substance abuse and schools

  1. Hi, Im doing a project for my nursing class and we are to join a discussion board and post a question. My question is about substance abuse and schools. I had a 25 year old cousin who recently passed away from an overdose, so I am interested in other peoples opinion's of substance abuse and schools. My question is...

    Why aren't schools involved in teaching their students about heroin abuse and its outcomes?

    ..any response would be greatly appreciated and accepted! Thanks!
  2. Visit hwozni00 profile page

    About hwozni00

    Joined: Feb '12; Posts: 2


  3. by   Sun0408
    I don't see where that falls under the schools responsibility. If anything it falls to the parents. Knowledge does not change behavior. Unless a person wants the stop, and seeks out help; no amount of education will stop them.

    I am sorry to hear about your family member
  4. by   noahsmama
    What makes you say that schools aren't teaching about this? Even back in prehistoric times when I went to school, we were taught about substance abuse and why to avoid it -- as early as 5th grade, and then on and off throughout till high school. As the previous poster pointed out, this isn't always enough to stop people from abusing -- but I still think this type of education is an important first step and may cause at least some to think twice about abusing drugs.

    I'm also very sorry about your cousin.
    Last edit by noahsmama on Mar 2, '12
  5. by   ckh23
    What about personal responsibility? People don't need other people to tell them that drugs can kill. Why focus on heroin? Far more people are killed by alcohol every year than drugs.

    I'm sorry for your loss.
  6. by   nurseprnRN
    what makes you say that "the schools" don't tell their students about the risks of drugs? you can't swing a dead cat around here without running into another program like that. true, it's backed off some since "the war on drugs" didn't work out much better than any other "war on..." program. this is probably because the impulse for humans to do mood- and perception-altering substances goes back millennia. and there are always people willing to make a lot of money off it.

    i'm sorry about your cousin, too. at 25, though, i am sure s/he was out of school for some time and quite aware of the risks involved in heroin. i can't tell how close you were, but if it bothered you enough to bring it up in the form of this assignment, perhaps you still need some comforting.

    sometimes a school assignment ends up teaching you something you weren't expecting. your faculty knows that... so what are you learning here? i can see a few options:
    )) you think more about how to develop a research question. that means, maybe look into the subject of your question (lack of drug education in schools) and see how much data you can find before you decide what to ask. or what your own preconceptions are when you propose a data-collection event. what if you don't get what you expect?
    )) you learn a bit more about your personal response to suffering and tragedy.
    )) you learn that maybe the classes don't make a bit of difference.
    )) you learn a bit more about how you process your own, perhaps painful, life events.

    you just never know. good luck; let us know what happens.
    Last edit by nurseprnRN on Mar 2, '12
  7. by   jt43
    Just an interesting tidbit, there are studies that have shown anti-drug programs actually increase experimentation with drugs and alcohol. Also sorry about your cousin.
  8. by   KelRN215
    Last I knew, schools WERE still teaching about these things. The DARE program is still out there. Public schools include substance abuse education as a part of health class. At least where I live they do. I also doubt that people who abuse drugs do so because they are lacking education on substance abuse.
  9. by   hwozni00
    Thanks for all the posts!

    I know I mentioned my cousin was why I was interested, which is so, but this is not the only reason for the question. I was somewhat close to him growing up but I have grieved and moved forward with life because he made his mistakes and has to deal with the consequences (actually his mother and brother do).

    I should of made it clear that the main reason I was asking about substance abuse and schools is because within the last few years there has been a substantial increase in deaths related to heroin overdose in my home town. It is said to be the number one problem the town is facing. In 2000, 2 deaths were blamed on heroin overdose that number jumped to 13 in 2010.

    I graduated in 2005 and yes when I was in elementary school and middle school we had the DARE program. But in high school there was never any mention of the DARE program and in my health class we never went over the effects drugs can have on you. They stopped all that in middle school.

    I understand and fully agree that parents need to be talking to their children about this, but we were all young once and know that you dont always listen to what your parents have to say. So sometimes it needs to come from someone other then a family member to understand.

    I know a few of you said that education basically isnt gonna make a difference (sorry If you feel like I am putting those words in your mouth, but this is the way I am interpeting it). I can clearly recall a speaker we had in middle school who spoke to us about his tobacco use, yes this may not be a drug like Heroin or Cocaine but yet it is a drug. I remember our speaker telling us how long he had smoked for and the outcome of his habbit...cancer of the jaw. Half of this guys jaw was missing, and let me tell you this "educational" speaker was more then enough to steer me away from tobacco use. I have never touched a cigarette in my life, and honestly I thank my middle school and that speaker for this. But those years (middle school) was the end of our substance abuse education. I never had any speakers or classes like that in high school, when you really need them, when the "real" drugs start being introduced to you.

    The education I was looking for was pre-drug use not in the midst of it. I understand that a person is not going to fully commit to quiting the habbit unless they want to, that is why I think it would do a world of good to have schools teaching about substance abuse BEFORE "kids" get interested/sucked in to the addicting drugs, possibly leading to death.

    If I could retract my discussion, I would do so and take the mentioning of my cousin out of it. This post has nothing to do with learning of my personal response to suffering and tragedy nor my life events.

    Again, thanks for all your feedback!
    I may not agree with some of the responses I received, but I have to remember everyone has their own opinions and personal beliefs. This is why they have discussion "discuss" our opinions and beliefs.
    Thanks Again! :-)
  10. by   vegas2009
    Several years ago, I knew a girl (woman) who actually exceled in her master's program. She worked as a pharmacist (had her bachelor's) and eventually decided to work on her master's. She attended one of the most competitive schools in the United States, who for the most part, had A's and B's under her belt. She graduated and worked on her internship. Anyway, her secret is: She is a drunk and occasionally takes illegal drugs. She is very smart and NONE of her professors or class 'friends' knew who she really was.

    She presented herself very well. She is a professional, well-liked individual. But, in reality, she had her demons. She had other friends who were into 'stuff' that she did. Anyway, as far as I know -- she is working as a pharmacist in the East coast as of today. Still, a 'professional' in her field and an in-the-closet occasional user of illegal drugs.

    People are deceiving. Just because someone has a title, makes really good money and is put up 'nicely' -- it doesn't mean that they are better than other people. No one can change her, but her. Yes, she is a practicing Pharmacist. She is smart as a whip! All I can say is, I'm just glad I don't live in that part of the U.S.
  11. by   jt43
    I don't know the specifics for your hometown, but heroin deaths frequently jump due to a shift in the purity of the heroin being sold on the street. The jump isn't usually due to an increase in the number of heroin users, but due to unintentional overdoses with a purer substance. As far as education, I do think it's awful that your hometown doesn't teach abt this in high school. Maybe you could talk to the local board of education and suggest they include it as part of their health course.
  12. by   jt43
    Oh and btw, it is specifically the DARE program that is controversial. Study after study have shown no lasting effects on drug and alcohol use and some studies have shown an increase in graduates using drugs shortly after completing the program.
    Last edit by jt43 on Mar 4, '12 : Reason: typo
  13. by   KelRN215
    OP, you may be interested in this:
    Drug Abuse Resistance Education: The Effectiveness of DARE

    The DARE program has been found time and time again to do more harm than good. It's still around (at least in my state) but is controversial. Federal funds cannot be used for DARE programs because of its ineffectiveness. Yet, it is used in nearly 80% of schools in the US. So I guess the question shouldn't be "why aren't schools teaching about drug use/abuse?" but rather, "why are schools continuing to use an ineffective program?"

    I took DARE in middle school. It had zero effect on me and I never used any kinds of illegal substances. In fact, the only thing I remember from DARE is that the police officer who was in charge of it stole all the money from the program.
  14. by   nurseprnRN
    the kids in my scout troop thought very little of it. they used to say, "dare stands for drugs are really expensive."