Teachers across the Rio Grande Valley are preparing their classrooms to receive students for the new school year. But as the excitement builds, experts warn that also means the availability of illegal drugs.
Young kids could easily be addicted to substances, like marijuana and cocaine, according to experts.
“Recently these past years, it’s been the opioids,” said at-risk counselor Miguel Mendoza at Vela Middle School in Brownsville.
Mendoza has seen that drug abuse amongst kids and teens usually occurs as a way to cope with stress or trying to fit in.
The stress of school and pressures from friends might be factors that could lead them to use and become addicted to drugs and substances.
“Typically […] what we’re seeing in terms of statistics is that, usually those that are addicted to drugs have started use before the age of 18,” said Alexandria Ybarra from the Positive Community Impact Coalition.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, eighth graders that were surveyed in 2017 said that 13.5 percent used marijuana. 8.9 percent used some sort of inhalants and 0.8 percent reported using crack cocaine.
Experts warn that more kids are trying newer substances at a younger age. The danger they say is that kids and teen have a greater risk of becoming addicted.
“Especially in the high schools, where teens are sharing medications because they may think that its considered normal,” Ybarra said.
Experts recommend to listen to your child’s concerns and speak with your child’s school counselor for help.
“Don’t lecture. Talk to them, talk with them. I think that’s key and getting the message across,” Mendoza said.