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Editorial: Students share on preventing drugs in school system

Eighteen zero tolerance drug events in a 12-day period of Hamblen County Schools is baffling. Drug use is far too normalized for the youth. Middle schools and high schools being exposed to such harmful drugs is terrifying, because schools are supposed to be safe communities.

School is for education, to provide a good environment, encouraging advice, and help every student achieve their dreams. Drug use has been affecting our education. Some students learn it from home or are even provided by their own family. Some students' households do not teach them drug use, and they come to school and other students influence them to try it or make them feel less for not doing it. That is  where most of the students do it to try to fit in ,and it becomes an addiction causing them to show other students and this is something we have to eliminate. Drugs are not only affecting education, they affect all the students using them. Many do not know the substances drugs have and how hazard and deathly they can be, causing many types of long-life term consequences. Keep drugs out of school. All of us have a bright future, and it is not fair for it to be ruined by the risk of Fentanyl, or other substances that could cause any of us to be hospitalized and for the good of our future generations.   

Like many drugs, Fentanyl is just one of the many that cause damage mainly towards young adults. We believe several individuals are unaware of the many side effects this drug can cause them. Young adults have yet so much to learn therefore, they should not only be given a lesson but they also need education on this deadly drug. According to the  Hamblen County Substance Abuse Coalition, Fentanyl is often sold “off the street”, this causes easy access . This deadly drug can also be hidden as a fake prescription. A potentially lethal dose of fentanyl is the size of two grains of salt. Anxiety and stress is the main reason why a young audience gets potentially hooked to this drug. With that being said, anxiety and stress should not be ignored; reassuring someone who might be a victim to this drug, could be reassured with the fact that stress and anxiety is a part of life and they can also be suggested with ways to  manage them. 

Drug use in a school environment can be very harmful towards those using them. Drug misuse can cause changes to the brain's structure and function, making people more likely to develop a mental health condition like depression which is already a significant problem among teenagers and students. Drugs like Fentanyl are about 50x more potent than heroin and can be highly likely in causing an overdose. 

As implied, our goal is to keep a safe learning environment so we push informing parents, students, and faculty the dangers of Fentanyl and other drugs. We want to push the conversation of safety to prevent any dangers and keep our students and county safe. 

On Feb. 26 of 2024, Hamblen County Superintendent, General Arnold Bunch sent a letter addressed to the parents of children in Hamblen County Schools. Outlining a plan for outreach and education on fentanyl and the dangers of drugs. Bunch also plans to increase searches throughout the school system, this will likely deter drug use and drug transactions on West High’s campus. With a sharp increase in zero tolerance cases action is necessary. 


With the intention of moving towards an effective solution, grasping what the motivation is for those getting involved with drugs is crucial. Hamblen County Substance Abuse Coalition reveals, “Mental health is a key factor in substance use: 86% of youth 13-17 are overwhelmed and 79% say anxiety and stress is a common reason to misuse medication.” This clearly shows the urgency of educating students about other options or outlets to turn to instead of drug use, because what are known to be gateway drugs might just be what contains the most deadly drugs such as Fentanyl. 

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