Drug Use among the Youth in America and the Need for Legal Representation

Drug use among high school and college age students is on the rise. Statistics show that marijuana and psychotherapeutic drugs used for non-medical purposes are the most commonly sold and distributed drugs among students. When a student is charged with a drug crime, they may experience discrimination and penalties from school authorities and police enforcement.

Drugs, both illegal and legal, have always been abused by a certain percentage of the population. In recent years, teens and students have made up an ever-increasing percentage of this population. According to recent statistics by the SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions), the rate of illicit drug use among youths ages 12-17 has increased to 10.1 percent in 2010, a large difference from 2008’s rate of 9.3. Marijuana was found to be the most commonly used illicit drug, followed by psychotherapeutic drugs used for nonmedical purposes (sedatives, analgesics, stimulants and tranquilizers).

Not surprisingly, the current illicit drug use rate was much higher among young adults aged 18 to 25. 21.5 percent of this age demographic admits to using marijuana, psychotherapeutic drugs for nonmedical purposes, hallucinogens and cocaine. The study also showed that the illicit drug use rate varied by the educational status of adults age 18 and over, with the rate being lower among college graduates than the lifetime rate for high school graduates.

The rate of illicit drug use among college students, even full-time students, is similar to the rate among other persons aged 18 to 22. These numbers point to the fact that illicit drugs are being sold and distributed on college campuses. Students have admitted to obtaining prescription drugs used for nonmedical purposes “from a friend or relative for free”. A follow-up question revealed that the friend or relative had obtained the drugs from one doctor. Only 2.3 percent reported that the friend or relative had bought the drugs from a dealer or other stranger. Vicodin, OxyContin and Adderall are some of the most commonly abused prescription drugs.

Marijuana use has consistently been on the rise ever since some states legalized the growing of the plant for medicinal purposes. Daily marijuana use was at its highest point among 12th graders since the early 1980s, and is currently at 6.1 percent. In some measures, marijuana use has catapulted past cigarette smoking, and 21.4 percent of high school seniors have used marijuana in the past 30 days.

Schools have implemented many different methods in an attempt to reduce the distribution and selling of illicit drugs on school grounds. The Supreme Court has backed the practice of student drug testing for students in extracurricular activities and sports, but surveys have showed no evidence that drug-testing policies led students to reduce or avoid drug use. Students are far more likely to begin using illicit drugs if their parents use illegal drugs, are heavy users of alcohol or are tolerant of children’s use. Without family bonding and parental control, children’s opinions about drug use are easily influenced by their peers.

The increase of illicit drug use has created pressure on school administrations to take extreme measures to identify students who are distributing, selling or using these drugs. When a student is accused of using, possessing or distributing illegal drugs, his or her future is at stake. It is the right of school authorities to search students if they suspect illegal drug use, and a principal can break open a locker if he or she believes drugs are hidden inside. If your son or daughter has been charged with drug possession or drug trafficking, they may be subject to criminal charges and penalties. It is always wise to consult a drug crime defense lawyer for answers to your questions about drug charges, especially if your children have been accused of a drug crime. Schools across America are only becoming more serious about illegal drug use, and your child may be wrongly accused by a zealous principal.

Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.

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