How did you learn to ride a bike? Think back to the event, if you can. For most, a parent introduced us to the freedom of riding without the aid of training wheels. We probably watched older siblings and playmates succeed in this childhood rite of passage prior to our own attempt. Much of what we learn, whether it is religious custom, etiquette, or fashion, is learned in a “culture”, an intense experience of informally learned behavior. No one goes to a seminar or takes a college class on drug abuse. We learn it from our family, friends, or colleagues over time.
The abuse of drugs is also a learned behavior. The relevance for an educator or administrator is the need to acknowledge that drug abuse is spread through a culture of use. Drugs do not just jump off a table and into our bodies. Most drug abusers will tell you that their initial experimentation happened under the guidance of an experienced user, and at a young age. New drugs, methods of ingesting drugs, and emerging trends surrounding the drug trade are spread through this active culture.
The drug culture is difficult to define, as cultures of deviant behavior usually are. The historically consistent rate of reported illicit drug users bears out the continued influence of the drug culture on our youth. The competent educational team realizes that the best way to deter the drug culture from creeping into their school is to cultivate a culture of good, healthy choices in the classroom. The latest trends in fighting the drug culture within school systems include employee and student drug testing, reasonable suspicion training for staff, and closer partnerships with local law enforcement utilizing drug-detection canines.
NATSB recommends a focus on culture when building a drug-free schools program. Multiple layers of integrated defenses work best. We understand the impact that drug abuse in children can have in an educational setting. Our team of experts is ready to consult with schools to build the best program that meets their needs and budget!