Phoenix man wages battle against drugs at schools

Jun 16, 2014, 7:49 AM | Updated: 7:49 am
LISTEN: Valley man fights to keep drugs off campuses

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.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(Facebook Photo/Taste of the NFL)...
Alex Weiner

Taste of the NFL comes to Phoenix as Super Bowl’s largest culinary, philanthropic event

Taste of the NFL is an event ahead of the Super Bowl that will bring gourmet food, 30 chefs and live entertainment to the Valley on Feb. 11.
9 hours ago
John Mayer performs onstage during HFC's 10th Birthday Extravaganza hosted by Seth Rogen and Lauren...
KTAR.com

John Mayer hits road on solo acoustic tour with spring stop in Phoenix

Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter John Mayer is tuning up for his first solo acoustic tour, which will make a stop in Phoenix in the spring.
9 hours ago
(File Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)...
Kevin Stone

Phoenix construction industry hungry for workers, experience not required

Direct experience isn't necessary to build a career in the local construction industry, which is dealing with a worker shortage.
9 hours ago
(Pixabay Photo)...
KTAR.com

Phoenix water conservation program needs volunteers to work with community

A conservation program overseen by the city of Phoenix is looking for volunteers to help spread the word about smart water usage.
1 day ago
Students and teachers from East High School in Salt Lake City walk out of school to protest the HB1...
Associated Press

Pandemic restrictions, curriculum battles emboldened ‘school choice’ policy push

The debates have inflamed teachers’ unions and resurfaced concerns about efforts to gradually privatize public education.
1 day ago
(Pexels Photo)...
KTAR.com

St. Mary’s Food Bank accepting citrus donations through April

It is citrus season for the St. Mary’s Food Bank, and donations are being accepted at both locations through April 30.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Company looking for oldest air conditioner and wants to reward homeowner with new one

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Prep the plumbing in your home just in time for the holidays

With the holidays approaching, it's important to know when your home is in need of heating and plumbing updates before more guests start to come around.
(Desert Institute for Spine Care photo)...
DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Why DISC is world renowned for back and neck pain treatments

Fifty percent of Americans and 90% of people at least 50 years old have some level of degenerative disc disease.
Phoenix man wages battle against drugs at schools