Prescription drug abuse cited as a growing school problem

An education department survey has found that almost 10 per cent of students in high school in Newfoundland and Labrador have abused prescription drugs.

Federation of School Councils says drug abuse is growing problem

An education department survey has found that almost 10 per cent of students in high school in Newfoundland and Labrador have abused prescription drugs.


The statistics come from the School Climate Survey, which asked students about their schools and what they do while in school.

The survey, which was released last June, encompassed the 2012-2013 school year.

Students in Grades 2, 5, junior high and high school levels took part.

They were asked questions categorized by school safety, expectations, bullying, drug and alcohol use as well as student satisfaction.

Although the department never issued a formal news release when the survey was released, it was posted on their website. Department officials have said they also provided the information to school boards.

Federation of School Councils concerned

Nathan Whalen, president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of School Councils, worries that drug abuse in schools is a growing problem. 

"Well, I'm definitely deeply concerned that students are trying more hardcore drugs like cocaine and ecstasy and they are trying them at younger ages — and this survey is showing that," Whalen said.

Nathan Whalen says he sees results of a survey on student drug use as a cry for help. (CBC)
​Whalen said the research found students do not believe the educators are taking the problem seriously enough.

"By and large, students are not really satisfied with the amount or the quantity of anti-drug or anti-alcohol programs that are available in schools," he said.

Whalen said the report is a cry for help and he's calling on the education system to do more to address the problems it identifies.

The report highlights that in all grade levels, one in 10 students feels unsafe at school.