Why many “just say no” to drugs
Studies show that being involved in extracurricular activities such as sports and clubs discourage students from engaging in activities like drugs and alcohol. In a recent survey conducted by The Omniscient, 21.8 percent of upperclassmen who don’t play sports admitted to using drugs at least once a week. That’s nine percent higher than students who do play sports.
“I think having students involved in extracurricular activities and having them involved in different things here at school, like sports, arts programs and clubs, can have a very positive effect,” Principal Chris Blice said.
Junior Chris Smith says that he has never experimented with drugs or alcohol because he plans on playing sports beyond the walls of Northwood.
“I think it would affect my abilities,” Smith said. “I’m really into sports and I would like to play sports in college so I don’t want to do anything dumb that could jeopardize my chances.”
Along with sports and other extracurricular activities that Northwood offers, Blice believes that Northwood promotes an environment that discourages drugs and alcohol through the faculty.
“The overwhelming majority of our teachers are great role models. They give students a strong sense of the right things they should be doing and I think we all encourage our young people to be involved in those right things,” Blice said.
“It’s an environment where if [someone] does drugs [they] can get in trouble, and it influences a lot of people not to do stuff like that,” Smith said.
Maggie Denny, last year’s President of Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), believes there are ways Northwood could improve their methods of discouraging drugs and alcohol.
“I think there could be a lot more done to prevent it, especially with sports,” Denny said.
One of her suggestions was random drug testing, which Northwood currently does not perform due to funding.
“I would love to [drug test], but not just for athletics. If we’re going to do a random drug testing program we would need to do it with everything that happens after school,” Blice said. “There are a lot of school systems that have gone to that and it’s very positive, but it’s not cheap.”
Athletic Director Jason Amy also believes drug testing would benefit Northwood.
“It’s something that I feel like would benefit everyone if we were to somehow find the money to create that system,” Amy said.
An anonymous Northwood athlete, who says he currently uses drugs almost every day, said that he would probably discontinue drug use if he had to go through random drug testing.
“I want to play [sports] in the future and if Northwood drug tested I probably would not do drugs,” he said.
Although some athletes continue drug and alcohol use because the school does not drug test, others have quit because they feel like it affects their athletic ability.
“It affects your body in so many different ways while playing sports. You don’t perform the same. They don’t have to drug test to find out how you’re performing,” said an anonymous senior.
Another anonymous athlete says that he smoked marijuana one time because his friends were pressuring him to do so, but made a commitment to never do it again.
“I was peer pressured into doing it. I was the only one there not doing it and [my friends] tried to pin me down and make me do it, so I said, ‘Okay, I’ll just do it,’” he said. “But after that, I promised myself I wouldn’t do it anymore.”
Despite the pressures some are faced with in high school, 54.5 percent of surveyed students have never experimented with drugs or alcohol. Some students attributed that to personal reasons or parental guidance.
“My dad motivated me because he always told me to stay off the streets and keep my head straight,” said freshman Kadarus Rone, who says he has never experimented with drugs.
Senior athlete Rachel Snuggs says she has never done drugs simply because it doesn’t appeal to her.
“I don’t feel the desire to because it’s not going to make me go anywhere with my life,” Snuggs said.
Whatever the reasons behind not doing drugs and alcohol may be, Northwood students and faculty agree that it has many negative impacts.
“I don’t see the reason for it; it’s just stupid,” junior Aumad Walker said. “It’s a waste of time and a waste of money.”