October 30th 2016
Mr./Mrs. Future President
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington D.C. 20500
Dear Mr. or Mrs. Future President,
Hello. I am writing a letter to you, the future president in the hopes of you hearing my ideas. You may think that my opinions are not important or are nothing compared to the the other issues you are dealing with, but I want to explain that people like me, we are the future. What ever issues we have within the society of teens will change the world, because we are the future of this world. With saying this, I hope you listen to my beliefs with an opened heart and mind because I believe that these are issues that will affect the future. My name is Claire Durkin, I am a sophomore at Clarkston High School and I am involved in my church and the band program. I am 15 years old, I have a younger sister who is 13 and a great family life along with great friends. I have been very fortunate to surround myself with people who love and respect me and whom I love and respect. I have never been involved in drugs. My parents have taught me to make good choices and know the consequences that come with bad decisions such as drugs. However, I know many people that do not have any support systems in their lives. They get involved with people that are not caring nor respectful to them. Teens seem to find themselves in situations, such as peer pressure, and they do not know what to do. They usually make a quick and irrational decision because they do not know how to handle these type of situations. These decisions are normally the wrong ones, which can lead to the awful consequences that come along with these bad choices. I believe that schools should help be a support system for these teens and help them to understand the consequences of bad decisions and learn how to make the right ones.
In June of 2016, I conducted a survey about peer pressure for 9th graders. From about 90 responses, 78% said that they have been peer pressured and 67% have given into peer pressure. The teen rehab center comments on why teens use drugs; “Many are reacting to peer pressure and believe turning to drugs and alcohol is how to become popular in high school. Some use drugs to self-medicate from painful feelings. Some teens even turn to study aid drugs like Adderall or Ritalin, because they believe these substances will boost their grades. High school is often the first time that kids encounter illicit substances — and the curiosity can be too much to resist.” Schools can help inform teens to better understand these issues before they encounter them, so there is less curiosity.
I believe that one way we can help in our school systems is by creating an assembly or program directed towards these teachings. Having teens recognize these situations and become familiar with the options on how to handle them, will hopefully reduce panic or stress when they are faced with them in real life. The assemblies would start at 6th grade and happen once or twice a year until 12th grade. These assemblies could have professionals, such as police officers, doctors or firefighters sharing their real life experiences with situations having to do with teens and drugs. There could be a segment of scenarios, where the teen has to figure out how they would handle the situations given. These types of programs would help kids and teens know not to get into these types of situations and if they do, how to get themselves out of them.
Some might think that this is not a school system's job and that common sense is a parenting problem. I understand this point, but the parents of these kids do not seem to be teaching their kids common sense and good decision making, and the schools can help. Others may respond to this by asking, “who cares? If it’s the kids’ choice and the parents do not care, then who should? It is not the school’s job.” But the school wants their students to be 100 percent focused on school. Just like how teachers can take away a kids cellphone in class. People might say how “it is their own learning they are jeopardizing,” but it distracts the kids around them from their learning. “Teens who abuse drugs have lower grades, a higher rate of absence from school and other activities, and an increased potential for dropping out of school.” If a student is falling behind, the teacher spends more time with that student catching them up. Meaning less time teaching the students who are on track.
One option for schools is a program called D.A.R.E. This program does well with organizing the ideas of decision making. The cost of this program is the main issue. “With an estimated five to six million students enrolled in D.A.R.E. courses, the economic costs of the D.A.R.E. program are estimated to be $175 to $270 per student annually”. One might say that the cost is way too high and that it is not worth it, but our schools do not have to use this exact system. Schools can use the idea behind this organization and create their own curriculum for an assembly program within their own school systems. Parents could donate their time to tell their stories or help organize the different scenarios. This could change the people of the future.
This is a very crucial topic to me because I feel that drugs are awful and that kids do not realize how distressing and gruesome they are until it is too late. I feel that this should be an important issue to you because drugs are a problem and teens are the future. You can impact the future by shaping the present, this will help to alleviate our country’s drug problem down the road.
Sincerely Future Voter,
By StateDrug Use and SuicideDrug Abuse in High SchoolDrug Abuse in Middle SchoolDrug ParaphernaliaDrug Slang TermsEmergency Room StatisticsEmerging and Popular DrugsGenetics and AddictionHow to Get Help for Teenage Alcohol AbuseIdentifying Teenage Alcohol. "Drug Use In High School: Facts & Statistics About Teens." Teen Rehab Center. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Oct. 2016.
"Climate Change, Economic Costs of." SpringerReference (n.d.): n. pag. Web.
"Just Think Twice." How Does Drug Use Affect Your High School Grades? N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Oct. 2016.
"Keepin." D.A.R.E. America. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Oct. 2016.
SurveyMonkey. "Peer Pressure." SurveyMonkey. N.p., June 2016. Web. 30 Oct. 2016.