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The student news site of Pleasant Valley High School

Spartan Shield

The student news site of Pleasant Valley High School

Spartan Shield

How much longer until it is too late: Teen drug use is a problem

Deputy+Fah+testing+for+THC+in+a+weed+pen+found+on+a+student+on+campus.+%0A
Ariana Assadi
Deputy Fah testing for THC in a weed pen found on a student on campus.

Nobody ever expects to see their best friend in a life-threatening situation. And no one is ever prepared for how helpless you feel in that moment. 

On the night of Sept. 29, 2023, I attended the Pleasant Valley High School homecoming football game with my best friend. She left that very same night in an ambulance.

When my friend,  and I arrived at the game, she told me she would be leaving around the end of the 2nd quarter to go see her boyfriend, who was unable to attend the game.

She left halfway through the 2nd quarter and told me she would be back by the end of the 3rd quarter. When she returned, she told me she was unable to come back to the stadium because of PV’s no re-entry rule. 

I asked her if she wanted me to leave the game, and she said I should stay. She had found some acquaintances to walk with and didn’t want to ruin the night for me. I told her I’d come right out to the car once the game was over. 

Five minutes later, I felt a tap on my shoulder and turned around to find my friend standing behind me. She was swaying around, and her eyes looked red. When I asked her if everything was alright, she told me she had tried smoking weed for the first time. 

I wasn’t sure how to react, but when she sat down and cradled her head in her hands, I knew something was wrong. I tried to give her water and something to eat, but she refused. 

I figured it would be better to get away from all the people in the student section, so I tried to help her stand up so we could leave. She swayed for a few seconds before she passed out. 

Watching her eyes roll to the back of her head and feeling all of her body weight suddenly collapse on me is something I’ll never forget. The feeling of panicked helplessness made my chest tight, and it was hard to breathe. 

As the deputy, Jamie Fah, came up once people around us started calling for him, and the medics and ambulance came, everything felt so surreal. I couldn’t believe this was happening. People smoke weed all the time, so why was she having such a bad reaction to it?

As it turns out, the drug was not pure marijuana. It was a synthetic drug. When paired with her hypokalemia, it caused her adverse reaction. 

Most people look at this as an isolated event. Because of how normalized drugs, especially marijuana, have become, many students don’t see how serious the negative effects of them are. 

“I know the drug use in our generation is very prominent, but other than the basic issues that come with it I’ve never really thought about it,” said junior Ashley Zumbdome. This is the outlook many students have at PV. If they don’t have any reason to learn about the serious side effects and consequences of smoking weed, they don’t.

Marijuana is a psychoactive drug that comes from the cannabis plant. Although the initial effects of marijuana may be feelings of euphoria, inhaling too much may cause coughing fits, nausea, dizziness and many other issues. 

Those are only the short term effects of weed. For those with health problems, they can be worsened by ingesting marijuana or synthetic cannabinoids, similar to what happened to my friend. 

Despite how common they have become, many students are still blind to the vast amounts of synthetic weed that exist. Synthetic cannabinoids mimic the effects of marijuana, but have additional negative effects. This includes a fast and irregular heart beat, chest pain, vomiting, seizures, stroke, or even death. 

“There is an increase in our community in access. Whenever there is more access you see an increase in use,” said Fah. When students are ignorant to the repercussions of weed and there is higher access, they are at risk for using and being harmed by the substance. 

With all of the other terrifying things that could have happened to my friend that night, I am grateful she was able to get the help she needed. To keep themselves and their friends safe, students at Pleasant Valley need to be more aware of the potentially lethal effects that marijuana and synthetic cannabinoids can have. 

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About the Contributor
Ariana Assadi, Design Editor
Ariana Assadi is a senior at Pleasant Valley High School. During her time at Pleasant Valley, Ariana has participated in many academic and extracurricular activities. Her numerous out-of-school activities include soccer and weightlifting, as well as taking part in the Pleasant Valley ambassador program for the past three years. Her favorite classes include Anatomy and Physiology, Microbiology, and Medical Terminology and Pharmacology. When she is not doing some sort of school activity, she can be found reading a book, binge watching Criminal Minds, or listening to Matt Maeson or Hozier. Ariana is a three year varsity athlete and plans on continuing to do soccer her senior year. Ariana is the design editor for the spartan shield.
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