Weed users referred to school version of rehab

Instead of ignoring a student who comes to school smelling like weed, Fremont Federation of High Schools is now making stronger efforts to get that student help if it turns out he or she actually is using marijuana.

Fremont is offering students who are suffering from marijuana abuse a program called Tobacco Use Prevention Education (TUPE), which is similar to rehab, school officials explained.

When a an administrator finds a student indeed has been using any illegal substance, the student is suspended and referred to TUPE.

According to Sarah Mazzotta, vice principal of Media Academy, too many people are smoking illegal substances or using drugs on school grounds.

All smoking and illegal drug use is against school policies.

“We are working towards transforming the school,” said Mazzotta. “It doesn’t send a positive message when people drive by and see students smoking on the field. Students deserve a smoke free environment.”

During the fourth week of school, for example, Mazzotta referred three students to TUPE.

Besides being concerned about the image of the school, school and health officials are also concerned about what teenagers are doing to their health when they use drugs and alcohol.

“It kills the brain cells and the ingredient in marijuana is THC,” said Katie Riemer, health educator of the Tiger Clinic. “It affects the nerve cells that affect the memory.”

Riemer noted that there are “more than 400 chemicals in marijuana. A single joint has more cancer causing tar than one cigarette.”