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Beyond Alcohol and Nicotine: Raising Awareness Levels of School Administrators to Synthetic Drugs by Dr. LaVelle Hendricks, Dr. Arthur J. Borgemenke, Dr. Maria Hinojosa - Published in NATIONAL FORUM JORNALS - www.nationalforum.com - Dr. William Allan Krit
Beyond Alcohol and Nicotine: Raising Awareness Levels of School Administrators to Synthetic Drugs by Dr. LaVelle Hendricks, Dr. Arthur J. Borgemenke, Dr. Maria Hinojosa - Published in NATIONAL FORUM JORNALS - www.nationalforum.com - Dr. William Allan Krit
Beyond Alcohol and Nicotine: Raising Awareness Levels of School Administrators to Synthetic Drugs by Dr. LaVelle Hendricks, Dr. Arthur J. Borgemenke, Dr. Maria Hinojosa - Published in NATIONAL FORUM JORNALS - www.nationalforum.com - Dr. William Allan Krit
Beyond Alcohol and Nicotine: Raising Awareness Levels of School Administrators to Synthetic Drugs by Dr. LaVelle Hendricks, Dr. Arthur J. Borgemenke, Dr. Maria Hinojosa - Published in NATIONAL FORUM JORNALS - www.nationalforum.com - Dr. William Allan Krit
Beyond Alcohol and Nicotine: Raising Awareness Levels of School Administrators to Synthetic Drugs by Dr. LaVelle Hendricks, Dr. Arthur J. Borgemenke, Dr. Maria Hinojosa - Published in NATIONAL FORUM JORNALS - www.nationalforum.com - Dr. William Allan Krit
Beyond Alcohol and Nicotine: Raising Awareness Levels of School Administrators to Synthetic Drugs by Dr. LaVelle Hendricks, Dr. Arthur J. Borgemenke, Dr. Maria Hinojosa - Published in NATIONAL FORUM JORNALS - www.nationalforum.com - Dr. William Allan Krit
Beyond Alcohol and Nicotine: Raising Awareness Levels of School Administrators to Synthetic Drugs by Dr. LaVelle Hendricks, Dr. Arthur J. Borgemenke, Dr. Maria Hinojosa - Published in NATIONAL FORUM JORNALS - www.nationalforum.com - Dr. William Allan Krit
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Beyond Alcohol and Nicotine: Raising Awareness Levels of School Administrators to Synthetic Drugs by Dr. LaVelle Hendricks, Dr. Arthur J. Borgemenke, Dr. Maria Hinojosa - Published in NATIONAL FORUM JORNALS - www.nationalforum.com - Dr. William Allan Krit

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Dr. LaVelle Hendricks, Dr. Arthur J. Borgemenke, Dr. Maria Hinojosa - Published in the NATIONAL FORUM OF EDUCATIONAL ADMINISTRATION AND SUPERVISION JOURNAL, Volume 30, Number 1, 2012-2013 - Dr. …

Dr. LaVelle Hendricks, Dr. Arthur J. Borgemenke, Dr. Maria Hinojosa - Published in the NATIONAL FORUM OF EDUCATIONAL ADMINISTRATION AND SUPERVISION JOURNAL, Volume 30, Number 1, 2012-2013 - Dr. William Allan Kritsonis, Editor-in-Chief, NATIONAL FORUM JOURNALS, www.nationalforum.com - NATIONAL FORUM JOURNALS

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  • 1. NATIONAL FORUM OF EDUCATIONAL ADMINISTRATION AND SUPERVISION JOURNAL VOLUME 30, NUMBER 1, 2012-2013 BEYOND ALCOHOL AND NICOTINE: RAISING AWARENESS LEVELS OF SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS TO SYNTHETIC DRUGS LaVelle Hendricks Arthur J. Borgemenke Maria Hinojosa Texas A&M University-Commerce ABSTRACTSynthetic drugs have become an increasing health and safety issue in schoolsacross the United States. K2 or Spice (Synthetic marijuana) and bath salts(pseudo methamphetamines/cocaine) have become the drugs of choice amongschool-aged children. The low cost and ability of anyone to purchase legally aretwo of the major reasons for the proliferation of the drugs. Schooladministrators are battling to stay informed, raise awareness, and initiateprograms to prevent use and abuse of these dangerous substances. IntroductionT he purpose of this article is to provide pK-12 school administrators with information about the new wave of synthetic drugs invading school campuses. Synthetic drugs (K2and bath salts) are readily available to all school-aged childrenthroughout the nation. These new drugs are formulated by streetchemists who prey on the vulnerability and naiveté of youngsters.This article is intended to inform school officials about the dangersposed to students by the use and abuse of these easily procuredsynthetic drugs. 45
  • 2. 46NATIONAL FORUM OF EDUCATIONAL ADMINISTRATION AND SUPERVISION JOURNAL Synthetic Drugs: The New Challenge The war against drugs on school campuses has been anongoing battle for many decades. With every new school year newthreats to the health and safety of school children complicate thiscontinuous fight. In just the last several years, two new synthetic drugshave raised major concerns among school districts throughout thenation. Although several states have taken action to make syntheticdrugs such as K2, spice (synthetic marijuana) and bath salts (pseudomethamphetamine and pseudo cocaine) illegal for sale, school districtscontinue to fight to protect their students from these dangerousproducts that remain widely available. “According to data from the2011 Monitoring the Future survey of youth drug-use trends, 11.4 %of 12th graders used spice or K2 in the past year, making it the secondmost commonly used illicit drug among seniors” (The White HouseOffice on National Drug Control, 2012). K2 or spice is a synthetic drug composed of a wide variety ofherbal mixtures. Although the product packaging states “not forhuman consumption” many are using the product as an alternative tomarijuana. Labels found on the packaging state that Spice productcontains “„natural” psycho-active material taken from a variety ofplants” (“DrugFacts,” 2012, para. 2). The product, when smoked orsprinkled over food, causes the user to experience the same effect as tohaving smoked marijuana. The majority of the products sold as spiceare marketed as a safe alternative to the drug – marijuana. Because thechemical composition of the product varies widely, it is possible thatwith all the different varieties sold, the product may containsubstances that are much more dangerous that the actual drug.Spiceproducts, typically labeled “not for human consumption,” are popularamong teens and young adults because anyone of any age can stillpurchase them in many places.
  • 3. LaVelle Hendricks, Arthur J. Borgemenke,& Maria Hinojosa 47 Raising Awareness for School Administrators School districts throughout the nation are reporting an increasein incidents involving Spice (“DrugFacts,” 2012). Many schooladministrators have taken notice of these synthetic drugs andimplemented proactive plans of action. The Coolidge Unified SchoolDistrict in Coolidge, Arizona has developed a brochure to distribute intheir schools and to their community to make everyone aware of thedangers in drug use specifically targeting synthetic drugs. Thebrochure, “Synthetic Drugs: A New Danger to our Students” explainswhat spice is, the dangers of using it, and what signs and symptoms towatch for (“Synthetic Drugs,” 2011). The Coolidge Unified School District‟s brochure also includesinformation on a fairly new synthetic drug known as bath salt. Thisnew product is sold legally on the Internet and can be found in drugparaphernalia stores. Although bath salt is fairly new and the truechemical composition of the product is unknown, the effects of usingthem have been compared to that of methamphetamine and cocaine.The school district in Coolidge has taken action to educate not only thestudents but the parents and the community as well. Their brochureincludes the school district‟s Synthetic Drug Use Policy and lists thesigns and symptoms of using these products (“Synthetic Drugs,”2011). In Augusta County Virginia, the Augusta County Sheriff‟sOffice has teamed up with the Augusta County Public Schools toaddress the increase of bath salt use among the youth in their schools.By working together with the sheriff‟s office, the school boardmembers are looking for ways to educate students about the danger ofusing bath salt. The students are their number one priority according toSgt. Rick Modlin of the August County Sheriff‟s Office. However, themore people involved in this effort the better (Tice, 2012). The effects of the recent nationwide economic downturn havenot left educational drug awareness programs unscathed. School
  • 4. 48NATIONAL FORUM OF EDUCATIONAL ADMINISTRATION AND SUPERVISION JOURNALdistricts faced with the difficult decision of cutting curriculumprograms or drug awareness and prevention programs are many timeschoosing the latter. Recently, a school district in Michigan was facedwith just such a choice. Ashley Hoomstra, Drug Awareness andResistance Education (D.A.R.E.) Youth Advisory BoardRepresentative from Michigan detailed just an incident. The Michiganschool district in which she worked had targeted the D.A.R.E. programfor budget cuts. An organized effort by teachers, students andcommunity members managed to save the program from termination(“D.A.R.E.,” 2012). Raising the awareness of all stakeholdersinvolved in the school about the continuing threats drugs pose to ourchildren resulted in the salvaging of one program that has shownlevels of success in addressing the ongoing drug problem. Drug use is not the only new threat in schools today. Challengefads also endanger the health of our children. These self-inflictedchallenges attract young thrill-seekers to dare each other to performdangerous stunts. They include the cinnamon challenge, wherestudents eat large amounts of dry cinnamon in short periods of time,and the ice and salt challenge, where children place ice and salt onparts of their bodies and see how long they can endure the pain(Collins, 2012). These activities, in and out of school, are creatingmajor concerns within school districts around the nation. Thesedangerous fads have gained popularity as youngsters post videos of thechallenges via the Internet on social media sites. Despite all thewarnings from health professionals, individuals of all ages continue totake the cinnamon challenge and perform the ice and salt challenge.Many schools are trying to find ways to discourage their students frompartaking in these challenges. Students know of the challenge becauseof the Internet but most parents may be clueless. The Bridgewater-Raynham Regional School District in New Jersey has sent lettershome to the parents of their students advising them of this new fad andencouraging the parents to talk to their children of the danger involved(Varma-White, 2012). The Pottstown School District in Pottstown, Pennsylvania has
  • 5. LaVelle Hendricks, Arthur J. Borgemenke,& Maria Hinojosa 49put a ban on open-top boots in an attempt to stop students fromsmuggling in vials of cinnamon into the school to take the cinnamonchallenge on campus (Keates, 2012). Some school districts and schooladministrators may still be in the dark about this “challenge”. In NewHaven, Connecticut, a school principal was placed on administrativeleave after she witnessed students taking the cinnamon challenge inthe school cafeteria and made no attempt to stop it (“Conn. Principalon Leave,” 2012). Treatment and Prevention With the emergence of new synthetic drugs and challenge fads,school districts and school administrators are finding themselvesscrambling in their attempts to adequately address these issuesthreatening their students. With the help of their local law enforcementagencies as well as state and government departments of public safetyand health and human services, they are getting the word out and themessage across to not just students but to parents and the community(“Information about Bath Salts,” 2011). In June of 2012, both the USHouse of Representatives and the US Senate passed S. 3187. This billhas classified all of the chemicals used to make K2 (spice) and bathsalts as Schedule I substances. Schedule I substances are those thathave no clear medical use and also have a high probability of abuse(The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, 2012).While this action by Congress is a promising development, schooladministrators must remain vigilant for signs of these drugs. Largesupplies still exist and may still find their way into the hands ofchildren who may abuse the dangerous substances. Conclusions and Implications School administrators face a continuous onslaught of threats tothe students in their charge. Educational leaders must continuouslyupdate their knowledge bases about new drugs and other threats to
  • 6. 50NATIONAL FORUM OF EDUCATIONAL ADMINISTRATION AND SUPERVISION JOURNALchildren on school campus. All stakeholders in the educational processneed to participate in becoming proactive about treating andpreventing use and abuse of new drugssuch as K2, spice and bath salts.
  • 7. LaVelle Hendricks, Arthur J. Borgemenke,& Maria Hinojosa 51 REFERENCESCollins, L. M. (2012, July). Salt and ice another dangerous challenge attracting kids. Deseret News. Retrieved from http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865558429/Salt-and-ice- another-dangerous challenge-attracting-kids.html?pg=allConn. principal on leave after witnessing students take ‘Cinnamon Challenge’ at lunch.(2012,February 1). Retrieved from http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504083_162-57369549- 5040083/conn-principal-on-leave-after-witnessing-students- take-the-cinnamon-challenge-at-Lunch/D.A.R.E. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.dare.com/home/hometowndareusa/storypage8a77.aspDrugFacts: Spice, synthetic marijuana. (2012, May). Retrieved from http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/spice- synthetic-marijuanaInformation about bath salts for school personnel. (2011, August 17). Retrieved fromhttp://www.maine.gov/education/sh/bathsalts.htmlKeates, N. (2012, March 15). Just a spoonful of cinnamon makes the Internet rounds. The WallStreet Journal, p. E20.Synthetic drugs: A new danger to our students. (2011). Retrieved from http://www.hs.collidgeschools.org/filestore/SyntheticDrugBroc hure_Coolidge.pdfTice, R. (2012, April 11). Bath salt classes for county schools. Retrieved from http://www.whsv.com/home/headlines/Bath_Salt_Classes_for_ 147055205.htmlVarma-White, K. (2012, March 28). Poison centers warn about cinnamon challenge. Retrieved from http://moms.today.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/03/17/107215 41-poison-center-warn-about-cinnamon-challenge?liteThe White House Office on Drug Coordination Policy. (2012). Synthetic drugs: (a.k.a., K2, spice and bath salts). Retrieved from http://www.whitehouse.gov/ondcp/ondcp-fact- sheets/synthetic-drugs-k2-spice-bath-salts

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