Staying Above the Influence

Connor Ji, Staff Writer

Some narcotics permanently damage vital organs such as the brain, the heart, and lungs, and in many cases, lead to death. Despite this danger, it is still relatively easy to obtain these substances. Prescription drugs can be obtained from local pharmacies with fake prescriptions.

Crystal methamphetamine, which is known as the most addictive drug in America, can be made in the backyard. These drugs have been identified by gang organizations as profitable money sources, and are being actively sold on the streets of America.

According to Dr. Mary-Jane Borden of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, about 119 million Americans have used illicit drugs at least once, and 22 million use such drugs at least once a month. These statistics can only convey so much detail about this serious problem in America. According to Child Protective Services in California, more than 250,000 homes were listed as harmful environments for children because of the parents’ use of illegal drugs, including prescription drugs like Vicodin, Xanax, and Benadryl.

There are many causes of drug abuse. The economic hardships and the overwhelming stress have led Americans to be involved in the drug business, whether as customers or dealers. Crystal methamphetamine, also known as meth, was depicted in AMC’s TV show, Breaking Bad. The show portrays Walter White, an overqualified high school teacher who was forced to earn money by “cooking” and transporting meth. Breaking Bad gave insight into the world of drugs, where deaths and threats persist from the day one “enters the business, and dies.” According to an interview from, the show’s executive producer, Vince Gilligan, admitted, “Sometimes even I wish I were in [meth business],” Like Gilligan, many Americans have succumbed to temptation and immersed themselves in this corrupt lifestyle. Rahul Chandrupatla (11) commented, “I was surprised to [find out] how rich you could be by selling meth.”

This startling reality is also common in our education system. Democratic representative Sanford Bishop from Georgia estimated that one out of five students in K-12 schools smoked tobacco at least once in their school career. Two students stepped forward to address this growing problem. Eddie Lee (10) was offered cigarettes by his friends and explains, “They asked me to do it, but I refused because I know it wouldn’t do any good,” stated Lee. Another student in the similar situation, Saarthak Ahlawat (11), simply refused to communicate with his friends after the incident. He notes, “I just didn’t like staying with them after [they asked me] I guess.”

While students at West High may not be able to eradicate drug abuse in America, we can all “just say no” when we encounter drugs.