Drug and alcohol program succeeds in rehabilitation

Often confused for a detox program, the aformentioned rehab program instead aims for education

Joe Borushek

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With mental illness, there is the long lasting problem of self medication as a solution to cope with illness. This can lead to long lasting drug and alcohol problems and is often a short term solution to a long term problem.

When this starts affecting sports and extracurriculars, the school steps in.

The school has a “three strike” policy regarding drugs and alcohol if they are used at school.

The first offense results in a seven day suspension, but students are also offered a “recognized evidence and community-based alternative to suspension program,” according to the student guidebook.

If a student is caught using drugs or alcohol during school or at a school affiliated event, the alternative program to suspension is a rehabilitation program.

In addition to the rehabilitation program, the student is suspended from school for a maximum of seven days for the first offense as well as 25% of their season if they are involved in sports, and for a month if they are involved in an extracurricular.

While it may seem that the administration is making a cookie cutter type punishment for every student caught drinking or using drugs in or out of school, that isn’t the case.

“If the student violates a code or causes an in-school violation [regarding drugs and alcohol] they are referred to the Student Assistance Program,” Scott Williams, Assistant Principal for Student Services, said. “They meet with a counsellor from the S.A.P., and do an evaluation with that student to see where they fall in what we call ‘the risk continuum,’ which ranges from first time user, to experimentation, to regular use, to addicted.”

This means that students who are first time users aren’t going through the same programs as those who are heavy users, which is a common misconception for those who haven’t been involved in the program.

While it may sound like the rehabilitation program is just a place to detox, it is much more than that.

“The rehabilitation program was more of an educational class on decision making,” an anonymous student who had gone through the rehabilitation process said.

“There were a lot of statistics to inform us on the consequences of different substances. We would do worksheets and watch videos to caution us on the dangers of the substances available to teenagers.”

The misconception about this whole process is that it is an over exaggeration to a seemingly mundane problem, but in actuality it is a way for students to understand the dangers of drugs and alcohol.

“Our goal is education,” Williams said, “we want you to take away something from this experience so you don’t repeat the same mistake down the road.”

“I think that the point the administration is trying to make using it as an alternative to punishment is the general education [of drugs and alcohol],” the anonymous student said. “I think it has the stereotype of being looked at as ‘rehab,’ but everyone makes mistakes.”

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