Drugs: Licit and Illicit - Fighting Back Against Drugs in Our Schools

Drugs: Licit and Illicit - Fighting Back Against Drugs in Our Schools

Every Monday through Friday, parents around the nation send their children off to school to get an education. Increasingly, those school children are learning about, and get exposed to, the world of licit and illicit drugs. The Center on Addiction notes that almost half of all students attending public schools report knowing a fellow student selling drugs at their school. Studies also show that many students are getting high on school grounds, meaning they could be attending classes while under the influence of unknown substances.

This epidemic has crept from high schools into middle schools, exposing younger and younger students to the risks of substance abuse. From cannabis to Adderall, and dangerous prescription opioids like Oxycodone, Valium, and Percocet, all manner of drugs are finding their ways into our students’ lives, endangering them and those around them. Some drugs may have been initially procured legally by an adult for treatment of a medical issue but later stolen for use or sale by their child. Other drugs entered distribution through illegal means from the beginning, winding up in the hands of children and putting them in potential danger from gang interactions. Yet another category of drugs that are misused by school kids is over-the-counter (OTC) products such as cough syrup, often abused in life-threatening ways in an attempt to get high.

Teachers find themselves on the frontlines of a battle against “America's #1 Public Health Problem.” It is a battle many didn’t sign up for, and it is no wonder, so many educators struggle to find the right tools and knowledge to make a positive difference. That is where the course Drugs: Licit and Illicit, offered by Professional Development Courses at the University of La Verne, comes in to help!

Why Drug Awareness Is Vital for Today’s Educators

Substance abuse presents a clear and present danger to our youth and can be a matter of life and death. In best-case scenarios, students who use illicit drugs or misuse legal ones put themselves at grave risk of addiction and severe health issues. They also jeopardize their academics and personal lives since drug use can alter behavior and lead to a range of societal problems. All non-prescription drug use is naturally illegal for minors; therefore, users inherently create extra problems for themselves by engaging in activities that will ultimately result in run-ins with police and the juvenile court system. There is also the distinct possibility of litigation against involved individuals and, in some cases, even against schools and school districts.

With so much at stake, it has never been more important for teachers to have an awareness of the drugs plaguing schools around the country. Drugs: Licit and Illicit, offered by Professional Development Courses at the University of La Verne, is a timely course that provides teachers with up-to-date information about common legal and illegal drugs.

The course offers a succinct overview of drugs to explain their origins and uses, from medical purposes to intentional alteration of consciousness. The curriculum lists all major drugs by class, along with common “street” terminology and visual references. Each reference also includes a history of the drug, standard medical uses (if any), and its effects on adolescent anatomy to include brain activity. Lastly, each reference breaks down facts about tolerance, withdrawal symptoms, and potentially dangerous impairment of motor performance.

No matter which grade you teach, odds are you have students exposed to some level of social programming related to substance abuse. From movies and television shows, music, video games, YouTube videos, and real-world situations such as conversations or even usage by family and friends, children are bombarded each day with references to drug use. Often, these messages are not given or received the way they should be, impacting the impressions that youth take away.

As individuals on the front lines, teachers can help counteract this stream of negative influences and serve up positive alternatives. To do that, teachers must have a broad understanding of what they are up against, what challenges their students are facing, and what consequences those students will undoubtedly encounter if we do not take action now.

Objectives for Drugs: Licit and Illicit

Drugs: Licit and Illicit, offered through Professional Development Courses at the University of La Verne, features a curriculum suited for teachers of all grades and comes in a format made with their busy schedules in mind. All content can be accessed online 24/7, or via PDF format delivered directly to your email inbox. Our self-paced course utilizes user-friendly content and earns graduate, non-degree semester credit.

Whether you are new to the field or are a seasoned veteran, you’ll benefit from our insightful, straightforward curriculum. More importantly, your own students will benefit from the vital knowledge you will possess upon completion. Goals of the course include:

  • Learning the most common legal and illegal drugs used by today’s adolescents
  • Understanding the physiological and psychological effects of various drug usage
  • How to recognize the signs of drug use
  • Techniques for conducting more in-depth research, when necessary

Topics include:

  • An in-depth look at America’s most used and abused drugs, such as:
    • Alcohol
    • Caffeine
    • Entactogens
    • Hallucinogens
    • Herbal drugs
    • Inhalants
    • Cannabis
    • Opiates
    • Sedatives
    • Steroids
    • Stimulants
  • Chemically-altered/synthetic drugs
  • Drug Addiction
  • How drugs alter consciousness
  • How drugs interact with the human brain
  • Shamans, ancient drugs, and drugs in their natural state

Successful completion of Drugs: Licit and Illicit can empower you with the knowledge and skills to understand the challenges many students face. Meanwhile, the credits received may boost your professional career, qualifying you for potential promotions, pay increases, or license renewal/recertification.

Note, the University of La Verne is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and the Council on Accreditation of Educator Preparation. Since requirements may vary, students should check with their school district or state department of education if a course or certificate is needed to satisfy specific criteria.

This three-credit course also counts towards the following University of La Verne 15-credit certificates:

Students may be interested in the following related courses:

How to Register

Drugs: Licit and Illicit is offered online or via an emailed PDF format. Like all of the courses offered by Professional Development Courses at the University of La Verne, it is open for anyone to register at any time during a semester. After completion, students earn graduate, non-degree semester credit from an accredited university, as reflected on their official transcript.

Registration is fast and simple and can be done online or over the phone. Courses are offered on a rolling basis during three standard semesters, and you can begin whenever you are ready! The registration dates are:

  • Fall: September 1 - January 31
  • Spring: February 1 - May 31
  • Summer: June 1 - August 31

With adolescent drug use soaring, it is time for educators to learn how to fight back! Why not register and get started today? 




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