There is no doubt that the current education system makes teachers some of the busiest professionals. In addition to their teaching responsibilities, educators have to deal with issues of class sizes, staff politics, funding, bullying, parental environment, and technology changes in the classroom. This is not inclusive of situation-specific or personal elements. Nevertheless, this is a lot for each teacher to handle individually. Thus, they appreciate any guidance or help greatly.
But, there is a new problem that emerged a few decades ago. Many teachers don’t know the best way to approach drug abuse issues among students. Information about drugs keeps changing as new drug use methods emerge and new kids join the education system. The demographics of the people that use drugs, specific drugs or general, keep changing. The person that uses drugs is not always the one you might expect. When you add other things that teachers have to watch for when dealing with students, their work becomes more challenging.
Nevertheless, teachers can get guidance from drug rehab facilities as Addiction Resource . These facilities are run by professionals that understand the challenges of dealing with individuals that abuse drugs. They know how to help them overcome addiction and also assist their loved ones in getting assistance.
Teachers have many options when it comes to dealing with instances of drug abuse and addiction among learners. And because of the changes that happen in their work environment, teachers should be updated on what’s happening. Though the information on this guide is relevant today, it may be obsolete tomorrow as drug laws and policies change.
Responsibilities of the Educator
Drug abuse among students is a behavior that relates to their safety. It is also associated with prevention measures. School administrators, teachers, and other staff members are responsible for the well-being and safety of students. There are state and federal laws that are meant to make schools drug-free environments.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, addictive or illicit substances should not find their way into the schools. However, necessary prescription medications for treating medical conditions are excluded. But, they must meet the requirements set by schools, state or local government, or even the district. Students and other staff on a campus or school are responsible for reporting violations to the school administrators. Administrators should address situations and seek help from relevant authorities if necessary.
Schools have prevention programs like DARE and ALERT. It’s expected that teachers will encourage students to be part of these programs. State or national prevention programs, as well as those specific to learning institutions or even school districts, can also be valuable resources. These can help teachers recognize and prevent drug abuse among students. Some can even connect teachers to addiction treatment centers where they can get further assistance.
In some schools, there are programs for detecting and combating instances of drug abuse. Educators are responsible for enforcing and executing such programs.
The mandatory laws require teachers to address drug abuse among students. These laws can be applied to child abuse and neglect cases. In such cases, educators should report the instances to relevant authorities. Nevertheless, even some drug abuse cases among students may necessitate mandated reporting.
When a parent supplies or exposes their child to drugs, it may legally be considered abuse. That’s because they are ruining the safety of the child and this qualifies as a mandatory reporting case for a teacher. If such parents don’t get help, they may eventually end up in drug rehab centers after exposing their child to addictive substances.
As such, it is necessary to report if the parent(s) are drug abusers because there could be neglect and abuse. Unintentional or indirect drug exposure may be included. That’s because home-based production of drugs like methamphetamine exposes everybody in that environment to the toxins of the substance.
Statistics on Drug Abuse among Students
According to a 2015 report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 10.1% of students aged 12 years and above had used illicit drugs in the previous month. The report further states that their usage expanded in the past year to hit 17.8%, as well as, throughout the life of a person at 48.8%.
However, this survey was not inclusive of tobacco and alcohol usage data. It was also collected from individuals that reported their drug usage willingly. What’s more, the data was generated from a carefully selected sample size.
Universal Signs of Drug Abuse
Teachers can detect drug abuse among students and provide better assistance if they know the signs to look for. Even parents can tell when to encourage teens to seek help from drug rehab facilities when they know how to detect the problem. Here are some of the universal signs of drug abuse among students:
- Noticeable changes in the student size or bloodshot eyes
- Sudden weight changes including gain and loss because of the drub byproduct that induce appetite changes.
- Specific drug use signs like nasal irritation or nosebleeds due to coughing, snorting or increased thirst.
- Poor hygiene like body odor, poor oral health, dirty clothes, and a generally unkempt appearance.
- Heavy breathing or flushed skin that may cause blood pressure or an increase in the heart rate.
- Complaints of a runny nose, headache, nausea, profuse sweating, sleeplessness, and excessive fatigue which may arise from withdrawal or substance abuse.
Some substance abuse instances may not involve what is considered a drug. For instance, alcohol is easily accessible to students. It also has a sweeping use among teens and adolescents. Peers can pressure students to drink socially. Some students can also drink as a means of coping with life stress, home conditions, and health issues. Students may not abuse alcohol on the campus. However, teachers can easily notice its effects by looking at signs like physical coordination problems, speech changes, drowsiness, and frequent symptoms of a hangover.
Before taking action, teachers should find out whether indeed a student is abusing drugs. They should document observations, including drug possession instances. Once certain that a student is abusing drugs, an educator should inform the school administration. They can do so via the guidance counselors or the principal. The legal guardian or parent of the student or the police should also be informed.
Even if the active use of the drug by the student was not witnessed, reporting can prepare the ground for further help. if it’s evident that a student is an active illicit substance user, immediate action should be taken. Taking such actions early is important because it can prevent addiction which may lead students to drug rehabilitation programs.