk.”
The nationwide campaign against substance abuse for continues to make strides. These programs have been effective, with a major drop in drug usage and abuse among high school students. Nevertheless, efforts with education and outreach to students should continue.