Attention teachers, counselors and human service professionals who serve middle school, high school and college students:
- Did you know that every year 5, 000 teens and young adults are killed as a result of drinking and driving.
- Did you know that after marijuana, prescription and over-the-counter medications account for most of the top drugs abused by 12th graders?
- Are you aware that a child’s inability to relax may be an anxiety disorder?
- Do you understand the logic behind the act of self-medicating?
- Have there been times when you that a student is using to cope with multiple diagnoses?
- Are you feeling overwhelmed by destructive trends displayed by students?
These are questions that confront professionals who contact Dr. Zari. Research and the latest census bare harsh reality:
- Assault: 696,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are assaulted by another student who has been drinking (Hingson et al., 2009).
- Sexual Abuse: 97,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape (Hingson et al., 2009).
- Unsafe Sex: 400,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 had unprotected sex and more than 100,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 report having been too intoxicated to know if they consented to having sex (Hingson et al., 2002).
- Academic Problems: About 25 percent of college students report academic consequences of their drinking including missing class, falling behind, doing poorly on exams or papers, and receiving lower grades overall (Engs et al., 1996; Presley et al., 1996a, 1996b; Wechsler et al., 2002).
- Health Problems/Suicide Attempts: More than 150,000 students develop an alcohol-related health problem (Hingson et al., 2002), and between 1.2 and 1.5 percent of students indicate that they tried to commit suicide within the past year due to drinking or drug use (Presley et al., 1998).
- Drunk Driving: 3,360,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 drive under the influence of alcohol (Hingson et al., 2009).
Statistics regarding vandalism, property damage and police involvement are only some of the manifestations of alcohol and substance abuse.
These tragic consequences can be reduced if there is a collective effort on the part of the students, teachers, administrators, counselors, and social workers to be informed by the facts so that the behavior prompting drug use can be addressed.
Dr. Zari is a psychologist for adolescents and adults. She teaches adolescents how to make decisions that are in their best interests and empowers teachers, counselors and parents with the words and accountability tools that reinforce healthy choices.