An article in The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports that the ranks of school drug and alcohol counselors are thinning in Minnesota as grant funding to pay for these positions declines. The article states that some school administrators view drug and alcohol programs as luxuries that they can no longer afford.
This is not a problem unique to Minnesota -- it is true in our community, as well. This school year, Nathan Hale High School has one drug and alcohol counselor for 1.5 days per week (he splits his time between 3 Seattle high schools) and Roosevelt High School has none. Next year, Hale may also have none. Considering the size of these schools (more than 1,000 students at Hale and 1,600 at Roosevelt) and the high underage drinking and marijuana use rates, many students are not getting the help that they need.
Fortunately, Eckstein Middle School, in partnership with Seattle Children's Hospital, has a full time mental health specialist thanks to a grant from King County. The mental health specialist provides students and families with substance abuse prevention and intervention services.