Grades 9-12 (ages 14-18)
Youths in grades
9-12 (14- to 18-year-olds, approximately) are a diverse population. The
years between 14 and 18 represent vast changes from the immaturity of
early adolescence to the nearly full maturity of adulthood.
of peers and adults
From ages 14 to 18, friendships become increasingly important to youths,
and friends become a source of information for making sometimes-significant
decisions. At these ages, friendships can be volatile. Girls especially
may be friendly and supportive of one another one day and non-communicative
and hurtful the next. Adults may wish to intervene, but they need to exercise
restraint so that youths can work out their own relationship problems
and improve their communication skills.
the prevention message
Older adolescents increasingly are able to deal with abstract concepts
such as truth and justice. Together with a more mature moral view of the
world, which allows them to consider how individuals and their actions
affect others' lives, this ability to think and reason in the abstract
allows them to consider the economic costs of drug use; the results of
teen- age pregnancy; the reasons for laws; and the impact of drugs on
our health care, rehabilitation, and judicial systems. Drug prevention
education consequently should focus less on drugs and their use as on
the ways in which drugs affect society. Infusing drug prevention education
throughout the curriculum is essential, and the entire school staff should
be involved in presenting the drug prevention message.
Adolescents face a great deal of stress from competing in school, learning
how to handle relationships with other people, dealing with societal pressures,
and planning for the future. Often, they are not prepared to cope with
this stress, When they were younger and felt ill, a pill might have helped.
Now the pill becomes alcohol, an illegal drug, or a relationship that
does more harm than good. These inappropriate coping mechanisms cause
more stress. Adults can help adolescents cope with stress by listening
to them and by supervising outlets for stress through art, drama, music,
about Alcohol and Other Drugs
about drug use
Youths in grades 9-12 face much greater exposure to drugs than they had
at earlier grades. Between the ages of 14 and 18, youths are exposed at
school and through social activities and jobs to older people who may
use ATOD. Although they may have made a conscious decision never to use
drugs, they are still vulnerable, and the opportunities are ever present.
% of tenth graders reported having tried cigarettes, and 26% reported
smoking within the previous month.
18% of tenth graders reported combining alcohol and drugs on one or
more occasions within the previous month.
of tenth graders reported having tried marijuana; 56% of them reported
first use by grade 8.
9% tried this drug, 3% used within the previous month, of those who
had tried cocaine about 33% had tried crack.
21% of 8th/9th graders had tried inhalants, 6% of 10th graders reported
use within the previous month.
in grades 9-12 should
Know how to identify alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, cocaine, inhalants,
hallucinogens, and stimulants in the various forms. Understand the long
and short term effects of these drugs include addiction and death, use
of alcohol and other drugs is illegal, experimenting with drugs is using
drugs, know how drugs are pushed, know that tobacco in any form is unhealthy,
and that wine coolers are illegal drugs.
Encourage open and frank discussion about concerns related to drugs and
their use, focus on life skills such as problem solving, stress, healthy
friendships and communicating with adults. Emphasize that most people,
including the majority of people their own age, do not use drugs.
Working with Parents
Communicate often with your child, and ask periodically how your child
is doing, thinking, and feeling. Share your life, including your feelings,
with your child. Know where your child is and who they are with. Be aware
of the signs of drug use, and watch for them in your child. Know the scientific
and street name for drugs. Allow your home to be a supervised haven for
youths, including your own, who have positive, healthy attitudes. Help
your child set realistic short and long term goals. Respond promptly to
any reports of problems or request for cooperation from the school concerning
your child. Take pride in your child's achievements and let your child
know that he or she is worthwhile.