2015 Summit: Restorative Justice News

Study: Teen drug, alcohol, tobacco use down over last 2 years

Dean works to keep student substance abuse down

By Carter Santini ’15
THE ROUNDUP 

The Arizona Criminal Justice Commission released statistics in November reporting that teen drug, alcohol and tobacco use is down.

The poll asked 48,000 8th, 10th and 12th graders from 15 countries, and found a downward trend from the last poll conducted two years ago. Alcohol usage was down 5 percent, marijuana usage down 3 percent, tobacco down 6 percent, and all other drugs were reported lower as well.

“I think its education,” said Counselor Mrs. Karen Parise. “I think that the more kids understand brain development and embrace that, the more likely they’ll be to delay use.”

Mrs. Parise said that she hopes the numbers are down at Brophy but she doesn’t directly see the numbers going down.

Dean Mr. Pat Higgins said he works to keep the substance abuse numbers at Brophy down through conversation and genuine concern.

“Due to the Internet we feel more connected to these horrible effects of drug abuse, because now someone who is 2,000 miles away is right there on your social media,” Mr. Higgins said.

Brophy’s administration has used many methods to decrease drug use amongst its students from drug dogs to retreats, but now they have implemented the Community of Concern.

The Community of Concern is a dialogue between parents and the freshmen in their second semester to create a safe place for discussion about drugs and alcohol.

According to Mr. Higgins the Community of Concern was built around conversation and open discussion in an attempt to approach the situation from a Jesuit tradition.

“The most common time for people to fall into use is in their first summer of high school, so we try to be proactive and use the program to prevent that,” Mr. Higgins said.

Mr. Higgins’ disciplinary data for drug and alcohol related offenses are sporadic with no clear correlation from semester to semester.

Brophy students who abstain from substances have differing reasons.

“Stuff like that makes people do things they wouldn’t normally do and that lack of self-control disturbs me,” said Race Carter ’15.

Carter said that he feels any substance is dangerous to him on multiple levels of his person.

Anand Swaminathan ’15 said he refrains because he finds no value in any of it.

“I refrain because my high school years have just been too busy, getting into that stuff would just be a distraction to any goals I want,” Swaminathan said.