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Investigating student drug use at Foothill Tech

Layla Solomon
Drug use, particularly vaping or smoking marijuana, is a prevalent issue among high schoolers. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) states that 23.2 percent of 12th graders had vaped nicotine in the past year, and 29 percent of 12th graders had reported using cannabis in the past year, according to the 2023 NIDA Monitoring the Future annual survey. While drug use among teens is not rising dramatically, the dangers of doing so have. With deadly synthetic drugs like fentanyl contaminating drug supplies, drug use in teens has been more dangerous than ever before.

According to a fact sheet collected from the California Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS) in 2021, the percentage of drug use among high school students has decreased over the last number of years. Nonetheless, the topic of teenage drug habits is still a popular subject, even at Foothill Technology High School (Foothill Tech).

Some students at Foothill Tech feel that drugs are a concern. Samantha Jacobson ‘26 stated that drug use, “is definitely something that everyone knows is happening, and it’s becoming increasingly easier to get if you know the right people.” Like Jacobson had mentioned, the easy access to drugs has increased and some are even able to get it on campus. Anonymous Student A shared, “I didn’t want my weed pen anymore so I just sold it to someone at school.”

There is a wide range of drugs being used at Foothill Tech. Dragons have commented on the prevalence of vaping as one of the most common substances used. Despite a decrease in overall use in Ventura, Calif. as reflected in the most recent 2021 CHKS fact sheet, vaping is still a popular choice among high school students. According to anonymous Student B, “I see more [Foothill Tech] students using vape pens than any other type of drug.”

I think information such as the effects of drugs and people’s personal stories would be the most beneficial for Foothill Tech students.

— Hailey Stone '26

Drugs such as marijuana, alcohol and prescription drugs are other substances taken by Foothill Tech students. It is difficult to accurately determine to what extent students are using such drugs. However, some students commented that substances are easy to find if you know where to look. Anonymous Student C shared, “It’s not difficult to get drugs if you know the right people or place to get them from.”

The use of drugs is not limited to at home, and it has made its way to campus. “I would usually go to the bathroom at break or lunch and vape, but now I just do it in my car,” Student B said. “I saw someone use their vape in class while the teacher wasn’t looking,” Student A said.

In order to adequately combat drug use, students believe that there needs to be more education on drugs and their effects. “Although we did have a course in freshman year on drugs and alcohol, it was very short and not memorable,” Hailey Stone ‘26 said. Jacobson shared how her health teacher didn’t, “really educate on what the drugs did/were,” and added, “all [the teacher] did was … emphasize abstinence, which historically, has led to students wanting to use the substance more.” Additionally, the need for a more personal connection to drug use would be effective toward reducing it.

Students at Foothill Tech took the CHKS the week of March 25, 2024. Students were provided a variety of questions, some of which asked students about their use of drugs and alcohol. Information will then reveal whether the use of vaping, drugs and alcohol among Foothill Tech students has increased or decreased compared to previous years. Regardless of what the numbers may say, the use of drugs and alcohol by high school students will always be a topic that speaks loudly.

What do you think?
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About the Contributors
Ella Asher
Ella Asher, Reporter
A junior who loves the ocean and chai lattes.
Layla Solomon
Layla Solomon, Writer
Women love me, fish fear me.

Comments (1)

Comments on articles are screened and those determined by editors to be crude, overly mean-spirited or that serve primarily as personal attacks will not be approved. The Editorial Review Board, made up of 11 student editors and a faculty adviser, make decisions on content.
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  • C

    ClarisseMar 29, 2024 at 4:47 pm

    People KNOW it’s wrong that they’re using drugs. They’ll be ashamed of it as well yet continue (ab)using their substances. That’s the irony of it all.

    Some people are using their mental illnesses and anxieties to excuse their addictions. Yeah sure substance XYZ is working for them, but are they aware of the withdrawal effects?? The majority of substances people withdraw from commonly increase anxiety and paranoia. I don’t think that they care.

    In terms of education, drug and substance abuse awareness starts as early as sixth grade in Ventura. Students saying “The class is not engaging” or “not memorable enough” don’t actually care to pay attention in class and take none of the information they’re being taught to heart.