Drug Abuse and Drug Testing Trends in High Schools in Texas

According to the latest survey, the vast majority of substance abusers in the state of Texas are between the ages of 18 and 25, which implies that the majority of users are likely teenagers who are in high school. Texas deals with a very high meth addiction and violence rate compounded by problems with heroin, cocaine and other hard drugs. It’s thought that because of the proximity to the Mexico/US border these drugs are more readily available and likely to remain in the area after they are smuggled in.

Drug abuse had been in an increasing trend among teens since the early nineties when a survey was conducted by Liang Liu in 1996. In a 2009 evaluation also by Liu these numbers had begun to fall in drugs like marijuana and crack cocaine but increased in prescription drug use.

Part of the Problem

In many ways legislature relating to teens in Texas has proven itself lax if not outright aiding in the damage done. More relaxed laws about alcohol sales have shown an increase in the ability of teens to get it for underage consumption and a recent decision by Texas officials to remove the health class requirement in high schools have many worried it may reduce the amount of education these kids will get about substance abuse among other things covered in the class.

What’s Being Done

So what programs are there to help solve the problem?

• A 6 million dollar initiative to test for steroids is already in action to help reduce the amount of the drug that is being used in about 400 schools statewide. Texas is one of only three states with programs to test for steroid use.

• The state has several drug and alcohol treatment centers where users can go to get clean.

• McKinney High School has passed legislation to require drug testing of all of its students in extracurricular activities starting next year. This adds them to a list of other high school in Texas requiring testing a trend that’s certain to continue until drugs abuse is less pervasive.

• The US Supreme Court passed legislation that allows public school to set their own rules about drug testing. This is the law that paved the way for schools like McKinney’s current plans to test students.

Is It Enough?

While there has been a decreasing trend in the use of some drugs abuse remains a negative impact in the youth culture of the state of Texas and is still harmful enough to be affecting civil life and crime. If more schools decide to add drug testing to their schools it may help but the removal of health classes is likely to be contributing to ignorance about the damage these drugs are doing to these teens. While alcohol is still the major problem among teens in Texas, prescription drug abuse is on the rise and should be getting more attention before it gets worse.

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