Anyone working with young people for more than a few years should be able to read the report in the NZ Herald today about drug/substance use and not be surprised at the claims. For many years I have seen persistent ‘users’ gradually ‘dropping out’ of the zone when it comes to learning.
These kids become disinterested in education as they move towards that space where they are continually looking for the next hit. There is a large gap between those starting out and the hardened users, but the trend becomes clear very quickly.
We don’t need expensive studies to tell us this, but I suppose we need them for the policy makers in order to justify the expense on programmes using tax payer money. Any teacher (even those in Primary and Intermediate schools) can tell you what they have seen over the years. This knowledge has been with us for a very long time. We have also read and seen reports from those working in the D and A field that using substances for a young person, with a brain that is still in its formative stage is like ‘pouring poison on a plant while it is still growing. Who in their right mind would do that?
The use of Marijuana in New Zealand schools is endemic, or at least on the way to and from schools. Many schools have used ‘drug dogs’ but that can be a waste of time if students have access to cell phones (and how many don’t now!). The word gets around as soon as the dogs appear and---voila---- the drugs disappear.
We have a huge problem with our kids using drugs. I know, some of you reading this knew all about it in the 70’s and beyond when I was a young teacher with you. The fact is that the stuff you were smoking was way less powerful than that available today. Despite that, some young people back then still entered a world that was very difficult to extract them form. I often wonder if the users of the past went on to become the ‘P’ users of today. I would really appreciate some anonymous feedback about that.
I short---- I wish we could find a way to steer our young teenagers away from D and A, but I know we have a massive fight on our hands. ‘Stand Up’ Programmes in some of our schools need to be expanded and rolled out into all schools.