LETTER: Concerns raised about under-reported student drug use


I am concerned about the increased drug activity among teenagers and young adults within Fayette and Coweta counties.

Unfortunately, I learned far more than I ever wanted to about drugs this past year as I watched my 22-year-old son battle addiction.

His experimentation with drugs started while in high school and then progressed much more as he became a young adult. He lost his battle with addiction on November 10, 2023. I don’t want to see any other family go through this agony, so I felt compelled to speak out.

Drug use is an epidemic across the nation and it is in our community too, and you would be kidding yourself if you thought differently.

In fact, in 2022, Drug Free Fayette reported that 6.4% of Fayette County 12th graders misused a prescription drug in the previous 30 days. As this data is from self-reports, I would bet that number is really even higher.

While visiting my son in various rehab centers throughout the state during this past year, his 17-year-old sister was with us and she ran into several teenagers in our community who were dealing with addiction.

I hope parents are having frank conversations with their teenagers about how experimenting with today’s drugs can KILL them.

It’s tough to be a teenager today, and while many would experiment back in the 1980s and move on with our lives, it is a whole different world now with fentanyl on the streets. Fentanyl has a 93% relapse rate and is a drug that will win every time.

Please know that these drugs have been, and still are, in our community, and even students from our “elite” schools are not immune.

I wish the school system’s focus of academic rigor and how many top colleges the students can get into was matched by a concern about the whole child.

It seems the topics of mental health and drug use/awareness/prevention is often swept under the rug so the “shine” of these schools doesn’t fade. It’s time Fayette County cared less about image and more about the health of their students.

Lee McDermott

Senoia, Ga.