The Student News Site of Willis High School

The Voice of the Wildkats

The Student News Site of Willis High School

The Voice of the Wildkats

The Student News Site of Willis High School

The Voice of the Wildkats

Drug addiction can be conquered with honesty, intervention

Students share stories of recovery
STAGGERING+STATS.+One+half+of+teens+admit+to+having+misused+a+drug+at+least+once+in+their+lifetime.+
photo or infographic by Jackie Diaz and Melissa Guerrero
STAGGERING STATS. One half of teens admit to having misused a drug at least once in their lifetime.

The doubts start creeping into her head. 

You are not good enough. You are not loveable. Your grades are not up to par. 

Her mom starts on the car ride to school.

Your room is a mess. You need to work harder. You need to practice more. 

During the first period, she hears the whispers behind her. 

Uh, what is she wearing? Why does she talk like that? She’s so annoying.

The thoughts start creeping into her head. She plans just to try it one time. Her friend said it would make her relax. It will help her focus so she can study. It will make it easier to fall asleep. 

That is how it all started. From peer pressure and generational addiction, falling victim to drug addiction is becoming extremely common. The youth has been desensitized to drug abuse and has raised concerns. Overusing prescription drugs and other substances has gone out of control in recent years. According to Drug Abuse Statistics, 50% of teens in the U.S. ages 12-17 have misused a drug at least once in their lifetime. 

Our school is not immune to this problem.

With bathrooms being full of smokers, there must be a reason why students resort to these measures. Stress from rigorous courses and a competitive atmosphere can lead to the experimentation of controlled substances.

“I feel like a lot of people get stressed and resort to using substances to reduce their stress levels and anxiety along with peer pressure,” junior Jane Doe* said. 

While the bathroom is a popular place for drug usage to occur, drugs are also done in class. This creates an atmosphere where students become numb to drug abuse as it is seen daily.

I‘ve seen people literally snorting lines in class during my freshman year,” junior Henry Smith said. “You could see kids crushing pills in the middle of class.”

Unfortunately, your own “friends” can be the people who are pushing you to experiment with drugs. Once people try to recover they become abandoned by their “friends.” People who influence you into their addictions simply want company in their misery. 

“The people that get you into the addiction are not your friends and you should never give into peer pressure,” junior Sally Jones said.

Besides affecting students’ health, this new epidemic has also affected our school in more ways than just sleepy students. 

“I feel like it’s affecting students with their grades. They’re not studying as they should. Their attention span is getting shorter,” Coach Aaron Breed said. “Our graduation rate will go down if we don’t put some kind of notice on substance abuse. If they’re using those types of substances outside of school and sometimes during school, though, those kids either end up in jail or drop out of school.”

During these times, it’s not the student’s fault that they are not getting the help they need. Many times their guilt or fear keeps them from reaching out for help, but without honesty, their chances of receiving professional help are lower.

“It’s not easy having those substance abuse conversations but they need to be held because some of these kids are not talking about it,” Breed said. “ They don’t know that they have an outlet to talk about it. So that’s why they use that to get by with whatever they’re going through.”

Possession of any substances will lead to more than a simple after-school detention. 

“It’s a problem, especially with the THC vape pens and things like that. That’s an automatic felony for one thing so that could ruin your future, ” Officer Michael Alexander said. “Hopefully, if we catch them we can use it as a learning opportunity moving forward and see when you get them help or see if there are other avenues they can go through to work with school counselors and things like that to help point them in the right direction if they need help or to talk to somebody.”

Although preventing drug usage 100% is ideal, it is unrealistic for some who did not get help. According to NPR, 75% of people who experience addiction recovery, leaving 25% of addicts with no recovery. 

“No matter what you do, some people don’t want to change, and that results in more trouble,” senior Shirley Susan said. “You can’t force someone who doesn’t want to change at all unless they are willing to change. I have experiences with family members with drug addictions and no matter how hard we try to make them change and get help, they don’t follow through with it since they don’t want to change.”

According to the  Addiction Center organization, 90% of people who abuse drugs start before the age of adulthood. However, this does not come as a huge surprise to some

“Honestly I wasn’t really surprised when I found out that people started doing drugs during high school. It’s not that shocking that I know people who did it before 18,” senior Mary Post said. “It did make me uncomfortable that my peers are doing this, and I feel sorry for them.”

With a huge percentage of people using before 18, it is expected that a lot of people don’t speak up or get help since they are underage. Well, not everyone gets the help or speaks up but there has been some progress. According to the American Addiction Center, 11% of addicts get help. 

“This is very shocking to me. I thought that no one got help from drugs and suffered in silence,” junior Rosie Lynn said. “We should enforce recovery more frequently and encourage speaking up about this.”

A large percentage of kids do not get help due to being scared of school administration and their punishments. However, administrators and teachers do not want to punish these students but use it as an opportunity to help stop abuse for the safety of the school. 

“Any kind of substance like that on campus is obviously illegal as an issue for us,” Principal Eric King said. “It lowers the bar for our student body. It’s dangerous, you know, it’s illegal for a reason and leads to an unsafe campus. Safe is the number one thing that parents want their children to be, and if we can’t provide that then we are not doing our job. If someone gets caught with a substance our first instinct is to figure out why you’re doing it and put you in programs so we can make a big impact on not only your safety but for the rest of the student body.”

But fortunately overcoming substance abuse can be done. It takes effort and a strong will but with the right people and the correct environment, it can be done. 

“If you have a bad addiction, set goals and aspirations for yourself the way I did,” Caleb Miles said. “I started working out a lot consistently and figured if I wanted to reach my goal then I have to be mentally and physically healthy to get there.”

Whether someone has been stuck in this cycle for one day or one year, everyone deserves to have support throughout their recovery. 

“Regardless of what other measures people have taken, supporting someone could help someone get back on their feet,” Lynn said. “Helping someone with mental health resources and yummy food can create a good support system and have people open up and not feel ashamed.”

 

*the names of all students have been changed due to the private nature of this story’s topic

View Comments (15)
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About the Contributors
Jackie Diaz
Jackie Diaz, VOW Staff
Jackie is a senior this year and is on both the newspaper and yearbook staff. Along with the yearbook and newspaper, Jackie is also involved in NHS, STUCO, UIL Persuasive Speech, UIL Journalism, Interact, and is 2x Vice president of DECA. Last year Jackie placed 2nd in editorial writing and qualified for regionals. After high school, Jackie plans on attending Blinn College and then transfer to TAMU. It is also a known fact that Jackie is obsessed with Chick-fil-A and despises ranch dressing. You can reach her at [email protected]
Melissa Guerrero
Melissa is a junior at WIllis High School and a first-year newspaper staff member. She is a member of  STUCO, DECA and Leo Cub. Her goal for the newspaper is to capture everyone's point of view, and she is very excited to write stories from angles never seen before. After high school, Melissa wants to attend a school on the East Coast and major in Ethics, Politics and Economics, which is an interdisciplinary degree. She enjoys lifting, thrifting and exploring new places. To reach Melissa with tips or reviews please reach out to [email protected]
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Comments (15)

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  • A

    AnaOct 5, 2023 at 10:13 AM

    Happy to see some attention brought to this topic!

    Reply
  • A

    AshleyOct 5, 2023 at 8:24 AM

    Very well written

    Reply
  • M

    MarielaOct 5, 2023 at 8:19 AM

    This is a really interesting article

    Reply
  • S

    SamOct 5, 2023 at 7:38 AM

    Drug addiction used to be a problem, I’m happy to see that Mr. King is fixing the issue.

    Reply
  • A

    aydenOct 4, 2023 at 1:03 PM

    i shed a tear

    Reply
  • C

    ChloeOct 4, 2023 at 12:39 PM

    I love the article!

    Reply
  • K

    KaylaOct 4, 2023 at 10:23 AM

    This was very well written.

    Reply
  • D

    Danica SundquistOct 4, 2023 at 10:18 AM

    YAssssssss Jakeline carmella Diaz, eat it up… still nor as good as my non existent story

    Reply
  • L

    LunaOct 4, 2023 at 9:17 AM

    slay jackie

    Reply
  • R

    RebekahOct 3, 2023 at 7:28 PM

    I love the use of perspective and acceptance of all!

    Reply
  • R

    RoxanaOct 3, 2023 at 10:17 AM

    Very well written!

    Reply
  • I

    IsaiahSep 29, 2023 at 10:54 PM

    Ate!

    Reply
  • C

    Cesar BarreraSep 29, 2023 at 4:15 PM

    Wow this is crazy!

    Reply
  • S

    SamiSep 29, 2023 at 9:12 AM

    Ate

    Reply
  • E

    ellaSep 28, 2023 at 10:04 PM

    SLAY

    Reply