Belen High School implements plan to address youth vaping | KOB 4
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Belen High School implements plan to address youth vaping

Megan Abundis
Updated: November 08, 2019 10:15 PM
Created: November 08, 2019 08:15 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- Belen High School has a plan to address youth vaping. 

“We're tired of suspending kids,” said Lawrence Sanchez, Belen High School Principal.

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Sanchez said suspensions due to vaping are six-times higher than any other type of school discipline.

In twelve weeks, 40 students were suspended for vaping.

In an effort to fight back against vaping, the school has joined police and juvenile corrections officers to come up with a new way tackle the problem.

Now, if a student is caught vaping, Belen police is called and a report is made.

“They do not have a police record, they are not arrested,” Sanchez said. “That piece of a paper is a ticket into the program where they receive counseling services, drug counseling and substance abuse work"

Students are also subject to mandatory drug testing, up to three times a week.

 “We know that we can't change habits overnight,” he said.

It's informal; there is no adjudication and no police record attached to the program. The hope is to find a root cause of what's attracting teens to the dangerous habit.

“It may be problems at home, self-esteem issues, numerous issues and they are self-medicating is what they are doing,” he said. “When they use it, it makes them feel better and that's not the way to do it.”

Students are often caught vaping both nicotine and THC.

Some students are in Drug Court as a result of the program.

Program details:

  • Clinical assessment
  • No adjudication/informal – (regular track, formal probation term)
  • Duration-normally this program can be completed in 3 months-7.5 months. (depending on progress in program by the student)
  • Services included-YSS Youth Support Services (YDI) Substance abuse group carious weekend programs with Santa Fe Mountain Center, Popejoy Hall. Additional potential services -7 challenges substance abuse group counseling, individual counseling, family counseling.
  • Urine Analysis-random selection up to 3 times weekly at the courthouse


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