ENABLING PATTERNS IN A SCHOOL SETTING

Schools and colleges have strict drug and alcohol policies. However, even faculty members can enable substance use among students.

Some signs of enabling behaviors at school include:

  • Not regulating places where students consume drugs or alcohol: Failure to supervise problem areas makes students think that they have a safe and uncontrolled space to engage in substance use.

  • Not acknowledging money or drug exchanges on school grounds: Turning a blind eye to these behaviors enables students to carry out restricted activities without fearing consequences.

  • Disregarding unacceptable behaviors in the classroom: Ignoring students when they openly admit to substance consumption or intoxication reinforces their substance using behaviors.

  • Not reporting intoxicated students: Failing to discipline students or refer them to the schools’ student assistance programs delays them from getting the treatment they need.

  • Not having specific rules against substance use: When there are no rules about drug use in the classroom or in the academic code of conduct, students may believe that there are no consequences for their actions.

  • Counseling students without proper training: Teachers and staff who are not trained in substance abuse counseling may be too lenient or too aggressive with students, hindering their potential recovery.

  • Being in denial about a student: Denying that students with good academic or athletic performance would be involved in substance use delays timely treatment.

  • Lowering expectations for some students: All students deserve equal treatment, including those struggling with a substance use disorder.