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Synthetic drug causes problems for high schools

A new synthetic drug, vaping, has taken an unwelcome hold in schools across the nation

Colby

Colby

Colby Perron, Staff Writer

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Throughout history, the human race has been surrounded by automation. From books, to self-driving cars, the world is just becoming easier due to technology. However, one thing almost nobody expected to become automated were drugs.

Since the 1960s, the electronic cigarette has been present. However, it wasn’t until the mid-2010s that the craze really began to catch on. With the premiere of the ‘vape,’ the world was soon exposed to a new form of drug: synthetic drugs. A student at Biddeford High School, who chose to remain anonymous, explained the very basics of what vaping is.

“[Vaping] is essentially just inhaling water vapor and exhaling the smoke that comes from it,” said source one. “You use a little tool [the vape] which is customizable [to the person using it].”

Source one had recently taken up vaping as a pastime, explaining that he didn’t want to jump on a craze, but instead, hoped to participate because he wanted to.

“I think that [vaping] is at the tail end of a trend,” said source one. “At this point, I think, the people that still vape are the people that enjoy vaping and want to keep vaping, not the people that do it just because the cool kids are doing it.”

However, unlike harmless crazes such as ‘Pokemon: Go’ and fidget spinners, vaping is not a craze that should be taken lightly. School resource officer Paul Rondeau explained the rules that the school has in place to combat the use of the synthetic drug.

“Vaping, in the eyes of the Biddeford School Board, is considered the same thing as tobacco use,” said Rondeau. “It is prohibited on school property to possess any liquid to vape with, a machine to vape with, or anything else attributed to vaping. Furthermore, Nobody under eighteen can possess vaping machines, juices, smokeless tobacco, or any other synthetic drugs.”

Because vaping is considered the same as tobacco use, those who contemplate vaping should consider the punishments brought upon them before committing.

“The punishment [for using or possessing a vape on school grounds] is the same as tobacco use,” said Rondeau. “I don’t deal with a lot of the school part of the activity, I deal with the law part of it, and as far as the law goes, it is the same as unlawful possession or use of tobacco products on school property.”

For those unfamiliar with the punishment for tobacco use, it includes an in school suspension, parental contact, and confiscation of the drug. For any infraction after the first, the perpetrator receives a four day out-of-school suspension as well as parental contact and confiscation. Luckily, there is a bright side to the school’s rules against vaping, and it is that it works. According to Rondeau, very few students have been caught vaping.

“There have been a few violations on school property this year, but overall, not a major problem yet,” said Rondeau. “That could change, but for now, I don’t see it changing too much.”

However, not only is the punishment for vaping a major reason not to participate, but the ridicule from peers should also be taken into account. According to junior Jon Roberge, vaping is not looked at as a ‘cool’ thing to do, but instead as something idiotic.

“Vaping is really a pointless activity,” said Roberge. “If you aren’t using it as a tool to end your addiction to actual smoking, then really it’s just pointless and gross.”

According to Roberge, there is a stigma surrounding vaping that compares similarly to the use of tobacco and other related products.

“I was peer pressured by a friend into trying it,” said Roberge. “I don’t really think that the peer pressure is as bad with vaping as it is with tobacco or marijuana used to be. There is a real negative image connected to vaping that a lot of people don’t want to be connected to. People seem to recognize that it’s not a good thing to do and try to stay away from the people that do it.”

A second anonymous source also admitted to another reason that vaping is bad. While claiming to still purchase the vape juice, she admits to it being far too expensive.

“I spend around twenty to thirty dollars on vape juice every month or so,” said source two. “It is a lot, but at least it’s not every week like with cigarettes.”

Source two also compared vaping to well known drugs such as tobacco and marijuana. According to her, vaping is not as unhealthy. However, while few tests have been conducted on the health effects of vaping, research has shown a possibility that vaping causes holes in the lungs of users. However, one negative repercussion of vaping does not need science to prove it.

“Just like tobacco, a lot of vape juice contains nicotine,” said Rondeau. “Kids can get addicted and then that causes a problem. The school has rules in place to prevent smoking and vaping in order to protect our students.”

Because vaping is both illegal under the age of eighteen as well as the danger of addiction and the unknown side effects of vaping, many places put a negative look on vaping. Whether or not vaping is a completely harmless as some make it out to be, many seem to agree that it is better off just to not try it.

“If you’re going to vape, nobody can really stop you,” said Roberge. “But I can promise you, you’re going to lose a lot of respect.”

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The student news site of Biddeford High School in Biddeford, Maine
Synthetic drug causes problems for high schools