PHOENIX — Drug deals being made at high school campuses throughout Arizona are on the rise.
The Center for Disease Control recently released its Youth Risk Behavior survey. The study found that 31.3 percent of high school students in Arizona have been offered, given, or sold illegal drugs at school.
Arizona has the second-highest percentage of drug deals on high school campuses in the nation. New Mexico has the highest percent at 32.8 percent; Nevada is No. 3 with 31.2 percent.
The Arizona Department of Education said it was aware of the Center for Disease Control’s findings but did not comment further on the issue.
But one Phoenix man has devoted his life to ending teen drug abuse after nearly losing own life to drugs.
“I would have saved myself decades of heartache due to substance abuse,” Shane Watson said.
Watson began using drugs in high school at 16. He said he gave in to peer pressure to use drugs because he wanted to mask the pain of life.
It was a long, hard road to recovery and sobriety for Watson. After using drugs for 20 years, he got clean and devoted his life to keeping students from making the same mistakes he made.
Now, Watson works as a substance abuse peer educator with Not My Kid, a not-for-profit organization in Phoenix aimed at educating people about trends, warning signs, and the long-term impact of destructive behaviors in children.
Watson said he spends his days sharing his life story with students and working with students who face drug problems.
“I’ve had children as young as sixth grade come up to me after my presentation and let me know, not only have they been offered drugs on campus, some of them have been using on campus,” Watson said.
Watson said many school staff members are unaware of Arizona’s growing drug problem on high school campuses.
“We still meet educators who are convinced this is something that happens in a dark alley, in a bad neighborhood and nothing could be further from the truth,” he said.
Watson said people need to know the reality of the problem.
“Part of what I do is trying to educate educators on how prominent this is. We have to realize this is happening at our schools, our neighborhoods, and sometimes our homes.”
Preventing drug use is the only way to fix the problem, in Watson’s opinion.
“Like the proverb says, ‘An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,’ ” he said.
- The best places to celebrate Fall in Phoenix
- Infamous athletes who did the most time for their crimes
- 2016 baseball highlights, bloopers and blunders
- See how CFOs really feel about business in the Valley
- The best television shows on the internet
- A preseason guide to avoid holiday weight gain
- The 5 worst things you could do for your roof
- 6 coolest things brewing in Arizona
- The virus that keeps head and neck cancers on the rise
- State Fair ‘Kid Reporter’ has all the angles covered
- 4 important things to know about timeshare maintenance fees
- Signs of delayed car crash injuries
- The truth about sports concussions
- The Alzheimer's epidemic: Facts you need to know
- The season is here, keep your Fantasy Football team strong all season
- 8 TV shows you can't miss this fall
- Football is here: 6 tips to make this your best season ever
- Gameday recipes and beers to match
- 6 reasons the Cardinals are driven to win the Super Bowl
- The Pac-12 football season nears kickoff
- Tips to get ready for a pain-free golf season
- Protect your family with these 7 home security features
- How to train like an Olympic swimmer
- 2016 Olympics: A guide to must-see TV events
- The bride's guide to feeling your best on your wedding day
- Deciding when you need knee surgery
- Celebrating Fourth of July is much cooler in these AZ towns
- Top ten road trip bathrooms in America
- Six things causing a pain in your neck
- 5 things to make your summer move easier