Drug use in PV

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Drug use in PV

Devices that contain nicotine popular with youth today

Devices that contain nicotine popular with youth today

Devices that contain nicotine popular with youth today

Devices that contain nicotine popular with youth today

Kate Stewart, Copy Editor

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Pleasant Valley High School is a high achieving school; there is no way around it. However, these students are exposed to drugs on a daily basis, with the availability of drugs becoming more prevalent than previously thought.

Though the school often receives the stereotype as being the “rich kid school”, with many students coasting through easy lives, this stereotype does not hold true within PV. 

However, other stereotypes do.

For example, the stereotype that Pleasant Valley contains many drug users. Even as a school with success in both sports and academics, there is still a high exposure to many illegal substances, such as nicotine and marijuana. 

In 2015, Niche rated the Pleasant Valley district only seven places below first in the state. Though a high-achieving atmosphere is seemingly the most ideal, according to a study done in the Northeastern US, “Teens who attend high-achieving schools in well-to-do communities may be more vulnerable to drug and alcohol problems.” This fact aligns a little too well with the current high-achieving, though competitive atmosphere in Pleasant Valley schools. 

Based on a survey with 90 total respondents, 67 percent of students surveyed reported that they had used a device containing nicotine at least once in their lives. Additionally, 59 percent of those surveyed reported that they had used a device containing marijuana in some form during their lifetime. Both of these reports are well over the halfway point, a joulting discovery for many outside the Pleasant Valley walls.

Though those outside the district may find these numbers shocking, Pleasant Valley students did not hesitate to report the truth about their use of these substances. In addition to admitting to their use, students also revealed how long it would take to gain access to substances such as nicotine and marijuana. The majority reported that it would take them less than 15 minutes to gain access to a nicotine device. 

An anonymous senior was asked about underclassmen access to nicotine and whether they have greater access now than his senior class did. He responded by saying “I would definitely say so because juuling took off around our sophomore year, so I think freshman now have more access because it’s more popular now.” 

Devices such as a juul or a Novo are easily accessible to upperclassmen, especially once they turn 18. Marijuana is an exception as it is not as easily attainable and is illegal for everyone in Iowa no matter age. However, in some cases the use of CBD oil for medical purposes is acceptable. 

These facts coincide with the results from students, as the majority (22 percent) of students selected that it would take them at least a few hours to gain access to marijuana in some form. However, a hefty 21 percent still reported that it would take them fewer than 15 minutes to access marijuana in some form. 

Fewer than 15 minutes seems surprisingly fast, considering marijuana is illegal for all persons without medical clearance in Iowa. However, the same anonymous senior reported “I definitely know it [weed] has not gained as much popularity as vaping.” With the fast-approaching legalization of marijuana in Illinois, it is likely that the accessibility to marijuana in Iowa will skyrocket as well. 

Even with the striking use of illegal substances within Pleasant Valley High School, talent and success is undoubtedly growing. Unfortunately, it is safe to assume that drug use and accessibility is also growing within the district. 

When answering their final survey question, 60 percent of those surveyed reported that by the end of their high school career, they think they will have used or have already used a device containing both nicotine or marijuana in some form. As accessibility to drugs within PV grows, awareness about students’ drug use must grow as well in order to ensure the future success of Pleasant Valley students.