Growing Use of Drugs Among Teenagers


Sydney Hancock

THE NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF DRUGS Today’s youth is much more likely to have an open outlet for drugs with manipulated results such as stress-relieving, making them unaware of the dangers of drugs, especially when they do not know that they have had an intake. This generation is at a point of major health risks, without knowing it.

Ashlesha Mishra, Staff Writer

On Monday, Sept. 30, many students across the Issaquah School District came to know of the death of Lucas Beirer, a junior at Skyline High School. A story on King 5 News covered Lucas’ family’s statement: “Lucas was an intelligent young man with many great aspirations and interests, including becoming a Navy Seal, a college degree in computer information technology, an interest in fashion design and a deep love of music. Lucas was well liked by many and he cared deeply about his friends.” The cause of his death was said to be an overdose of fentanyl present in some counterfeit Oxycodone tablets. According to the National Department of Drug Abuse, “Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid analgesic that is similar to morphine but is 50 to 100 times more potent.” This substance is extremely dangerous to one’s health, and if consumed, the result is most likely death. This is the second case of a fentanyl overdose in Skyline High School in the past four months. Before the loss of Lucas, Thomas Beatty died of the same cause on August 11. “One teen died in 2017 and another in 2018, but so far seven teens have died of a fentanyl overdose in 2019,” stated a King 5 News article mentioning Beirer.

In today’s society, the use of drugs has increased to a much higher rate, and its effects on people may be irreversible. As stated by CDC, “70,237 drug overdose deaths occurred in the United States in 2017. The age-adjusted rate of overdose deaths increased significantly by 9.6 percent from 2016 (19.8 per 100,000) to 2017 (21.7 per 100,000).” In the wake of this tragedy, families, staff, and students are attempting to reunite as a whole to confront the opioid crisis.

When thinking of the existence of drugs, some say that they have come into play recently, while others say that they have existed commonly in society for longer. Both sophomore Digant Dash and senior Nicole Hayes state, “Drugs have been around forever.” When asked, both students were clear with their answers, acknowledging the bitter side of the issue. The effects of drug usage among teenage populations continue to grow, and soon may be a great danger towards even younger students. With the constantly growing rate of drug use among teenagers in today’s society, it is crucial to know from a student perspective if schools spend enough time and effort in explaining the downsides of drugs and how to deny them when offered. When asked about this, junior Emily Palm stated, “No, but they will eventually find a way. Currently, it is difficult for students to deny because schools describe many stereotypical situations and not how these issues begin in the real world today.” It seems that when schools attempt to teach you how to refuse drugs, they showcase it in a sugar-coated way. In other words, it does not reflect reality and how it is done.

Students turn to drugs as an option for many reasons. Freshman Michael Lim says, “Causes of leading to drugs are if they are bored, they have money, and if they have no parental supervision. Peer pressure and an increase in peers using drugs also create a situation that also leads to students trying drugs,” summarizing the various reasons why students believe it is okay to do drugs.

After the numerous deaths of students, the question is, what is being done to stop future deaths of this cause? While Skyline High School mourns the loss of its school family member, Skyline has also taken initiative for preventing similar situations ahead. The principal of Skyline High School hopes to help their students understand the true downfalls and explain valid reasons why students should not fall into the trap of drugs. Due to this, it has become more important to be extremely cautious about what your intake is, as drugs can be given with food as well. Many concerned members had gathered in the Skyline High School gymnasium to talk about ways to respond to this problem. Another article by King 5 News stated, “The Issaquah School District is planning to change some curriculums and add new lessons to give students strategies to navigate situations in which opioids might be present.” From its side, the school system has advanced to guide the students in the correct direction.

Drugs can have a massive impact on a child’s behavior and overall approach towards life. However, while some teenagers choose to get engaged in activities involving drug intake, drugs can also be the cause of a happy, positive, and hardworking teenager’s tragic death who did not want to come in contact with drugs in the first place. Besides, most students do not know the appropriate approach if they know someone who is hurting themselves by using drugs. Hayes also stated, “There need to be more places that students can access while feeling secure to share their problems and get out of the drug addiction.” While many students claim to know enough to stay away from drugs, they have not fully comprehended their damaging effects in an individual’s life. The community must make a change in the way people interact and communicate with each other to stop the negative growth of drug use among teenagers to spread.