The Patriot Voice

Impending Substance Abuse Epidemic in RHS

Jonathan Ramos, Staff Writer

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You walk into class and you sit down. You turn around and you see a student pull out a USB, or at least something that looks like one. They bring it to their mouth and inhale, and let out a puff of smoke. It’s a Juul.

A Juul is a type of E-cigarette that resembles a USB. It’s a vaping device that a lot of teenagers have been using. Originally intended to help smokers quit, it has found another purpose, and not a better one. Legally, it is only available to adults 18 or older, but that wouldn’t stop anyone.

We interviewed many different people ranging from health teachers, to administrators, and anonymous students. A majority opinion that we received was that there’s nothing we can do about juuling. It can’t be controlled or restricted. At the very most, all that can be done is to prohibit it and punish the ones caught. Which is not an easy task, seeing as the vapor that is produced dissipates almost instantly. It also looks similar to a USB and is easy to hide, making it difficult for teachers to catch. Students are even going as far as juuling in class, bathrooms, anywhere really. This apparent carelessness is clearly not without reason.

Every student we interviewed knew what it was, some thought it was stupid, yet had tried it regardless. An anonymous student stated “I think its gross”, yet when we questioned whether she would try it or if she has tried it, she answered yes to both. We had also asked her if she tried it more than once, which she stated yes. So clearly it’s not a lack of knowledge that is causing people to try it, it’s peer pressure. We interviewed two students and asked if they would try it if at a party, and both responded yes.

Even though everybody criticized it, mostly every student interviewed had tried it, which is the problem. We all have a desire to fit in, and we’re teenagers in high school. So obviously, if there’s a chance to fit in and go with the common crowd, people are most likely to do so. Maybe juuling can’t be controlled or restricted, but it doesn’t have to happen in school.

On the other hand, another student we interviewed hadn’t tried it and admitted that if she was at a party where a lot of people were doing it, stated “I would leave”, so not everybody caves into peer pressure. However, it’s not just peer pressure, it’s also attributed to popular celebrities that also do it “hyping it up” as another student stated. Overall, it’s a lack of knowledge of how bad for you it can be, peer pressure from friends can be, and wanting to fit in and relate to what famous people are doing, that are all contributing to this epidemic.

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