When educators suffer from the effects of substance abuse, the academic future of their students and the academic standing of their schools suffer with them. Fortunately, powerful drug rehab programs can help teachers through withdrawal while giving them the resources and skills necessary to resist relapse and return to the classroom with confidence. Understanding this phenomenon is critical not only to the future of individual teachers that need help, but also to our entire education system.
It is estimated that 4% of educators in the United States use illegal drugs based on surveys of 120,000 teachers and social service professionals. Through additional surveys of full-time workers from a variety of professions, 8.8% or 10.1 million reported heavy alcohol use. (1)
The 2009 U.S. census concluded that there were 7.2 million teachers in the United States. “Almost 3 million taught at the elementary and middle school level. The remainder included those teaching at the post secondary, secondary, preschool, kindergarten levels, special education and other teachers or instructors.” (2)
While 4% is not a lot compared to substance use in many other professions, there is no acceptable number considering teachers are tasked with the education and safety of America’s children. Four percent equates to an estimated 288,000 teachers using illegal drugs in the past 30 days and 8.8% means approximately 633,600 full-time teachers drink 5 or more drinks at a time on 5 or more occasions per month (the defining parameters for the term “heavy alcohol use” in the above referenced statistics).
Educators are held to a high standard of expectation as scholars, teachers, caregivers and roll models to students. The thought that hundreds of thousands are using drugs or alcohol is disturbing and it is impossible to know how many have reached the point of addiction.
Drugs fulfill a real or perceived need for addicts. Educators, like addicts in any career, may abuse substances to:
• relieve pain (through the use of prescription pain medications)
• reduce stress or lift mood (with any number of mind numbing or euphoric drugs like alcohol or ecstasy)
• increase productivity (with prescription stimulant ADHD medications)
For some, drug abuse starts with experimentation and/or peer pressure and over time gets out of control. For others, drug use may be commonplace in their family or community. Substance abuse can result in withdrawal symptoms that are physically painful, some after just one use so they continue to use drugs to alleviate the pain of detox.
Symptoms of substance abuse are varied depending on the individual and the type of drug used. Symptoms that negatively impact both personal and professional relationships and work performance can include:
• Mood swings
• Missing work
• Decline in productivity
• Lack of motivation
• Being fidgety or distracted
• Anxiety or fearfulness
• Feeling physically ill
These symptoms affect a teacher’s ability to plan and implement their lesson plans and relate to their students and peers. Ultimately this negatively impacts the individual student’s ability to succeed and the school’s overall efficacy. Friends, family and administrators are encouraged to approach addicts with empathy and compassion, encouraging them to seek help.
A quality drug rehab center that places an emphasis on education about post acute withdrawal syndrome can increase the chance of achieving a successful and lasting recovery. There are many PAWS symptoms, but some people may exhibit none of them, some may suffer from this condition consistently, while others only experience sporadic symptoms. Whatever the case may be, what they all have in common is that recovering addicts will associate the use of drugs or alcohol as a way to alleviate the symptoms of post acute withdrawal syndrome.
Educators suffering from substance abuse need support, encouragement and understanding. Our addiction specialists are available 24/7. Make the call today to help yourself or a loved one begin the road to recovery and get back to passing on a passion for life and learning to the next generation. The educational future of even a small group of students may depend on it, so call us now – the call is free and completely confidential, so you have nothing to lose.
(1) Associated Press 1 in 12 full-time workers admits using drugs – Marijuana most commonly used, government reports finds – MSNBC – 7/16/2007
(2) U.S. Census Bureau Profile America: Facts for Features June 27, 2011