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Students Give Drug Programs Low Marks

Within the past two weeks, two Greenwich teens have died due to drugs or intoxicants. And while Greenwich High School tries to make students aware of drug dangers, freshmen Sam Wolff and Alex Moore say they're just not sure if it's effective.

"Most kids don't really listen to teachers or anyone," said Sam Wolff. "I think people don't really know what to think until they actually know what [drugs] are like."

Wolff’s comments came in the wake of the deaths of two recent GHS graduates, Brian Macken and Christopher T. Harris .

The Greenwich schools say they are working with community organizations to prevent risky behavior by bringing in speakers and hosting workshops. "We are targeting on how we proactively engage students in school, connect them to their passions and interests so that there is not a need for or time for substance abuse," said Kim Eves, director of communications for Greenwich Public Schools.

But students say it's not working, and research seems to back them up. A 2008 report by Students Against Destructive Decisions said that some 20.1 million Americans over the age of 12 were illicit drug users. And a 2009 National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion report said 20 percent of U.S. high school students had taken a prescription drug, such as Oxycontin, Percocet, Vicodin, Adderall or Xanax, without a doctor’s prescription.

"The school talks to us about drug prevention, but no one really pays attention," said GHS sophomore Campbell Watson. Kristine Simmel agreed. She said many of the lecturers are boring and that it would be helpful to have speakers to whom the kids can relate. Other students say the assemblies are just a way to talk to friends or surf the web on their Smartphones.

"I am aware of [drug abuse] because of my parents,” says GHS sophomore Hannah Kratky, “but I don't think the school really does a lot."

Another student didn’t think it would make much difference how much the school did. "I guess the school is doing as much as they can,” GHS senior Emily Rose Jacobs said, “but there is only so much you can do because kids who are going to do drugs are going to do them no matter what. They always think it is going to be someone else but not them."

Do you think the Greenwich Public Schools are doing enough in preventing drug abuse? How do you teach your children about drug abuse? Share your thoughts with me. Leave a comment below or send an email to acorbett@mainstreetconnect.us.

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