Drug abuse moves from alleyways to hallways

"I still think underage drinking is probably number one, and marijuana use is number two, but this is just another avenue that kids have," Brown said.

In his experience, students do not use prescription drugs to enhance their focus for a big exam or to stay awake for an all-night study session - "it's another way to get high," he said.

Marcellus School District Superintendent Craig Tice believes the pressures of high school and societal influences could be part of the problem. He said that Marcellus, one of the schools that have been subject to drugs in the hands of its children, is merely a microcosm of what is going on in the world around them.

Despite the argument of a small town school representing the whole of an area, Philip D'Angelo, superintendent of schools in Skaneateles, said experimentation could be happening for several reasons.

"I think it's something new. Unfortunately, the other substance abuse has been out there and this is something new, something they want to experience," he said. "They want to know -the reaction."

Why pharmaceuticals

Coincidentally, with all the choices of activities for students these days, drug abuse may even be due to the desire to stay alert, D'Angelo said. While drugs such as speed are more known in college atmospheres, there are kids today with so much going on it is possible they want to try to "maximize their day and time," he added.

As a parent of a high school student, D'Angelo said that though Skaneateles has yet to have any problems with prescription drug sales or abuse in its schools, he hopes that if his own child knows of something he would do the right thing and speak up about it.

Brown said he thought the prevalence of prescription drug abuse among middle school students, versus high school-aged students, was that prescriptions were probably more easily accessible than alcohol or other illicit drugs.

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