Story & Photo by Kessley Miller
Growing up in today’s society, young adults are constantly facing the struggles of feeling influenced by their peers or internal psychological issues to make decisions about doing or selling drugs. Their reaction to the pressure they receive could easily affect not only themselves, but their entire family for the rest of their lives.
It is easy for young adults to see just what drugs can do to someone’s mental and physical health because so many celebrities are coming out with their drug addiction stories. Despite this, the “thrill” of having the same euphoric feelings that an influencer has or having an “escape” from reality can be enticing to a young person with a developing mind. Young adulthood and beyond are the years in which many mental health symptoms show. Contributing factors to substance abuse include mental health. People diagnosed with depression, social anxiety, chronic panic attacks, PTSD and victims of assault need a way of coping with their conditions.
Recently, the actress and singer Demi Lovato was sent to the hospital for overdosing. The 25-year-old has admitted to using drugs since she was 17. Since she has gone public about her addiction, there is now a renewed conversation on how children are taught about drugs and the actions that should be taken to raise awareness about addiction.
“By the time kids are in fourth grade they know about drugs, but it is crucial to go more in depth about what is and isn’t illegal to help them better understand,” Lindsay Sutton, Mid-Del school counselor for Schwartz Elementary said.
From an elementary age, the idea of how wrong it is to do drugs is etched into a child’s brain. Having events such as drug-free weeks at school raises awareness, but as children grow up, the discussion about drugs and how they affect the human body continues to dwindle down.
“The best way to help children to understand what drugs are and how to cope with them is to start the conversation,” Sutton continued.
The growth of the digital age has allowed the younger generation to access more life-threatening drugs at a younger age but without the explanation of how harmful these hard drugs can be. According to The National Survey of American Attitudes on Substance Abuse XVI: Teens and Parents, teenagers aged 12-17 who are exposed to social media at a younger age are five times more likely to use tobacco, three times more likely to use alcohol and two times likelier to use marijuana.
Genetics plays a major role in how addiction affects life, as studies have shown that depression and anxiety, among other mental illnesses, increase substance abuse. Some studies estimate that the cause of addiction can be contributed 50 percent to genetic factors, meaning that substance abuse is likely to run in families.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse for Teens showed there are more than 4,200 drug overdose deaths amongst teens in just one year. Not only does this affect teens on a national level, but it has had an impact at the local level as well.
“Counselors and teachers get trained on all types of abuse except for drugs and alcohol,” Sutton said. Without formal training, situations are dealt with using personal judgment and haphazardly without regulatory oversight.
For more information, visit teens.drugabuse.gov, or The Office of Special Services can help, located on campus in the Student Services Building, or visit Austinbox12foundation.org, which is a local organization that helps spread awareness on opioids.
Story & Photo by Yesenia Gonzalez
New students were welcomed into the Hudiburg Communications Center for College Snapshot on Aug. 14. About 500 students participated in the event designed to acquaint students with the Rose State campus. During online registration prior to College Snapshot, students filled out a questionnaire that placed them in distinct groups, known as tracks, and they would attend different workshops throughout the day. According to Recruiter Paige Stramski, College Snapshot is different from a college orientation.
“Traditional orientation at Rose State is an actual class that some students are required to take, and some take it on a voluntary basis,” Stramski said. “It is more classroom-style, while also getting to take a campus tour and visit a few other areas on camps. College Snapshot is a little more specific with the tracks to make sure each student is getting information that is more tailored to their interests. Each option offers great information for our incoming students; it is just a matter of preference or a need for the traditional orientation class.”
President Jeanie Webb greeted students at the Hudiburg Center and there were presentations about Rose State’s Online Learning Community, counseling services, Title IX information and a safety presentation. Afterward, students were dismissed by their tracks to attend various workshops. Student athletes, Health Science majors, first-generation college students, Hispanic students and the Black Male Initiative track were some of the groups roaming the Rose State campus.
One of the workshops that students attended was from the Oklahoma College Assistance Program, a division of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. Sheniqia Haynes and Jordan Evans, OCAP outreach services representatives, presented students with information about okcollegestart.org, a website that provides students with resources to continue their education. Evans voiced his advice for incoming college students.
“I’d say, get involved, that’s the biggest thing that you can do. It’s the easiest way to make friends; it’s the easiest way to [go forward],” Evans said.
College Snapshot offered students a glimpse at life at Rose State. There are many other opportunities throughout the school year for students to get involved on campus.
“Be involved,” Stramski said. “Be involved in your academics and be involved with campus activities. Make friends with your classmates because you are all going through the same thing. Rose State is full of amazing people that are willing to help you succeed so don’t be afraid to ask for help.”
One opportunity for students to be engaged on campus is Raider Dayz, an event held Aug. 20 and 21 to welcome students to a new school year. Each day hosts different events on campus. Visit the 15th Street News Facebook page for a complete schedule.
The 15th Street News is a student publication at Rose State College.