The Solutions Of Substance Abuse At Schools

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In recent years, substance abuse and habits have become an epidemic. Many students have easy access to or are peer-pressured into addictive substances, alcohol, and drugs. The constant use of these substances leads to troubled students who can possess criminal behaviors, violence, and a withdrawing interest in education. This current and prevalent social issue can be controlled through the supportive environment of specialized high schools and through testing students for nicotine and drug use.

Most high schools offer a guidance counselor that can help students who are struggling with substance abuse. Recently, specialized ‘recovery’ high schools have been designed just for teens who suffer from addiction. An article from Time claims that, “A 2017 study by Vanderbilt University associate professor Andy Finch and other researchers showed that students in recovery schools were significantly more likely than those not in such schools to report being off drugs and alcohol six months after they were first surveyed.” Through this supportive school system that proves to be effective and helpful, students can gradually become sober while working towards getting their diploma in order to pursue a successful future.

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Random drug-testing is a practice that is being adopted by more and more high schools in the U.S.With the increase in high school students abusing substances, comes both instant consequences and problems in the long run. According to Cindy Huang, a professor of psychology at Columbia University, “In the case that the drug-testing program is properly planned and then implemented, it has the potential to work as prevention.” Even though ending substance abuse in schools is unobtainable, working to lessen the number of students that abuse substances would help control this social issue. Since the number of abusers continues to increase, drug-testing in schools would put a scare in students that could deter them away from doing drugs.

Some argue that recovery high schools are too costly and rare for them to actually make an impact on students who are substance abusers. Although they can be expensive, proponents argue that recovery high schools offer a lifeline. Michael Durchslag, director of one of thirty-eight recovery schools in the U.S., says, “Traditional high schools are not really set up to serve young people who are in recovery. Students should not have to choose between their recovery and their education.” Despite the fact that a small number of recovery high schools currently exist, the help that they provide their students with is invaluable. Others also argue that drug tests are an invasion of privacy and should not be given at random during school. Even though problems such as the testing not being random, due to suspicions could arise, school administrators at Stephen T. Badin High School in Hamilton, Ohio, who recently administered this plan of action claim in the letter that was sent to parents that, “The impact of drug use on young students and their families is staggering and our community is not immune to this issue. Drug-testing would encourage students not to do drugs.” Although recovery high schools can be costly, and drug-testing could possibly be an invasion of privacy, the overall ability of these two solutions to help a student change his or her life for the better has many more benefits.

Overall, the current educational social issue of substance abuse is among one of the largest problems in schools today. With the number of abusers increasing, making an effort to expand the number of recovery high schools and implementing random drug-tests in schools would significantly benefit the students and their families. Students would either be able to go directly to a school to receive counseling, along with an education or receive help through their current high school. Therefore, an increased number of students would be able to overcome their addiction and the number of abusers would gradually decrease, making a better society altogether.

Works Cited

  1. Gorman, Anna. “Inside the 'Recovery' High Schools Just for Teens With Addiction.” Time, Time, 23 Jan. 2019,
  2. Taylor, Derrick Bryson. “Ohio High School Plans to Drug-Test All Students at Least Once a Year.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 16 Nov. 2019,
  3. Yaffe, Deborah. “Recovery High Schools Make Dent in Teen Substance Abuse.” District Administration, 20 May 2019,
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