Prom can be one of the most special and memorable events in a high school student’s life. For those who choose to use drugs or alcohol, it can also be a dangerous time.
I would be lying if I told you that drugs and alcohol did not play a role in my prom experience. However, as a recovering drug addict and alcoholic I seek to keep others from making the same mistake I did.
As a counselor for both in-class and online minor in possession (MIP) classes I often discuss the role of alcohol and drugs at prom with my students. The number of students who try to chemically alter their prom experience may surprise you.
As a parent I often discuss this topic with other parents. The majority seem to think that virtually all teens are trying to get drunk or high at prom. From my experience as a student and a counselor for alcohol classes I can tell you this most certainly is not the case.
This article will look at the role played by alcohol and other drugs at prom from my own personal experience and cite statistics from students in my recent MIP classes.
I was lucky enough to go to three proms – twice as a high school student and once in college with my high school girlfriend. Of the three proms I attended I only was intoxicated at my senior prom. I was certainly in the minority. I knew of only a handful of students who has smoked pot before getting to prom and nobody spiked the punch or brought booze with them.
Of course the after-prom parties were a completely different story. This is where the alcohol and pot are used and abused. This was the problem area 30 years ago and continues to be problematic today.
In each of my alcohol awareness classes I make each of my students fill out a questionnaire regarding their drinking and drug use habits. These are submitted to me anonymously and we often have a spirited conversation regarding substance use at prom.
Keep in mind that almost every student is in my class has been involved in alcohol or drug-related offense. The data was collected from students over the past two years.
Before I reveal my findings think about your perceptions to the following questions. What percent use alcohol? What percent use drugs? How many go to after=prom parties? How many drink or use drugs at these parties?
My study showed that only 21% went to the dance after drinking alcohol and 17% used marijuana before attending the dance. Only 6% carried marijuana on them to the dance and 9% brought booze to the prom.
The after-prom is a different story. My study found that 84% consumed alcohol at an after-prom party, while 37% smoked marijuana or ate pot brownies. It is interesting that 100% said they had friends who got “totally intoxicated” at an after-prom party and 84% said they saw people using marijuana.
Do you see where the problem lies? The prom is not the problem, it is what happens after prom. School administrators need to work closely with the student council and the PTA to help coordinate safe after-prom parties.
Alcohol and marijuana are both illegal and dangerous for teens. If you or someone you care about has a drug or alcohol problem, I urge you to seek help immediately. If you prefer to maintain anonymity there are online minor in possession classes and online drug classes too.