What Local High School Students Think You Should KNOW

Parents need to tell their kids that they don’t need to get pressured by other students to try various drugs and things. Kids are too scared to say, “No.” Parents and teachers need to help kids KNOW how to say NO. 

It is especially bad when kids get pressured, then get addicted. The kids need to speak out but that’s hard to do. Once they are addicted, they are afraid they will get into trouble if they speak out. 

A lot of students are vaping. Parents need to watch out and TALK with their kids; it’s a HUGE thing, really addictive, and you cannot just quit at any time.

Teachers need to SAY something when they suspect vaping in school and classrooms. They are not calling it out; they don’t notice or don’t care. They might see it and care, but they don’t know what to do about it. Teachers do it so easily with phones in the classroom, so why not with vaping?

The evidence of vaping may be hard for teachers and parents to see because we are smart and can hide it.

I talked to one person and he stopped using everything; I told him it was ruining his life. It stinks that some kids feel like they have nothing to lose; they don’t play sports, their parents hate them, they have nothing to live for.

Take Back Day Comments by Howard County Student Volunteers

I am grateful to live in a community where people can come together to help one another. The drive-thru was a great way for people to dispose of things they did not need/could abuse in the future.

I am grateful that so many people were willing to volunteer and drop-off medications despite the weather because they were willing to be out in the cold rain to support the community.

I am thankful for Take Back Day because it gives me the opportunity to help others in my community.

It’s amazing the see the amount of people that show up on Take Back Days. It’s a great experience and I’m grateful to be around the members of HC DrugFree; they are truly outstanding people.

I am grateful that I have a family that enforces not using drugs. I am also grateful that I live in Howard County where I can take action and stand up for a drug-free county.

I am thankful for a drug-free family and environment.

I am grateful that I live in a community such as Howard County that provides more than enough support through counselors, programs, support groups, education, hotlines and more.

I am also thankful that I have never been offered drugs during school.

I am grateful that harmful drugs are out of the community, lowering the crime and keeping the community clean.

I am grateful that we have access to medications.

I am grateful that people come to donate old drugs.

I am grateful to be a part of this experience and to help make Howard County a safer community.

I’m happy that our community has the ability to help my community and decrease the amount of drugs. The ability to shape your community is a blessing and I for one feel blessed to live in an accepting, proactive community. I have been in drug-ridden communities; the people may seem hopeless, but for ours there will always be hope for a brighter, safer tomorrow.

I am grateful that Howard County and Maryland offer other people help for and with their addiction and mental illnesses.

I am grateful for Take Back Day because it allowed me to see how much work and sacrifice is put into making an event work, and how it is important to put certain things before yourself in certain situations.

I am grateful that the drugs were disposed of properly so that they wouldn’t make it back into the community.

I am grateful for the opportunity to make new friends at Take Back Day and make a positive impact on my community.

I am grateful for the opportunity to help my community, through diminishing the amount of drugs during Drug Take Back Day. I know I’m helping to make it a safer and happier place for all of those around me.

I am grateful for the fact that there were so many adults present and responsible enough to bring their unused medication to be properly disposed of.

I am grateful for earning service hours at Take Back Day and being able to be with my friends doing service

I am grateful for my friends who make service so much more fun! #takebackday

I am grateful for Drug Take Back Day because it allows me to be able to help people get rid of their prescription drugs so that they do not fall into the wrong hands.

I am grateful for the opportunity to give back.

I am that I was born into drug free family. I’m grateful to live in a county that cares about decreasing drug consumption among teenagers.

I liked helping the community. I thought that it was a fun and easy way to help the community. It is also a great way to get your community service hours.

Galvanizing! So much donated. Instant gratification knowing drugs were being removed from the streets and preventing the start of an addiction. Also got to make new friends and reunite with old friends.

It’s great to see the community coming together and getting rid of old medications. These people may be saving others from possible addiction.

Teens or Younger May Want to Read Sunny's Story

In a recent newsletter, HC DrugFree suggested to our followers that you may want to read Sunny's Story  We asked 2 Howard County Public School students entering 9th and 11th grade as well as adults to read Sunny's Story and share their thoughts with you:

9th grader: Sunny's Story is about a dog, Sunny, who was adopted by an innocent, smart and happy little boy named Ian. As Ian grew older, he started becoming more distant and started smoking and drinking and doing drugs. The drugs made him depressed and when he went to college he started doing worse drugs and he needed help. He couldn't take the withdrawal symptoms and did his last drugs and died of an overdose. His parents realized that they needed to speak out and make sure that kids can talk about their drug use in order to help the families in similar situations.

11th grader:  I found the book very interesting and able to grab my attention because of the unique perspective in which it was written. Since it was so short, I was able to read it in one sitting which helped me to go straight through and made it a bit more emotional. The fact that this was a true story made it even more touching and impactful because it shows that it can really happen to anyone, and these stories aren't so far off, but are happening to all different types of people. I highly recommend this book to all ages and think it could be both beneficial and impactful to a broad range of people.

Senior Week 2018: Through the Eyes of a Teen

Senior Week 2018: Through the Eyes of a Howard County Teen

In partnership with the Ocean City Police, Ocean City Beach Patrol, Howard County Public School System and the PTSAs, HC DrugFree holds at least 2 Senior Week: Staying Safe in Ocean City programs each school year. Our goal is to prepare teens and parents for what can happen during Senior Week as well as help families determine if their teens are responsible enough to go to the shore without supervision. 

Here is what one Howard County teen wrote about a 2018 Senior Week experience:

Senior week 2018 was an interesting time to say the least. I went in fully expecting to see my peers either drunk or high, and yet I was still surprised. My entire week was filled with students openly drinking on the beach, using e-cigarettes, and the constant smell of weed. It was certainly an eye opening experience. Even just walking down the street I felt like a delinquent. 

My friends and I were walking home from a late dinner at around 10 p.m. when a cop car turns into the street we were walking down. Confused as to what to do we just kept walking right past the cop car. Had we been drinking that situation could have ended differently. 

If you decide to go to Senior Week to drink and party, be safe and smart. You don’t want you or your friends getting alcohol poisoning or getting a citation for underage drinking. 

It seems Senior Week is mainly meant for students to get away from their parents and party for seven days. While I certainly had a great time with my friends on the boardwalk, I feel this experience could have been more enjoyable without all the other seniors partying. 

HC DrugFree thanks the Ocean City Police and Beach Patrol for looking out for our youth during Senior Week and our families throughout the year.

Yippee!!! Senior Year

Senior year!!! What is supposed to be a breeze was so stressful. But don’t let the stress get to you and try not to procrastinate too much. As I get ready for college, I know I’m prepared. The Howard County Public School System has prepared me education wise, by allowing me to take all honors, GT and AP classes. But life wise I’m kinda nervous, but I think I’ll be fine. I’ve made friends at the college I’ll be attending, and I’m playing collegiate soccer so I know I will be extra focused. Good luck to the person who is reading this.

To Incoming Freshmen:

Do NOT feel pressured to experiment with drugs. Many around you will smoke or Juul and the long-term damage is not worth it. If your “best friend” pressures you into trying, reject it. A real friend wouldn’t.

Dear Maryland/Howard County Parents, Teachers, Adults:

We are now in an age where widespread drug and vape usage has increased; now it is not an uncommon sight for school bathrooms or classrooms to be shut down because of needed cleaning or prevention of rapid drug use. Soon where students leave high school environments or go to college there will be more influences like drugs or alcohol so the time to talk to your kids is now.

What I've Seen at HC DrugFree Teen Advisory Council (TAC) Meetings

I have been an HC DrugFee TAC member for the past half year. Attending meetings has helped me see the issues students of different grades, schools, and genders have experienced because they’re very different from mine. I’ve learned that an issue like drugs is not only about what my eyes see, but about the experiences all across the county. It’s also been nice to meet with a group of students who, even if I don’t know them as well, have the same goals for teen safety as me.

Locked School Bathrooms

In high school, the presence of drugs is definitely inevitable. There’s always going to be that “bathroom” in school that is infamously known as a place for drugs and exchanges. For students, it becomes a serious issue. People have to avoid these spots that are meant for a simple human necessity. It’s important that teachers and staff understand this because it’s growing problem. This should become a priority in the upcoming years.

Smoking Marijuana in School Bathrooms

I find it both frustrating and surprising that bathrooms are being locked in high schools because teens are smoking marijuana in them. The distinct smell fills the bathroom and makes it hard to stay in there for more than 15 seconds. I shouldn’t have to walk upstairs or across the building just to use the restroom because of careless teen behavior.