The number of people that are under drug and substance abuse is overwhelmingly increasing in the world today. In the United States, the number affected currently is estimated to be 23.5 million people. The potential policy targets are prisoners and students in high schools and colleges. I want to focus on drug addiction among students in high schools and colleges.
The students that are under drugs and substance abuse behave in certain ways:
- They develop a profound desire for the drug and would do anything possible to get it, i.e. stealing money from parents.
- Some get withdrawn from society. These individuals spend most of their time alone.
- Some students frequently get involved in risky behaviors when they are under the influence of drugs, i.e. premarital sex, crime, illegal businesses like selling illegal goods.
- Some of them are entirely out of control and in many cases, they skip school.
- Some in most cases break the law either in school or even at home.
- Some of them are very secretive and would not share their thoughts with people including their peers.
I want the students that are under the influence of drugs to start sharing their problems with people, their parents, teachers or guidance and counseling officers. Again they need to stop engaging in risky behaviors like crime and follow the rules. They need to recognize the detrimental effects of drugs and substance abuse to them and make an effort to stop.
Policy Options to Stop This
These students can be forced to stop this addiction after putting on them heavy penalties. The penalties like discontinuing them from studies and taking them to prisons or halfway houses when one is caught using the drugs.
There is pressure for public officials to provide policies that are beneficial to the public. The legislators can be used to pass laws that ensure the students found under the influence of drugs get sent to prison. Such a practice can be beneficial to society.
Identifying the students that are already involved in drugs and substance abuse. Set targets for them that if they are able to stop the addiction entirely. The ten would receive a token.
Incentives in their nature increase competition. Thaler (2008) says that competition makes students and schools work hard and hence quality education. Borrowing this, the competition created by incentives can make one or two students compete and finally stop drug abuse.
Learning and Education
Teaching the students about the detrimental effects of drug and substance abuse, how to avoid abuse of drugs and the benefits of life without drugs? Leonard (2008) says that one's choice of something can significantly influence the minds of others. Therefore learning and education can borrow from Thaler and Sunstein that once one or two students using drugs change as a result of learning, this can influence others positively and ultimately change.
Policy Option Preferred Is Learning
Many students that are in drug abuse are doing innocently (peer pressure) without even knowing the adverse effects of the same to health, socially, economically and also the image that they portray to the society. When they are taken through a learning process, they are most likely to see sense why it is essential to stop and concentrate on school work and things that are important to them.
Leonard, T. C. (2008). Richard H. Thaler, Cass R. Sunstein, Nudge: Improving decisions about health, wealth, and happiness.
Thaler, R. H. (2008). Nudge: Improving decisions about health, wealth, and happiness.
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