"High" School: What kids want parents to know - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

"High" School: What kids want parents to know

Dubuque (KWWL) -- Schools are supposed to be drug-free zones, but kids are bringing them to school. Teens we talked to say it's in the halls and parking lots that kids talk about where to get drugs, and when the next party is.

Nearly one in four Iowa teens say they've used marijuana. More than one in ten Iowa teens say they've been offered, sold or given illegal drugs on school property in the past year. That's according to surveys filled out by students for the Centers for Disease Control.

KWWL put together two groups of teenagers from two different high schools, freshman to seniors, and the law enforcement that works in their schools to find out what's really going on with drugs in our community.

"It's common. You hear about it, but you don't so much see it," student Scott Zepeski said.

"They talk about it. It's all about the green. Money and weed," student Marlynn Livai said.

"They like to make the money off of selling them. I hear a lot of people talking about how much they can get for drugs," Kaley Rigdon said.

"I would probably say it's in every school in Iowa," School Resource Officer Jeremy Slight said.

We followed along with officers during a drug dog search of a middle school. The dog hit on two lockers. After searching the lockers, the principal didn't find any drugs inside, but what could be signs of students exposed to drugs.

"Their noses are so strong that even if there is not narcotics inside the locker, but somebody has been around narcotics, either touched it, or been around somebody that's smoked it, their noses are so strong they can smell that residual odor," Canine Handler Brian Wullweber said.

Those types of deterrents, drug dogs, officers in school, and education, might be working. According to the Centers for Disease Control, overall drug usage is down across the board among Iowa youth.

"I can tell, some of my friends, they definitely have quit smoking weed," Jordan Lattner said.

"They're seeming more dangerous. The benefits aren't as much as the costs," Louis Sievers said.

"It's not, like, the cool thing anymore as much, like people look down upon it more so then they used to it seems like," Stephanie Coffin said.

But students add, there's an alarming change.

"It's more like, the young kids, they seem to be doing what we used to do, and they think it's really cool, and it's really not," Livai said.

"Unfortunately, I've seen it as young as 6th grade," Officer Slight said.

Officers say keeping kids aware of consequences is key.

"Parents also need to remember they're in charge. The child's not in charge. Go through your son or daughter's room. Go through their car when they come home on Saturday night. See what's going on, and make sure they're aware of it, and you're talking to them about it," Slight said.

The students we talked to say they're all ears.

"I think it's a big deal when people, like adults talk to you about it. A lot of people you respect are older more so, and if they tell you something's bad, you're not going to want to do it because you don't want to let them down," Coffin said.

"More so, keep encouraging them that they're doing well. Just be proud of your kids, just about little things," Zepeski said.

"I think a lot of it has to do with friends, and afraid to get in trouble with the law and your parents," Lattner said.

For every teen we talked to the consequences of drug usage are just too great.

"I don't want to look back and say, 'what could I have been if I didn't do drugs or alcohol?'" Rigdon said.

Another big deterrent kids mentioned over and over: being involved in extracurriculars. Whether that's sports, music, or clubs, teens say staying busy keeps kids from drugs.

Online Reporter:  Jamie Grey

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