Sexuality in Adolescents

Payton: When it comes to adolescents and sexuality i believe they are growing up way too fast. I think the media has a huge influence on this. In an article about girls growing up too fast, Deborah Swaney talks about how shows that are aimed toward her daughter feature kids that are twice her age and going on dates. TV shows for kids are pushing them to identify with more mature and older girls. Since young girls look up to these TV stars they are exposed to behaviors that otherwise they would not know about.

Billy:​ I agree that part of the problem is that most “children” shows showcase role models who are not age appropriate. It isn’t so much a matter of content as much as it is that kids are expected to identify with a character that is significantly different from them. Not only would a 16 year old have varying interests from a 10 year old, but the age difference also sets an unrealistic body standard. I feel that the problem is twofold. Partially the media is sending the wrong message, but I also believe that the education system shares some of the blame. We are reliant primarily on abstinence-only sex education, which can tend to preach ignorance about the topic of sexuality. Sexuality is a part of growing up, and when students are not properly taught facts they will seek them out elsewhere, leaving the media as their sole source of information. I believe it is not media we need to reform, but our abstinence only sex education program.

Payton: I think they are both equally to blame. I believe another problem is parenting styles. In an article titled Teaching Children Healthy Sexuality, Rob Jackson said “family is where young males can be mentored into responsible men who know how to safeguard sexuality and young females can be fashioned to cherish fidelity.” Since the media seems to have a stronger influence on children then parents do, this is not as simple anymore. Another thing that affects children’s sexuality is divorce and growing up seeing their parents dating different people. This can be confusing to children. The way their parents dress also influences children greatly.

Billy: The divorce rate is an interesting point and I’m glad you brought that up. I would stipulate that divorce rate is not what contributes to the sexualization of our culture, but rather that the stigma surrounding divorce has eroded in recent years. Whereas once divorce was considered an altogether ugly process that was taboo, it has become more socially acceptable. As a result, children do not view monogamy as a strict principle to adhere to anymore. The idea of “waiting until marriage” seems rather arbitrary when some people are getting married 3 or 4 times. Once again I believe we must turn our attention to the media. Some celebrity marriages are incredibly short lived, almost to an embarrassing degree. I will not preach about the “sanctity of marriage” but obviously it is not the symbol of monogamy it once was. This leads to problems in Abstinence-Only Sex Ed, as Marriage is the proverbial cutoff point for sex in that curriculum. Obviously we cannot teach perpetual abstinence, as that would lead to extinction, but marriage is no longer a guarantee of monogamy. The inherent issue here is that we are encouraging children to wait for what is becoming an increasingly arbitrary benchmark, leaving the actual education about venereal diseases and pregnancy in the dark. This leads to a twofold problem: married people who are sexually ignorant as well as unmarried couples who decide that waiting for marriage is unrealistic, but have no information with which to keep themselves safe.

Payton: I think it is very true that waiting until marriage is becoming extinct especially it is more common than not be married multiple times. Ultimately, I believe safe sex needs to be taught instead of no sex. It is a great moral to have to wait for “the one” but it is very rapidly becoming unrealistic in our culture. Since our culture is more focused on body image and sexuality there are not that many people who wait until marriage to have sex. When people, like Miley Cyrus, who used to be teen role models are turning into sex symbols it is confusing for adolescents to decipher what is socially acceptable and what isn’t in the real world as opposed to the celebrity world. I think it is more important to teach children how to be safe if they do decide to be sexually active and how to prevent things like pregnancy and diseases.

Billy: Very good point! Though we have many places to lay the blame, only one thing is certain. We need to instill knowledge of basic sexual disease and pregnancy prevention into our children and teens. Though the media and our own culture may teach kids lessons contrary to our current sex ed curriculum, it is easiest for us to amend our curriculum as opposed to trying to amend our entire culture.

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Isolation of Youth and the Effects of Sub-par Juvenile Detention Centers

Tyler: Many times in today’s society with children in broken homes, they become institutionally isolated. They are lacking in formal control from their absent parents as well as social control by not attending school or participating in any social institutions. In some cases, like the Newtown shooting, this isolated behavior can be deadly. “‘Teenagers and young adults typically are involved in sports, clubs, jobs, community activities and have friends,’ Vos Winkel said. ‘I think at least from what we’re gleaning at this point there was very little of that,’ Vos Winkel said.'” Often in these cases, it may not even be the young offenders fault, as many young serious offenders suffer from mental health disorders. Only about one third of the juvenile offenders that need mental health treatment receive it. The juvenile justice system is setting theses young members of society up to fail when they are released because they are not receiving the proper treatment. Without the proper treatment, these kids are just being thrust back into society with nothing but poor memories of the law enforcement officials that treated them poorly. I believe that this would be a cause for the young criminals to become repeat offenders. They have seen corrupt law enforcement officers and have no faith in the system.

 

Will: In some cases, these problems could be solved well before any adolescent resorts to desperate actions, but society just brushes off precursors to this behavior as “acting out”. There are even cases when normal children feel driven to such measures based on abuse from parents, or other authority figures. Jeffrey Dingman was granted parole in the case of the 1996 murder of his parents. He was assisted by his older brother, Robert, and was 14 when the incidence occurred. His parents were abusive toward both of their sons, creating a hostile living environment for their children. This does not necessarily exempt either Jeffrey or Robert from the actions they took, but it is obvious that they should never have been driven to such an act by the parents who were supposed to be raising good young men. At very least, his age and the fact that he was a minor and acted because of a perceived threat from his parents should have provoked officials to place him in some sort of a rehabilitation facility.

Tyler: However, these rehabilitation facilitates or juvenile detention centers are often subpar. In this article in the New York Times, Sentenced to Abuse, it goes into detail talking about the abuse that the juvenile inmates have to go through. They are sexually assaulted and harassed, mainly by the staff. These children are just that, children. They may be criminals, but they do not deserve to be taken advantage of and abused by those who are supposed to be reforming them. USA Today found that 12% of juvenile inmates are sexually taken advantage of in detention centers, mainly female guards that take advantage of underage boys. When the detention centers that are supposed to rehabilitate these young offenders are offering them noting but sexual assault, it become monumentally harder for these children to return to society and they become re-offenders. Studies have shown that lumping troubled kids with other troubled kids will worsen their behavior problems. With worsened behavior problems, it is more likely that the child or young adult will become a repeat offender. These children are not being taught how to become productive members of society, they are being taught how to continue to offend and become a part of the system.

 

Will: As previously mentioned though, these children need some type of social contact with peers and those in authority positions to function well in society. The problem with the current facilities then becomes the type of social interaction, not necessarily its presence or absence. They need a more positive environment to undergo changes, and being around abuse and harassment is definitely counterproductive. The guards and rehabilitation officers in juvenile containment should be upstanding citizens that provide good moral ground for the youth to derive conscience from. Many of these young people, around 4.7% according to The U.S. Department of Justice in an article by Matthew Fleischer, actually consent to sexual acts with the adults, a sign of additional cries for help. Joaquin Sapien also states that they researchers cited in his article have found that sexual abuse in juvenile facilities happens with three times the frequency of adult facilities. This is most likely because of the unfinished development of the youth, because they would be less likely to handle the situation in a legal manner. The children who need to be reformed are in fact even more repressed in such environments. The “correction” is doing the exact opposite of what it should.

 

Matt: The Chicago Tribune wrote an article that talked about a revolving door between correctional facilities and communities.  Many kids are coming through these places and learning nothing. They will not be able to return to society and be able to act normal. With the little help that they might receive they don’t learn enough to be placed back into society. One detention center in Texas is working on reforming.  The Texas correction facility is working on keeping young people who are criminals closer to home when they are placed in jail. The county in Texas is also doing a good job of keeping younger offender out of the detention centers.

 

Tyler: Recently in Cleveland, Ohio, several people, including staff and inmates, have been injured in juvenile detention centers. These centers are short staffed, especially late at night. With fewer guards, the inmate may be more likely to cause a disturbance. However, these guards “lack regular tactical training and adequate radio equipment to call for backup in an emergency” said Joe James, the representative for detention officers in Cleveland, Ohio. I believe that if correctional facilities could better train their officers, we would not have so many young criminals becoming repeat offenders. I also believe that if the correctional facilities could do a better job of keeping closer eyes on the guards that are supposed to be protecting and educating these young offenders, we would not have so many problems with those inmates getting sexually assaulted.  Again, it comes back to the children or young adults being taken advantage of and they feel as if the system is taking advantage of them, which in some cases is literally true.

 

Will: I feel that an additional preventative measure for such cases would be putting greater emphasis on the education of these guards and other employees. Wisegeek.com says that in many cases, such rehabilitation centers only require a high school diploma for employment, although college degrees are held in high esteem, and courses that last several weeks are offered for training. The mandated requirement of more specialized education to begin such a career would foreseeably reduce the amount of abuse cases. To put it bluntly, one would have to jump through more hoops to get a job, and they would truly have to have an invested interest in the rehabilitation of youth.

 

Matt: I would agree with Will, many of the guards are not very educated. Even in a recent article from 2013, a 14 year old was “repeatedly sexually assaulted” by a guard in a Louisiana juvenile correctional facility. Clearly this is happening all over the country and it needs to be stopped. It’s possible that the guards that are being hired could have problems that lead them to assault the kids that they are supposed to be teaching to be new members of society. If the detention centers can’t find more educated people to become correctional officers then they need to teach the people that they hire more things to prevent sexual assaults and try to help the kids that are in these facilities not to become repeat offenders.

 

Tyler: I agree with Matt and Will. However, I believe that there needs to be more outside of the facilities to keep these young offenders off the street. In a 2003 article, the author discussed several possibilities that could keep at-risk youth off the street. In very diverse areas with low-income households and single parents it is often hard for guardians to keep up with their kids when they are working two or three jobs at a time, earning minimum wage and trying to keep bread on the table. The article discusses having many after school programs, such as Boys and Girls Clubs, after school sports or activities such as leaning a hobby like photography. However, it could be potentially hard to get at-risk youth to participate in these programs if they have already become offenders. It would be easier to retain children if they started in these programs at a younger age. If these kids can become involved at younger ages they will develop a deeper connection to that hobby and may not want to give it up for a life of criminal behavior.

 

Will: Much of this risky behavior that kids are participating in has to do with the friends they choose. During the early years of a child’s development, they are less personally responsible for the social choices they make, because they aren’t quite mature enough yet. As they grow older, sociability becomes more of an independent decision. Consequently, it becomes the parent’s responsibility to nurture their children at an early age, and teach them the difference between helpful and hindering friends and situations, so that they can go on to lead healthy adult lives. Nancy Samalin, a parenting speaker, has several tips to point children in the right direction.  Essentially, the parents should make sure their child isn’t doing things or hanging out with people for popularity’s sake, and should only intervene if they feel it is truly necessary. Pleasing other people can play an extremely large part in bad behavior in teens, and it causes them to live for others, not themselves.

 

Matt: I agree with Will. The parents should be more responsible with the kids, especially at an early age when they are hanging out with bad influences after school or staying out late with these bad friends. Not only do friends have negative influences on other friends but the celebrities have a terrible influence on today’s youth. Those in the spot light like Lindsay Lohan, Brittany Spears and recently Miley Cyrus who have done whatever they have wanted in the public spotlight probably don’t realize that they are influencing these at-risk kids. Many of these kids are more likely to pay attention and watch there stars on television than listen to the advice that the parents give them because the kids want to be cool just like the celebrities.

 

Will: Popular culture definitely has a lot to do with risky behavior by kids, especially because they are so mentally susceptible to it. The Centre for Adolescent Health collaborated with the Raising Children Network. In the published article, they state that the frontal lobe, the part of the brain responsible for decision-making is not fully developed until the mid-20s. This is becoming quite a popularly cited fact lately, and the implications to teens are obvious. It means that regardless of legal status, even those close to adulthood don’t necessarily make the best decisions. This is all the more reason to review the life sentencing of minors. Even if they lack some sort of psychiatric disability, they still aren’t fully capacitated to make adult choices. Scientists have also recently made new discoveries about this specific part of the brain, detailed on DiscoverMagazine.com. This new information will help the study of psychiatric disease that affects the frontal lobe, and will foreseeably shed light on ways to help with these problems.

 

Matt: In an article done by Youth Today, they cited a study done by the federal government in 1992 showed that kids in juvenile detention centers don’t have access to a doctor or nurse on a daily basis. It would be very hard for these kids to get diagnosed with any mental disorder if they can’t see a doctor. How much are these kids to blame if they are going undiagnosed with mental disorders, especially when it would be hard for their parents to pay for doctor’s visits with their low income earnings. If children with undiagnosed mental disorders are committing crimes and just being thrown into these detention centers and then released with no rehabilitation, how much good is that doing these children?

 

Will:  Time.com published an article containing studies with other reasons that rehabilitation facilities don’t work for adolescents. The researchers say that those who go to juvenile centers are 37 times more likely to break the law again as an adult, compared to those who are not sentenced. The findings of this study concluded that much of this difference is due to the fact that kids are being put into an environment with those who have similar records. This shows that the problems lay not only with the guards and staff in the systems, but the peers themselves. All of the environmental effects are detrimental to rehabilitation.

 

Tyler: These juvenile offenders need programs to help place positive role models in their lives. The CDC has suggested that family-based programs can dramatically reduce youth violence and when started at an early age can keep youth from getting involved in crime. The CDC says that, “Parent- and family-based programs can improve family relations and lower the risk for violence by children especially when the programs are started early” suggesting that the parents learn nonviolent ways to communicate with their children. Mentoring programs pair an at-risk youth with an adult that can serve as a positive role model and help keep these young offenders on the right track so that they do not become offenders or so that they do not re-offend. The hard part of these programs is keeping all of the juveniles on track. I do not believe that there is any way to keep every child from becoming an offender but I do believe that these programs can start to reduce the number of juvenile offenders we see in our communities.

 

Will: The main point that I glean from this is that any and all of our criminal justice and rehabilitation for minors is flawed in a large way. It isn’t just a small problem, it is a huge one. Minors being sentenced as adults is unfair to them because they are not capacitated as an adult intellectually, and therefore have less degree of responsibility. The problem is that juvenile systems set them up for failure later in life. Before they have any true chance to change, they will offend again as an adult, and will then be charged and imprisoned. Many of the laws about youth trials are being changed currently, so I feel that the most pressing issue is safety in juvenile facilities. The biggest way to change the problems that are faced is more of a focus on education for employees, because they hold the future of these young adults in their hands.

 

Matt: I believe that these kids who are becoming criminals at a young age have mental disorders that could easily be diagnosed by a doctor if they could get good access to doctors and nurses. If these mental disorders could be treated I believe that we would see less young offenders and have less people in juvenile detention centers. As a whole, there are many problems with the juvenile criminal justice system. The lack of health care that these kids are receiving is devastating to their futures, and there isn’t just one way to fix the issues. It dosen’t mean we shouldn’t try.

 

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Benefits of Legalizing Marijuana

In 2014, the recreational use of marijuana was illegal in 48 states, here in the United States, leaving two states with legal permission for the people to smoke as they please. What makes them so special? After four months of it being legal in Colorado and Washington it is time for the legalizing of marijuana in more, if not all states. Here to talk about this issue, are two local Ball State Students, Tanner Bamforth and Lauren Spartz. After countless hours of research on the topic they will provide many different benefits the nation would see if the recreational use of weed was no longer prohibited by the other 48 states.

Tanner: The legalization of marijuana provides many benefits for the United States of America. The US would benefit greatly in multiple ways. The positive effects of the legalization of weed would: impact our economy, our law enforcement system, the peoples health, and the satisfaction of giving the people what they want. Each of these aspects have many of their own examples and different details that make them important and unique.

To grasp the concept of marijuana as a whole, you must first understand the history behind it. Cannabis, Coca, & Poppy:
Nature’s Addictive Plants states that the oldest written record on cannabis use was in 2727 B.C. This was from the Chinese Emperor, Shen Nung. It wasn’t grown in the United States until 1545. In American cannabis was grown on plantations for the use of its hemp for making rope, paper, and other accentual items used in everyday life. Other than hemp, marijuana was grown for the seeds to be used in animal feed and its oil to be used in paint. Pot is not just grown by people, but also wild in tropical and humid parts of the world. This means that this drug is illegal even thought it is naturally grown: a confusing issue to most Americans.

Lauren: Legalizing marijuana can impact America in one of the best ways imaginable: by improving the economy. Improving America’s economy and maintaining the name of “the land of milk and honey” is a determination amongst political leaders and many Americans alike. Could it be that by covering America in a purple haze, America’s economy as a whole may potentially ski-rocket in a positive incline? Yes- in fact there is now proof that stoners, hippies, potheads, and all of the other nicknames that have become so increasingly popular, contribute to this newly found effect that marijuana reinforces on America’s economy.

The most profound conformation of this controversial legalization is shown in the recent tax collection in the state of Colorado. According to Gabrielle Karol’s article on Fox Business’s website: In the month of January alone, Colorado collected 3.5 million dollars in taxes from just providing residents with the legal ability to purchase marijuana for both recreational enjoyment (it was made legal in January to buy marijuana for recreational usage) and medical treatment. Due to the booming sales Colorado has profitedcannabis_culture_03 from, schools and educational programs are now more freely able to administer enlightening opportunities for Colorado’s future generations. Marijuana’s drastic impact on Colorado is predicted to change by next year: resulting in Colorado making profits of 133 million dollars in marijuana taxes alone.

Giving freedom back to cannabis lovers by legalizing open sales of marijuana has the potential power of feeding United States 31billion dollars in tax revenue. This estimation leads to the ability of having future America outshine other countries for many generations to come.

Tanner: Marijuana is said to be very harmful towards the health of the humans that ingest it and that is a main reason it is illegal. This statement is actually false. With this said, everything has a down side, but marijuana has more positive than negative effects. This can be said for other drugs that are already legal. The liquid drug, also known as alcohol, has possibly no health benefits; yet possess a number of negative effects on the body. According to National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, alcohol affects the brain, heart, liver, and pancreas. Along with decreasing the effectiveness of the immune system and increase one’s rick of cancer. If this isn’t bad enough, National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence states that alcohol is responsible for 2.5 millions deaths world wide on a yearly basis.

Marijuana on the other hand has many benefits to make up for the few negatives it has. Eileen Shim, a writer for PolicyMic, states in her article, 10 Surprising Health Benefits of Medical Marijuana, that weed has many pros to the human body. Marijuana can actually stop HIV from spreading throughout the body; this was proven in a study of monkeys who receive a daily does of THC. Studies have found that marijuana also has the ability to block the enzyme that causes the progression of Alzheimer’s. Eileen Shim goes on to say that weed slows the spread of cancer cells, is an active pain reliever, and combats depression anxiety and ADHD. It can also help with neurological damage, such as concussions and strokes, and prevents blindness from glaucoma. With all of these great health benefits it is mind blowing that marijuana is illegal, but alcohol is legal.

Lauren: There have been many overstated comments said and written by advocators who are proactive in fighting for the legalization of marijuana. In comparison, non-supporters of the legalization of marijuana have also fought to keep our blessed homeland free of the Devil’s Lettuce by sometimes making untrue claims. Voiced and written opinions made by both opposite stances have created information that is not only faulty but is also producing untrue and improper education of marijuana to the population.

It is easy to categorize marijuana as being an unhealthy substance. However, in reality there are a variety of health benefits related to marijuana consumption. Commonly perceived as hazardous, marijuana has battled negative media coverage for ages due to claims of being addictive, a gateway drug, and having the possibility of contributing to criminal behavior

Dr. Sanjay Gupta explains in an article on CNN’s website, how he once viewed marijuana and how he presently views marijuana. In 2009, Dr. Gupta wrote an article for TIME magazine describing his views on medical marijuana and how he believed legalizing marijuana would create a negative impact on future American’s. Now Dr. Gupta reconsiders his first initial stance, claiming that he has been called to apologize for criticizing marijuana and denoting the benefits of this cannabis plant. After reanalyzing research and uncovering smaller research studies done in other countries, Dr. Gupta came to the conclusion that popular claims of marijuana being highly addictive and marijuana not having any legitimate medical applications are extremely misleading and false. By sharing the story of Charlotte Figi, Dr. Gupta provided proof of marijuana truly having medical benefits from describing Charlotte’s lifetime battle with unexpected seizures.

Charlotte Figi began having seizures soon after birth. Charlotte’s seizures began to dramatically increase by the age of three, resulting to her having around 300 seizures per week. Regardless of Charlotte being prescribed to seven different medications, her unexpected spams continued to remain the same total amount everyday. However, with the help of medical marijuana, Charlotte now experiences uncontrollable seizures only two or three times a month.

The story of Charlotte and many other patients Dr. Gupta has come in contact with has impacted his view of medical marijuana and the life-changing benefits it brings to all patients. Can it be that many other doctors around America are starting to investigate the truth behind medical marijuana, causing them to reconstruct and redefine their previous stances on the subject?

Tanner: The US spends too much time, money, and effort fighting against marijuana. Officers are out looking for potheads, when they should be looking for true criminals, such as murders and rapist. Piety lawbreakers who do get arrested for marijuana, are forced to prison time along side brutal criminals who commit heinous crimes. According to Amanda Stevens, the author of Rawstory article titled Legalizing Marijuana Allows Police to Focus on Violent Crimes, “A 1999 study showed that 60,000 individuals were behind bars for marijuana use”. This statement made by Amanda Stevens, does not count the other 700,000 people arrested each year for marijuana charges that may not have to see the inside of a jail cell; she goes on to explain this had cost taxpayers over 7 billion dollars to prosecute these people. Spending that much money each year to fight the war on cannabis when, as said before, the US could be supporting marijuana and make a substantial amount of money in the process.

With a new law making marijuana legal for recreational use, law enforcement won’t have to worry about the illegal sale of it as much. This would cut back on drug related gang violence and murder, which could be caused by a drug deal gone badly. Things would be a lot simpler if there was just a local, friendly pot shop that hippies can have their needs met. This would also make officers jobs a lot easier. They would only have to worry about a few random drug deals, minors, and boarder patrol.

Tanner: If America is democracy then the people should get what they want. A recent poll taken in early 2013, states that 70% of people supported legal  marijuana in the state of Florida alone . The decision to add the legalization of marijuana to the ballot shouldn’t be left in the hands of politicians. According to the Huffington Post article, This Is Why Marijuana Should Be Legal Everywhere, by Renee Jacques and Todd Van Luling, “58 percent of Americans are in favor of allowing the plant to be legal”. In conclusion, if the benefits of marijuana outweigh the negative media coverage that continually resurfaces. It is the people’s weed and every person has his or her own right to be able to partake in experiencing the high life legally.

 

Max: There is a current epidemic spreading throughout the nation’s high schools and colleges. Students are turning to ‘study drugs’ such as Vyvanse and Adderall to stay up for entire days at a time just to accomplish school work they need to get done. Prescription ADHD medications like Adderall, Ritalin, and Vyvanse are becoming increasingly popular for overworked college students attempting to keep their GPA up. These drugs are intended for children and adults who have ADD, attention deficit disorder, or ADHD, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, to help the patients be more focused and attentive. But students are scheduling doctor’s appointments complaining about their lack of focus just to get their hands on the blue, yellow, or pink pills.

Being a college student myself, I am constantly surrounded by students who either take some ‘study drug’ or are looking to score some sort of cognitive enhancement. There is a massive problem with students taking this drugs, prescribed or not, because it creates an academic environment where work being turned in is not a genuine attempt by the student. This poses the question of academic dishonesty, and Amanda Marscarelli from societyforscience.org says Abusing ADHD drugs is cheating too. Its no difference than athletes using performance enhancing drugs to increase their athletic ability. This is a very valid point considering the advantage student’s who take these sorts of drugs have over student’s who do not. Which you cannot deny when students are praising these drugs for their effects.

And more and more students are turning to this method of artificial motivation to either get ahead or just keep up with their workload. Colleges are concerned which can be seen through a number of different college newspaper articles that have been published by: Cornell, Pittsburg, just to name a few and there are many more, discussing the increased use of Adderall and Vyvanse on college campuses.

Kerry Close, from Cornell University, writes about a student who used Adderall as a study tool when it came time for midterms before spring break. She quotes the student as saying, “When I was on [Adderall], I felt a lot of energy and … I was really able to focus,” and “All the information I was processing made a lot of sense, much more sense.” When you read quotes like this, it makes more sense why students are taking these drugs.

The increase in competition throughout the global job market causes for students to find any means of gaining an advantage. This includes even resorting to illegal drug transactions just to gain the ability to pull an all nighter and get an A on a difficult test. Considering finding a job after college is becoming more and more difficult, it’s no wonder why students are resorting to drugs to give them an advantage.

Local news stations have been reporting this story and CNN has even turned it into national news. In this CNN video, Jerrad Gabay a college senior is asked to discuss why he takes Adderall. (insert video from CNN). When asked what sort of difference he sees in himself after taking adderall, he says, “Im more driven”, “I kind of dont focus on anything else [but the work being done].” After hearing a testimony from a student who isn’t prescribed, and claims his grades are much better after taking a form of ‘speed’, any like minded student would run to find the first one of their friends that has a prescription.

 

Carly: The abundance of these mentally stimulating drugs on college and high school campuses is astonishing. If a student isn’t able to be prescribed the medication, which is rare, it’s likely that someone they associate with is willing to sell them the precious ‘study drugs.’ CBS Today discusses how simple it is for students to fake ADHD or find a dealer on social media, such as Twitter or Instagram. The rates these pills are sold by are actually extremely cheap, considering a single thirty-pill prescription of 70 mg Vyvanse is $260 without insurance. Pills are typically sold at a dollar per 10 mg. Not only are dealers not making a profit with this system, they’re actually losing money. Because patients are often misdiagnosed with ADHD, students not using the medication to enhance studying are willing to sell their peers. ‘Study drug’ dealers probably don’t realize or care that they’re insurance provider is actually losing money, because often these people are poor college students and money is money.

What makes these performance-enhancing drugs such a concern is not what the students are using them for, but the side effects. Especially when mixed with other drugs, ADHD medication can be harmful. Students that are not prescribed to the drugs are often taking too high of a dosage too often. This abuse leads to extreme irritability, high blood pressure, insomnia, sweating, dry mouth, shaking, irregular breathing and several more dangerous side effects. Students often consume caffeine when taking the medication, which will worsen the effects they experience. It’s not uncommon for students to combine more drugs with the ADHD medications, especially marijuana. Students claim that smoking after speeding will bring them back ‘down’ and take away some of the negative results of ‘study drugs.’ These pills are amphetamine based and can be habit forming, if abused. Users even refer to the drugs as ‘legal meth.’

Students should be hesitant when interacting with these drugs is schools often have policies against them. Specifically, Ball State prohibits the abuse and distribution of any prescription drugs, adhering with the state and federal laws. There isn’t much point to taking drugs to get better grades if it results in suspension or expulsion. There is a widespread discussion of what to do to solve the problem of ‘study drugs,’ but no plausible solution. Schools drug testing their entire student population would be completely unrealistic.

Secondly, if that were to happen, there would be hardly anyone left to attend the school. The drugs can’t be banned entirely, because there is a portion of the population who legitimately needs them for medical treatment. Ultimately, doctors need to be more precautious when prescribing these medications. Not everyone with ADHD needs to be treated with stimulants. Similarly, not every patient with behavior and attention problems necessarily has ADHD.

 

Taylor: These “study drugs” undoubtedly have a direct correlation to other drugs such as cocaine, in the sense that they give one that “speeding” sensation that hence gives people the focus they need. We must remember though, that there really isn’t a drug that acts exactly like Adderall or Vyvanse, since these drugs redirect neurotransmitters using amphetamine salts. Therefore, we must classify this drug in a different category than more natural speeders, since these drugs are made 100% artificially. Greg Laden commented on the blog and stated how one of his students had to smoke a lot of pot to be able to produce a good PhD thesis. From what I have experienced, many people state that when they smoke pot, they become much less productive. This proves Laden’s point that the use of “study drugs” is more subjective than we think and that the use of these drugs aren’t enhancement since people react differently to drugs. Alan D. DeSantis of the University of Kentucky, conducted research that states: the longer students stay in college, the more they use study drugs. This blog explains how the Britain Academy of Medical Sciences associates study drugs with other drugs such as steroids and it is parallel with cheating in sports. Wesleyan University actually amended their student code of conduct to highlight the “misuse” of prescription drugs and classifying it as “improper assistance” in academia. This is where the line needs to be drawn, to state that using these drugs is not cheating and that some people actually need this drug to function. If anything, colleges should offer these drugs on campus if it makes students perform better, especially since wealthy students can afford it and less wealthy students cannot, giving the wealthier an unfair advantage. Our society is based on making everything equal for everyone, so why not provide these drugs for students? Though I believe this drug should be available to everyone since we have agreed it gives sort of an unfair advantage, I still believe there should much more research done to completely understand this drug and its side effects. Nick Bostrom’s response to a blog from a report of the Academy of Medical Sciences explains how the report lacks to acknowledge the fact that we need research for better, more reliable cognitive enhancers. The concept of disease, according to Bostrom’s response, has more of a pull of research than the research on effective cognitive enhancers. Research needs to be more focused upon “study drugs” because the side effects can be quite traumatic to ones health. Reports of very unhealthy eating habits, or no eating at all, have created some concern for the drug but not enough to kick start major research. Is it going to take mass amounts of over dosage to light the fire under the asses of those in the Academy of Medical Sciences?

Taylor: In our society, where everything is backwards, the use of Adderall and Vyvanse is and always will be accepted even though these drugs are basically lab-made cocaine. The argument though really isn’t about what effects the drugs have on young children’s bodies, but revolved on if this type of drug use is considered cheating or not. This is extremely disturbing because society puts the nobility of fair game before the safety of our children. Either we teach our children the aspects of sportsmanship or we raise them believing that our health is really what matters.

Anders Sandberg’s response explains this idea that society need to distinguish the principles of basic health and drug use and the separate principles of sportsman ship.   The reason why Sandberg brings this up is the fact that authorities are more likely to punish the users of this drug as cheating in school, rather than punishing the drug dispensers for selling children artificial cocaine. Sandberg states the fight on “educational doping” divides us into two kinds of people; those who believe education is a competition for higher grades and those who believe education is based on acquiring knowledge, not how well one does on tests. Education should not be a huge race to see who can get the higher grades; it should be based solely on absorbing the material and applying it to every day life. If these dugs can allow students who don’t have the same learning and memory abilities as their peers, there is no cheating when taking this drug, just broadening the horizons for every student.

Max: I have to agree and disagree with Taylor. I agree with the fact that our society puts more emphasis on a persons success, in any area, than it does their personal health. This promotes the idea that students should be more focused on doing whatever it takes to be successful than being concerned about their path to success. This goes hand in hand with potentially serious side effects that these drugs pose on the students. Students do not take into consideration that they face increased heart rate, anxiety and paranoia, and many more side effects when taking these drugs.. And these side effects are the cause of non-ADD students being overstimulated, mentally. The sort of amphetamine like high that these psychostimulants cause, is not that far off from the high actual street drugs cause, which Taylor and Carly have both talked about. So in a sense, these students are turning into prescription cocaine addicts, and do not realize that these drugs can could potentially have the same side effects as long term amphetamine use. Although people don’t believe these drugs are harmful, because they need a prescription to get, they are.

Where I disagree with Taylor is that we, as a society, should just accept and realize these drugs are going to be a part of our culture whether we like it or not. With more rigorous screening for disorders such as ADD and ADHD, prescription writing for psychostimulants such as Adderall and Vyvanse could definitely be limited, which would take some of the supply of these drugs off the streets. Also, I find the statement about how authorities are more likely to be concerned with academic dishonesty than the selling of prescription drugs when looking to make an arrest in relation to ‘study drug’ abuse and selling.
On the website justanswer.com, a website where criminal lawyers answer questions by anonymous individuals seeking quick legal advice, I found a post that caught my eye. A person who had been arrested for having nine Adderall without a prescription, was charged with a level 4 felony asked about what he should do. Personally, I find this to be a perfect example of how law enforcement is seeking out maximum penalties for prescription drug offenses. Personally, I find this to be discouraging to individuals looking to sell such drugs as Vyvanse and Adderall, which ultimately reduces the supply of these drugs sold illegally. That being said, a reduced supply of these drugs on the street means more students will be forced to do use their own abilities to complete their work. Personally, I find the use of psychostimulants to be useful for those who have serious cases of ADD and ADHD to be necessary. I also find the use of these drugs for those who dont have a disorder to be a form of cheating. Students finding these drugs on the streets are looking to get a focused high where they are motivated to get work done, that they wouldnt normally be motivated to do. To me, taking a supplement to do something you wouldn’t normally do, or be able to do, is cheating and more emphasis on how the use of these drugs by undiagnosed drug takers needs to be hindered.

 

Safety of Air Travel

Aircrafts have improved our way of traveling over the years. They get people to and from places faster than any other method of transportation, but it is worth the negative outcomes that many people have had to suffer? A once safe and astonishing invention has become a threat to many lives. From missing planes to terrorism and unfocused TSA security, something must be done to improve traveler’s safety.

Kailey: It’s fascinating to see where the aviation realm has come in the last hundred years, with this year marking the 100th anniversary of the first commercial flight (‘first commercial flight’ be the link to the article). USA Today asked CEO of major airlines their thoughts about where we are then headed and many had fantastical ideas about cleaner airplanes etc etc, but no one mentioned anything about or concerned for airport security. Some folks talked about mobile passports and all these ‘self’ things that will hopefully be implemented in the future but where does that leave security? Hopefully security won’t become a thing of ‘self’ and have people going through security with just robots or computers as the new TSA. Security is one of the major things impacting peoples’ outlook of air travel. No matter how advanced or green the planes get, air travel safety will be first on peoples mind.

Morgan: Yes, security is one of the major things impacting people’s outlook on air travel. People need to feel safe in airports and unfortunately many U.S. airports are lacking in all aspects. Vice President Joe Biden spoke out against the LaGuardia airport in New York, saying “feels like it’s in some third world country.” He even questioned the country’s credibility to dominate world economics when we have airports like this.  After collecting data in 2013 about U.S airports and security the conclusion article called them “awful” with “surely security and endless queues.” The standards for security need to be higher if airports want travelers to return.

Kailey: Also within that realm of safety, security scanners in airports are always something that is a hot topic and people are talking about. The careful balance between safety and privacy is something many people are concerned about. The intense screening makes sense as a secondary precaution but I think sometimes is necessary for safety. I know some people may think it an invasion of privacy but wouldn’t you rather be safe and possibly uncomfortable for a second than just walk straight through security. Every one thinks it’s annoying because “they would never be the one who would do something” to harm someone but there can not be exceptions with things like this. I think this aspect of air travel is what some people have the biggest problem with. I think a major problem with TSA hatred is that Americans are really good at feeling entitled and that everyone owes them something, so by this “invasion of privacy” they’re loosing control. No one likes taking off their shoes and unloading bags and possibly being padded down but better to be safe than sorry. There is actually a surprising amount of fun that gets poked at TSA among all the hatred- search for that at your own risk. And I know that TSA has much room for improvement in handling things but they’re getting there.

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Morgan:I agree that people find scanners annoying, especially having to take your shoes and belts off just to put them back on five minutes later.  Kip Hawley makes a great point when he says security efforts should be focused on weapons like knives, explosives, and other toxins that can be used in a harmful way on the aircraft instead of how many ounces of liquid are in the flyer’s bottles; it is a misuse of resources. I believe the TSA spends too much time focusing on the little things such as makeup or baby formula when a recent law was passed saying passengers can carry pocket knives and pool cues. They are making people throw away anything more than 3.4 ounces of liquid and letting other carry on items that could potentially become a weapon. Something needs to be done about the efficiency of inspections and rules about what can and can’t be carried onto a plane need to revised. For instance, instead of focusing on how many ounces in the bottle, test the liquid for toxins and make new restrictions.

Kailey: Exactly. Misuse of resources is a common thing in America. Focusing on the wrong areas while leaving others wide open. I agree with Kip that the bigger issues are the ones that need to be addressed and there is a much better way than how TSA is doing it to do so. But I’m not sure that I agree that the smaller “weapons” or things like knives should be ignored either. Kip admits that these things could still be used on individuals but wasn’t worried about that because that wouldn’t commandeer the whole vessel. Isn’t the passenger safety important though? Don’t they say something about ‘we are concerned for your safety’ when you board airplanes? Those things should still be a concern, but maybe changing things like the weird liquid size rules and such strange things would allow for TSA to focus more on bigger issues.

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Kailey: Something that has also added to how travelers view flying is things such as the missing Malaysia flight, which is a sad event for sure and the ambiguity of the situation is a little terrifying. The Missing Malaysian Airlines flight conspiracy theories are getting pretty interesting. The first theory that people began to speak about what that the two men from Iran, traveling on stolen passports had hijacked the plane. Of course America would, which as well falls back onto TSA security. Would the flight have had a different outcome if TSA operated differently, same with 9/11, or other flights gone wrong? The most logical theory going now is the alien abduction. No one has found anything, there’s no trace…it kind of makes sense. This incident, and ones such as 9/11, has a huge hand in changing how people view air travel and not wanting to be apart of that. Personally I was only in second grade during 9/11 but the next time I flew after I was pretty terrified, and I know many people who felt the same. I am still scared to fly, although I do.

Morgan: I agree the conspiracy theories behind catastrophic events such as 9/11 and the missing malaysia plane greatly impact traveler’s decisions on flying. I was also scared to fly after 9/11, I was only in third grade so I couldn’t fully understand what was happening but the multiple stories that came out after the event made everything much worse. When situations like these happen Airlines need to change the way they handle the outcomes. They think more about the money and the lawyers rather than the passengers; when the flight from Malaysia went missing the airline sent text messages to the families of each passenger, assuming that everyone on the plane died. The texts said “everyone drown in the ocean,” without any sort of proof.  Completely unacceptable. People lost their lives dues to errors and their families deserved much more respect.

Kailey: People in the air profession need to recognize these things that affect the way that people view air travel and how they can work to improve them. I am sure there are many other things than just looking at security that affect how people view and participate in aviational things. Being tens of thousands of feet in the air allows for many different things to potentially happen without out of our control, but one thing that can be controlled in what and who comes aboard a flight. TSA  may be invasive and they have room for change to help the traveler feel more comfortable but I’d rather have TSA there and searching for something than for that something to be overlooked.

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Morgan: Yes, these jobs can not be taken lightly, instead of complaining something needs to be done to improve travel. Senator Jon McCain reveals “our security procedures have basically not changed in the past twelve years.” Since 9/11 all sharp and point objects have been banned and taken at security but a former TSA Chief wants to change this rule. “They ought to let everything on that is sharp and pointy. Battle axes, machetes, bring anything you want thats pointy and sharp because you will not be able to commit an act of violence, you will not be able to take over the plane. It’s as simple as that.” Yet very violent things have happened on planes so the ban of sharp objects should not be revoked.

 

Morgan: Many of the attempts to change security and make people feel safer seems like a joke. Snow globes were banned from airplanes when the TSA feared they were filled with explosives. Also, letting children keep their shoes on but stopping a man with dread locks because he might have dangerous weapons in his hair. In Dallas, a woman was stopped and frisked because TSA thought her afro seemed dangerous, these restrictions are not consistent in any way and ridiculous rules need to be eliminated from security check points. Why are people getting stopped for having big hair when pilots and flight attendance go though security untouched?

Kailey: This link reveals some other ridiculous things TSA has done to make themselves look even better. There is a lot of subjective matter with airport security also that allows for this type of stupidity as some would say. If there is a legitimate reason then the safety of others is put over but, some stuff is just ridiculous. What is allowed or seen as suspicious through TSA’s eyes is very peculiar but I’m sure there is a legitimate reason deep down some where. Better safe than sorry.

Morgan: So many people are outraged and upset about the TSA allowing knives on planes, and I agree with them. Although the knives have length restrictions: no longer than 2.36 inches, and the blade can not be wider than 1/2 inch, its still not safe. Weapons of any kind should not be allowed anywhere near an aircraft. When planes are filled with children and families, who is going to be stuck next to the passenger carrying a knife? Air marshals are upset as well, how are they supposed to protect the passengers on the plane when anonymous people through out the plane can carry knives? Weapons should not be allowed not planes. It’s as simple as that. Have we learned nothing from the past?

Kailey: Slowly but surely maybe we will.                                                                                                                                                             From missing planes to terrorism and unfocused TSA security, something must be done to improve traveler’s safety. Nothing will ever be perfect but there is much room for improvement. The safety of travelers is always the most important thing to remember but after that privacy is a close second. Safety is on the forefront of all travelers minds and cause them to questions our current way of doing things through the airways. If improvements are mad in this area then peoples views on air travel will increase significantly.

 

 

College Binge Drinking

Ball State University, Indiana University, Purdue University, what do these schools have in common?  They have all had a student die in the past year from binge drinking.  Is this problem worsening amidst campuses and what can be done to stop this epidemic?  Here to discuss this issue are Ball State University students Amanda Worrick and Makayla Jobe.  Amanda graduated in 2001 from BSU and is a returning student offering 30-something views, while Makayla is a traditional student with a younger viewpoint.

Amanda:  I am proud to attend and work at Ball State University, so it saddens me when I see headlines on the national news of a Elijah Swagger, a BSU student found dead at an off-campus apartment after a night of binge drinking.  This is not the kind of attention we want drawn to the university.  After reading the article on The Daily News website you might wonder why no one picked up on any warning signs that this young man needed help.  However not all these tragic stories stem from a drinking problem.

Binge drinking is defined as drinking five or more drinks in one hour for men or four or more drinks in an hour for women with the sole intention of becoming intoxicated.

Rachel Fiege and her mother, not only did she lose her daughter, she also lost her best friend.

Rachel Fiege and her mother, not only did she lose her daughter, she also lost her best friend.

Every parents worst nightmare after sending their child off to college would be getting a phone call that your child is in the hospital and unresponsive.  That is exactly what happened to Rachel Fiege’s mother.  Rachel was an Indiana University freshman who died from injuries sustained after she fell down the stairs at a friend’s home on campus where she had been binge drinking.  Her mother had just gotten her moved in days prior, her brother who also attends IU had taken her the day before to see where her classes would be held.  Rachel was attending her very first college party never dreaming it would also be her last.  Her mother’s quote says it best, “This could happen to anyone.”  This should be a red flag to all those out there that think they are invincible. Continue reading

Racism in the Media

Darlene: An article with CNN discusses how Justin Beiber was arrested in Miami for speeding in a residential neighborhood. When Beiber was pulled over he said to the police “What the f*** did I do? Why did you stop me?”  When Beiber was arrested police also found marijuana, alcohol, and other drugs in his system. Beiber then topped it all off by smiling in his mug shot, and all the media had to say about him was that he was a misguided youth.

beiberOn the other hand foot ball player Richard Sherman got excited on the football field and lost his temper and was immediately called a thug. Sherman is a Graduate from Stanford University and while in high school he played football, ran track, and maintained a 4.2 GPA while doing it all. These do not seem to be traits of a thug and yet this is the stereotype he was given.

Jerome: Yes, these stereotypes are being thrown out to anyone and everyone in recent years and no one really seems to think any worse of it.  These stereotypes can easily be described as racism which means that racism is prominent within our society’s as well.  Stereotyping is just another way for groups to use racism but not in an upfront manner for example this happens on twitter all the time.  There is even a twitter account made for generalizing white people and all the actions they do and being a white male I find this offensive.

When you think racism you may think a white male hating on any other race that is different from himself.  Unfortunately this is not the case in recent events; there has been a surge of racism directed towards white Americans that has seemed to go unnoticed.  This is an abnormal type of racism that not many catch onto its a sort of reverse racism.  It is described in Dr. Mendoza-Denton’s article in which white people always under pressure not to be racist that is mentally and socially stressful on them even more so to an extent that a racial slur is to a black man, especially one that is overused and overlooked as a slur unless someone besides their race says it.

Darlene: As an African American female I have noticed racism towards Caucasian Americans has always been apparent, especially in the African American community. With mass media and everything being at the palm of our hands it just seems that people feel untouchable so they feel more comfortable to speak on issues even if it is in ignorance. I do, however, feel that racism in the African American community differs from the Caucasian community simply because of the fact that Caucasians have always been the dominate race and controlled African Americans at one point in time, and in some ways continue to. This idea is expressed more in the video of Leo Muhammad talking to an elderly Caucasian man. He completely admits that many African Americans are racist towards Caucasian Americans, but his explanation goes into detail as to why this is in an extremely educated manner.

Jerome: After watching Leo Muhammad and understanding all he was talking about I would have to strongly agree with actions and his overall education. I also agree with the statement that media has made us ignorant to statements we make about other races and maybe even our own races.  Going back to the education factor that was mentioned in Leo Muhammad, I believe education and ignorance go hand in hand.  Being a young white middle-class male I thought it was impossible to find scholarships and it almost seemed unfair that many of my African American counterparts were getting this free money for race.  Obviously this is not true, no just gets money for being Black, White, Asian, etc. it is based on many factors.  After researching the availability of scholarships I came across one specific article that shed some light on the situation.  This article by scholastic writer Tamara Krause explains how once a day she hears the average white male complaining about how he cannot get any scholarships because he is just average, then she goes on to list several scholarships that have nearly no requirements that anyone can apply for.  This just proves yet another misconception that other races are the only ones who get special treatment or government aid for schooling.

Darlene: The article you mentioned above does clear the air on a lot of misconceptions. I also was under the impression that minority races had a greater chance of receiving scholarship money than the majority. It actually feels liberating to know that when it comes to many scholarships we are all on the same playing field, but this seems to be the only place where this is the case. Unfortunately the same can not be said about the media. The media, for what ever reason, seems to portray minorities in a negative light. In the Long Way to Go: Minorities in the Media Carlos Cort shows how the media can give minorities a negative connotation. I have also noticed how when minorities are interviewed for news stations, in many cases they have the language of an uneducated individual. These interviews are sometimes then turned into spoofs and become YouTube sensations such as, the video with Antoine Dodson, the Amanda Berry story, as well as the story told by a woman named Sweet Brown. Interviews like this promote ignorance in minorities by making it seem okay to the public for interviews to be conducted in such a manner, when in reality it demeans the race as a whole.

Jerome: That is completely true that the interviews that are put on YouTube or the news often interview the worst possible and uneducated people.  When you think about it, the problem may not lie with the people that they are interviewing being uneducated, ignorant, and minorities.  The problem could easily be the fact that the media is searching through all the candidates to find these people just to try and make a headline interesting.

 The news is constantly looking for a program or story that will give them the most ratings and have people wanting to actually look forward to the news since it is not as coveted as they were before the internet. -Huffington Post

So this allows us to draw the conclusion that perhaps its not the people who make themselves look so bad, maybe it is the media and news stations that set them up for failure.  After all, the media in recent years has been putting minorities on display as a laughing stock of the nation.  So maybe after all we need to look deeper than the actual people in the spotlight, and take a look at the people who are placing that spotlight upon the people.

Darlene: I completely agree, after reading the article mentioned above about how minorities are turned into the laughing stock of our nation. Many people may have a negative connotation about minorities based off of the ways they are presented through the media. The problem with the portrayal of minorities is that the stereotypes do not match the facts. The National Center for Education has a fast facts page that shows the percentages of races that graduate with an Associates degree, Bachelors degree, Masters, and Doctorate. African American females seem to take the lead in the United States for all degree types with Hispanics and Whites fighting for second. This in itself shows that the truth behind the stereotypes of minorities is becoming a thing of the past, and something that the media is trying to hold onto. The reasoning behind the need to continue this stereotype is beyond me, but it seems to be because there is still racism in the media, so there is still a need to bring down minorities.