Curbing teen drug use: We can do more
When parents of students in South Lake Tahoe’s schools read the headline “8 students arrested on drug charges,” (Tahoe Daily Tribune, Dec. 16) it is a shocking reflection of a long-standing reality of teenage life: Drugs and drug use continue to be a part of our children’s educational experience, whether we like it or not.
Since that story, several more kids have been arrested on similar charges, following a four-month investigation that included an undercover agent mixing with the student population at South Tahoe High School.
Whether or not the arrests will lead to convictions, the community must deal with the reality that kids have easy access to drugs, and attempt to curb kids’ desire to participate in illegal and dangerous behavior, especially at a time in their lives when they are learning to be adults.
While it is easy to lay blame – the schools, a few bad apples, the parents – the most effective way to fight drug use is through a combined effort of education in the home and in the classroom. It also helps to have a vigilant law enforcement presence in schools, to remind kids of the consequences of bad choices. While we understand the value of math, English and science in developing young minds, we often fail to emphasize social and moral development. The result can be a cavalier attitude about life-altering decisions.
The easiest place to start is in the home. Parents should think about this week’s headlines and approach their children to ask them about their experiences. It may not be an easy subject to discuss, but the negative consequences of not saying enough far outweigh the potential benefits of having children aware of life’s pitfalls. Most parents of teenage children are part of a generation that faced some of the same challenges as teenagers, experience they can draw on to shape their children’s world views.
Logically, parents should also be aware of what schools are doing to battle drug use, and get involved to make sure schools are serving that need. We hope the schools in our community will use this experience to re-emphasize the importance of drug awareness.
Drugs may forever be a part of student life, but we can always do more to ensure our children make the right choices.