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Blaming Peer Pressure on Drug Use is not the answer

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Hunter Burns ('18)

Hunter Burns ('18)

Hunter Burns ('18)

Hunter Burns, Staff Writer

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Drugs. A nationwide epidemic plaguing teens and kids everywhere.

As marijuana is legalized in more states, it’s beginning to look as if kids are no longer considering it “cool” or “trending”.

Instead, they are turning to hardcore drug use.

This phenomenon has become evident at Ralston Valley, as recent events led to more than a dozen students being expelled or suspended for selling and/or using LSD on school grounds.

After discussing the issue with Officer Blaine Engdahl and assistant principal Mr. Mark Litzau, it was brought to my attention that as drugs are becoming more and more common, an increasing number of students are deciding to “drop acid”.

This is starting to happen with younger students every year, making it an even more serious problem in schools and communities. Nearly all the students suspended and/or expelled were underclassmen.

Maybe it’s because weed is no longer considered cool, so kids turn to harder drugs instead.

Maybe it’s peer pressure.

Many of the students admitted to being peer pressured into doing LSD, despite knowing it was against not only school rules, but also the law.

Has peer pressure become more of a problem?

Is the media to blame?

I certainly don’t think so.

While peer pressure may be an issue, it is up to the individual to prevent themselves from breaking rules, whether they be societal, legal, or moral.

We all make our own decisions, and it is unfair to blame it on someone else for selfish actions.

Peer pressure is not a reasonable explanation for what these students did. Although given most of these students were underclassmen, and relatively new to the high school experience, it’s a cop out to blame anyone other than themselves.

I don’t think it’s the media’s fault, either.

Students see many things through many forms of media, be it traditional mainstream media or that of the social variety, that don’t impact their decisions.

So blaming a ridiculously bad decision on someone other than yourself is a trip they should not have taken.

These students made a mistake, and my hope is that they will learn from this moving forward.

Instances like this are infuriating because most people, students and staff alike, do so much to ensure success for RV.

The realization of the most recent drug issues at RV came to light just a week after Make-A-Wish week, RV’s astounding fundraising of over $32,000.

Now, a great Wish Week is overshadowed by this glaring instance of widespread acid distribution and use.

The whole community is affected by this “bad trip”, and RV’s upstanding reputation has been slightly tarnished by this event.

Notified via a community wide email sent by RV principal Mr. Gavan Goodrich, many parents were astonished to learn that LSD was being used and distributed at the school.

It was even more surprising to see the number of underclassmen suspended and/or expelled for their inclusion in this event. Students who hadn’t even touched a cigarette before had jumped into the world of doing hardcore drugs.

Hopefully, these students learn from their mistakes, and become better because of this event.

While the individual side effects of drug use are localized to those who used, the widespread alarm it rings around the RV community is one that will take time to shut off.

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