by Vivian Wong and Kim Ta
In order to spread information about the rise in the use of Xanax as well as other drugs among teenagers, a town hall meeting was held on April 28 at Alhambra High School to discuss this growing epidemic.
Xanax (Alprazolam) is a drug that treats anxiety and panic disorders. There is a nationwide epidemic of Xanax. Excessive abuse of Xanax can cause serious complications like paranoid or suicidal thoughts and impair memory, judgment, and coordination. If combined with other substances, it can slow breathing and possibly lead to death.
“Xanax is a very addictive drug and it’s closely monitored when prescribed,” school nurse Karen Carrillo said. “The reason it needs to be monitored… is that it causes people to be awake and alert, but partially unconscious.”
Carrillo said that being informed can potentially save lives.
“Every student should learn about this because if you have a friend, an acquaintance, or a classmate who is having these kind of symptoms, you need to report it right away and you might be saving a life,” Carrillo said. “In actual fact, you can save someone’s life by understanding and knowing about Xanax, so it makes sense for everyone to know about it. Being aware makes you hear things that you would never have heard.”
Around 70 parents and faculty attended the meeting. Videos and images were projected to inform parents and school faculty about Xanax’s effects and its symptoms. Some symptoms include drowsiness, dizziness, blurred vision and more. Assistant Principal of Student Welfare Jocelyn Castro was present at the meeting and said that she wished more parents came.
According to Carrillo, the use of Xanax began around the beginning of March, and there have been around 13-18 known cases on campus. The numbers are continuing to rise.
“I know of the drug because of how many students have been brought to the nurse’s offices, but also from my peers talking about it,” senior Luis Nunez said. “It’s really a crazy drug, I mean the kids [who] are brought in hardly remember what they did or how they even got there in the first place. It’s sad to see all these kids drugged up.”
The school nurse explained her views on the students who are taking the drug.
“It’s very alarming as a nurse to see kids using such potent and risky things to feel better. They’re so many better ways to learn how to feel better without using things that can harm your health,” Carrillo said. Nunez stated that there is light at the end of this dark tunnel, and drugs or alcohol is not the answer to any situation.
“Whether it’s broken families, bullying, break ups, etc, there’s a way out of it, and I just hope that some kids could realize what they’re doing like I did, because everyone’s here for a reason. Just gotta set your mind on something and don’t stop until you get it,” Nunez said.
More information about Xanax can be found on the following sites, which were provided by the Alhambra Police Department in the town hall meeting: <drugs, com>, <webmd.com>, and <urbandictionary.com>.