1. How do I keep my child from using illegal substances?
- Research shows that students who are highly involved with the family, community, and/or school activities are less likely to use illegal substances.
- It is important for parents to know their student’s friends and the parents of those friends. Communication with the friends and families is very important.
- Know the location of your child.
2. What are the most commonly abused substances among teens?
- Alcohol: Most students get alcohol from the home. Alcoholic beverages should be kept in a safe place where your child and/or their friends do not have easy access.
- Prescription Medications: Most teens get prescription medications from home as well. Medications, both over the counter and prescription, should be kept in a safe place where your child and/or their friends do not have easy access.
- Marijuana: The best advice we have in this area is, again, know and communicate with their friends and the parents of their friends.
3. What are possible signs and symptoms of alcohol and/or drug use? (These signs may be indicative of other illnesses/concerns.)
- Strong or unusual odor
- Strong scent attempting to cover an odor
- Red or watery eyes
- Staggering, clumsiness
- Falling asleep in class
- Lack of affect (appears spaced out or zoned out)
- Chronic or hacking cough
- Slurred speech
- Change in appearance (i.e. significant weight gain or loss)
- Forgetful, slowed reaction time, loses train of thought
- Unexplained lethargy and/or hyperactivity and agitation
- Changes in attendance/increased tardies/absences
- Drop in grades
- Drop in performance
- Resentment of authority, hostility towards staff members
- Changes in personality (mood and attitude)
- Legal problems (MIP, theft, vandalism)
- Known drug problems in friends
- Rage or aggression
- Reduced motivation and interest in activities
- Any references to drugs/alcohol in assignments or projects
4. What should I do if I suspect that my child is using illegal substances?
Talk with your child. Let them know how much you love and care for them, but let them know you’re concerned about their health and safety. Tell them you suspect drug or alcohol use and ask them what they are using. If you feel that your child is in denial, follow your ‘gut’ feeling. You may choose to do a drug test. Most local pharmacies carry drug test kits. Contact your substance abuse prevention specialist at your child’s campus for available resources. Please keep in mind that this information will remain confidential.
5. How do I get help?
Contact your substance abuse prevention specialist or school counselor. You may also choose to consult a health care professional.
6. What if my child has to take prescription medication at school?
All medications MUST be provided to the school nurse with appropriate medical information forms completed by the parent in order for the nurse to dispense the medication to the student. Please refer to the following information from School Health Services.
For exceptions that may entitle the student to carry and self-administer medications please refer to the following information.
7. What should I do with prescription medications that are outdated or I do not need to use anymore?
- Collin County participates in the National Take - Back Program on October 26th, 2013, which allows the public to bring unused prescription medications to a central location for proper disposal.
- You may also contact your local pharmacist for details on proper disposal of prescription medications.
Regarding drugs and/or alcohol at school:
1. If my child is under the influence or in possession of drugs or alcohol at their campus, what will happen?
A campus meeting will be held with student, parent/s and school personnel to discuss the violation and possible consequences. The consequences may include In School Suspension (ISS), Out of School Suspension (OSS), placement at Guinn or Bird Special Programs Center, a drug/alcohol assessment by an outside trained professional and/or placement at the Juvenile Justice Alternative Education Program (JJAEP). Many times there are also legal consequences for students in this situation. All school campuses and school property are considered drug-free zones. Consequently, legal penalties for drug or alcohol violations may be increased.
2. What will happen if my child is under the influence or in possession of drugs or alcohol at a school event away from their home campus?
The answer from question #1 applies here as well. Students at school sponsored events or on any school properties adhere to the same Student Code of Conduct as on their school campus. (http://www.pisd.edu/codeofconductENGLISH.pdf)
3. What if my child is caught without a prescription with a prescribed medication that is considered to be a controlled substance? (Examples – including, but not limited to: Adderall, Vyvanse, Ritalin, Focalin, Xanax, Hydrocodone, Oxycontin)
Possession of certain prescription medications may be considered a felony charge and possible consequences may be expulsion from PISD as stated in the Student Code of Conduct, and possible placement at JJAEP. Questions regarding what is/is not a controlled substance would be best answered by the prescribing doctor and/or pharmacist.
4. What is an MIP? – Minor In Possession of alcohol
What is an MIC? – Minor In Consumption of alcohol
According to the Texas Alcohol Beverage Commission (TABC), (<www.tabc.state.tx.us/>) minors who purchase, attempt to purchase, possess or consume alcoholic beverages, as well as minors who are intoxicated in public or misrepresent their age to obtain alcoholic beverages, can face the following consequences:
- Class C misdemeanor; punishable by a fine up to $500
- Attend alcohol awareness class
- 8 - 40 hours community service
- 30 – 180 days loss or denial of driver’s license
There are stiff penalties for adults who provide alcohol to a minor (person under the age of 21). Punishment for this includes:
- Class A misdemeanor; punishable by a fine up to $4,000
- Confinement in jail for up to a year, or both
- If convicted, the violator may have his/her driver’s license suspended for 180 days