How the Use of Drugs and Alcohol Affect High School Achievement

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Sociology High Honors
April 11, 2003

How the Use of Drugs and Alcohol Affect High School Achievement

A student at Lakeside High School, called Ann for purposes of privacy, had a grade point average of 3.6 through her sophomore year. During her junior year, she dropped out of extra-curricular activities and became withdrawn from other social activities. As she was introduced to the world of hard drugs, Ann's grades dropped to C's and D's. At her graduation party, she was rushed to the hospital for a heroin overdose. Ann's grades plunged as a result of heavy drug use, a likely combination of emotional and physical degrading upon herself. Society as a whole degrades itself in this manner, whether the individuals themselves realize it or not. Achievement in high schools today is lacking greatly because of the societal problem of teen drug abuse. (Callahan 1)

The achievement of high school students is affected by the usage of drugs and alcohol. Many factors can lead to the usage of drugs. There is an apparent correlation between family income and drug use. The pressures exerted by society and peers also increase the chance of high school students to use drugs or alcohol. Students who are under the influence of mind-altering chemicals cannot learn as well, lack motivation, and risk permanent loss of memory and ability to learn. Many programs have been put into effect in the last five years to help combat this social disease, such as D.A.R.E. This is a serious problem in today's society because not only is the usage illegal, it causes society as a whole to degrade its social climate for growth. (Schydlower 1)

Some of the most common factors that seem to have a direct correlation with drug use are peer pressure, high unemployment rate, low paying jobs, continued poverty, health problems, and lack of health insurance. There are many reasons why a high school student may use alcohol or drugs, but there are five main reasons as thought by Cepulkauskaite. They may feel the need to use drugs in order to feel grown up, to fit in and belong, to relax and feel good, to take risks and rebel, or to satisfy curiosity. Students yearn for social acceptance more than academic achievement, which is a problem that society continues to fight. These causes are among the many that may or may not lead to drug usage. (Hayslett 1; Cepulkauskaite 2)

The effects of drug abuse are many and range from coma to euphoria to malnutrition. Drug abusers lack concentration and ability to think chronologically. High schools suffer from this drug use because teachers have to work around interruptions and less attentive students. Many schools are now equipped with health services that they did not provide ten years ago. Approximately 66% of the school systems in the United States provide mental health services facilitated through a school psychologist. 78.4% of states currently require an alcohol or drug prevention program. Society has changed through the use of drugs and alcohol by adapting programs to fit society's needs. (National Center 2)

There are problems with alcohol and drug abuse in every high school system. Each school deals and records the problem differently, which is why there is not a similar percentage of use from one school to another. Some schools require students to take health classes, which cover the curriculum of drug effects. Other schools simply try to plead the cases that drugs are not an issue that pertains to academics. Society expresses the impression that alcohol helps to improve and enhance your social life, when in fact it usually has the opposite effect. The link between drug use and not liking school is strong, which is why you would rationalize it as a common factor to academic deficiency. There are currently multiple methods of trying to prevent and to educate drug and alcohol abuse in high school. (National Center 2, 4)

Drug use can cause many devastating effects later on in...
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