Addiction in Waukee

September 21, 2018

     A number of Waukee High School students abuse drugs during school hours. Whether they are in the bathrooms or the classrooms, some are addicted to the point where they cannot stay sober during the school day. From marijuana to Xanax to cocaine, the problem is growing– and it will continue to grow unless more resources become known and available to drug-addicted students. Students that were interviewed agreed that Waukee’s addiction crisis would stabilize with the implementation of education and support for students with addiction problems.

     A student who wished to remain anonymous confessed, “I was a big Adderall user. I’ve also dabbled in the weed paraphernalia, but that’s kinda just a given these days. I have had experiences with oxycontin, multiple experiences with oxycontin. Don’t get addicted to oxycontin.” They added, “If I weren’t a chainsmoker, I feel my lungs would be a lot better. I think [Waukee] could educate more students on the consequences of taking drugs and becoming addicted to drugs… [they need] a better program [than DARE or Code 411].”

     Emily Longfield, a Waukee junior, stated, “[Kids are using in school] all the time. Normally, what I have seen has been cocaine, marijuana, things like Xanax, Adderall, those are the main four.” Longfield described her experience with stumbling upon another student using cocaine in a school restroom. “I didn’t do anything about it. I didn’t really know what to do.” Longfield suggested some restrictive measures that had been enforced at her high school in Texas. “At my old school, just to get a parking pass you had to get drug tested monthly… because they knew that they were all doing drugs.”

     It could be argued that that particular solution may not be ideal for Waukee, as routine testing would be costly and the parking situation is seen as enough of a hassle as it is. Emily’s second suggestion seemed more fitting to crack down on what is arguably one of Waukee’s worst drug issues. “We had nicotine detectors in the school bathrooms, so if you were smoking or vaping in the bathroom, they would detect it and they would come find you.” Another student who wanted her identity kept anonymous opened up about her struggle with Xanax addiction. “A couple years ago, I was prescribed Xa- nax, and we kept all our prescriptions– I don’t know why, that was kinda dumb.” 

     “One night I took one, and I felt better, so I kept taking them, and eventually it got to the point where I’d take a bunch to school with me, and if I got anxious at school, which is, like, all the time because it’s school, I would take one.” Luckily, Waukee administration offers services for students in crisis. “I took [Xanax] pretty often, and I told, like, one or two of the counsellors about it, and they were pretty helpful.” After speaking with the counsellors, she was able to seek help from a local rehab center and she has been clean for several months. The student has since beaten her Xanax withdrawals and is on the road to recovery from drug abuse.

     Waukee High School has help in place for those dealing with addiction such as general counselling, but there are other places to seek advice and services outside of the school system. Students that are battling drug addiction can anonymously call 1-800-662-HELP (4357) for education and support, or visit for more resources on rehabilitation.


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