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Local schools implement multi-layered drug policies

By Rachel Calvert, Heritage Hall School Published: May 11, 2009
Bullet the drug dog roams through the high school parking lot, sniffing around students’ vehicles. Trained to bark at the scent of contraband like alcohol, tobacco and drugs, Bullet has been paying surprise visits to Heritage Hall High School for only a few years. He is free to roam the parking lot, lockers and even classrooms, and students caught with contraband are subject to counseling, suspension or dismissal.

Bullet's spontaneous visits are a bane to some students who wish to escape detection, but dean of students Brian Lester said he appreciates that Bullet cautions students “to leave their illegal substances at home.” He said that the threat of detection by Bullet creates a safer campus environment at Heritage Hall, one of two Oklahoma City-area private schools that modified their drug and alcohol policies in recent years.

Aside from a Bullet alert, any Heritage Hall student “manifesting evidence” of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol is subject to disciplinary action. While such an occasion has not arisen under Lester, the school reserves the right to search students’ property, including cars, backpacks and lockers, for contraband.

Lester said that the Heritage Hall policy is not designed to catch people, or “get anyone in trouble,” but rather to prevent abuse in the first place by encouraging students to “just say no.” Acknowledging that students often face tough decisions, Lester said he thinks the school’s policy gives students an excuse to ward off peer pressure.

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Reported drug and alcohol use by high school seniors, 2007

Within 12 months (including last month)
Alcohol: 66.4 precent
Marijuana: 31.7 percent
Other opiates: 9.2 percent
Stimulants: 7.5 percent
Sedatives: 6.2 percent
Tranquilizers: 6.2 percent
Hallucinogens: 5.4 percent
Cocaine: 5.2 percent
Inhalants: 3.7 percent
Steroids: 1.4 percent
Heroin: 0.9 percent

Within 30 days
Alcohol: 44.4 percent
Marijuana: 18.8 percent
Other opiates: 3.8 percent
Stimulants: 3.7 percent
Sedatives: 2.7 percent
Tranquilizers: 2.6 percent
Cocaine: 2 percent
Hallucinogens: 1.7 percent
Inhalants: 1.2 percent
Steroids: 1.0 percent
Heroin: 0.4 percent


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