Middle school is a wonderful, crazy and confusing time for kids. Their hormones begin to kick into high gear, they are becoming more self-aware and independent, and they begin to feel more like adults and less like children. Indeed, the “middle” in middle school is appropriate—these kids are not quite ready for high school, and in many ways, still behave like tweens.
This is exactly why middle school is not too soon to talk to your students about drugs; in fact, many prevention professionals would tell you to start talking much earlier. In an effort to act older, students may engage in riskier behavior, like trying drugs and alcohol, but as younger teens (as may also be true for older teens), they might not be equipped to understand the consequences of their choices. Florida middle schools cannot be shy or naively believe, “Oh, these kids are too young for this kind of talk.” The reality is, they aren’t too young—this is a perfect time to spread the message about the dangers of drugs and alcohol. Here are some important points for educators to keep in mind as they do: