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According to a 2002 survey conducted under the auspices of NIH, ecstasy abuse among college and university students in general is a widespread trend that impedes academic performance (Bar-on, 2002). The NIH survey targeted 66 4-year American universities and colleges alike. The projected findings indicated a diminishing trend in undergraduate academic performance amongst students who indulge in binge drinking and abuse ecstasy in the process. Elsewhere, a Harvard College drug study indicated persistent drug users were more likely to miss lectures and delay in their coursework than the average student (Montgomery & Fisk, 2008).
A parallel IP Research dubbed "Predictors of academic achievement and retention among college freshmen" projected that while certain students manage to cope with the new life role upon entering college, a good number of students flunk out of college before completing their freshman year. According to this research, 75% of the freshman drop out is related to alcohol and drug abuse (Bar-on, 2002). It is increasingly difficult to draw the line between alcohol abuse and drug abuse amongst college freshmen because many of them combine both alcohol and drugs making it virtually impossible to distinguish the exclusive effect of one from those of the other. The unanimous consensus is that both drug and alcohol abuse leads to deteriorating academic performance.
See, Feel, Change
In light of the concerns regarding excessive consumption of ecstasy amongst ravers, there is a growing need for a sound change regime that would produce behavioral transformation amongst culprits. With respect to the rising concerns about high consumption of ecstasy at raves, the goal is to create a nonprofit organization to help deal with the problem. The organization identified as Responsible Ravers will focus more on ravers in California. The primary objective for creating the organization is to provide authentic, unbiased information highlighting the dangers of excessive consumption of ecstasy. Responsible Ravers will focus on reducing the number of people overdosing at raves by urging them to make better decisions and stay safe and healthy.
In an attempt to effect change, Responsible Ravers will adopt the eight step methodology of see-feel-change model as articulated by Cohen and Kotter in the Heart of Change Real: Life Stories of How People Change Their Organizations.
Creating a Sense of Urgency
The first step, in the see, feel, change methodology as mentioned earlier is to create a sense of urgency. Creating a sense of urgency is all about perception, attitude and willpower. Once people are properly motivated, they develop the willpower to be the drivers of change (Kotter & Cohen, 2002). During this phase, Responsible Ravers ought to invest heavily in widespread campaigning on the dangers of ecstasy abuse, which would be the Responsible Ravers mantra. The goal here is to insist that things are at a homestretch; if people fail to act without hesitation, the situation could only get worse. This phase involves sensitizing ravers about the adverse effects of consuming ecstasy by providing facts about the drug. Some of the most plausible means of sensitizing the public would be through social media. Social media has recently become more effective that he mainstream media as a means of disseminating information since it traverses a vast cross-section of people. The younger generations have turned to Facebook, Twitter and You Tube as part of their day-to-day social interactions. This, in turn, transforms social media into a very effective tool of propagating change. Responsible Ravers ought to invest heavily on social media. Ravers ought to beware of the dangers of consuming MDMA so that they can develop the willpower to change their attitude towards the drug. Civic education is very vital in this stage; culprits need to know what they are exposing themselves to while indulging in this deadly habit. For instance, according to studies conducted under the auspices of the American Medical Association, MDMA causes a surge of serotonin, which depletes the brain capacity to concentrate and think rationally. Some of the adverse effects of MDMA include depression, confusion, lack of sleep (apnea), anxiety, and pathological craving for drug consumption. These side effects may occur immediately after consuming the drug or later on as the culprit continually abuses the drug. The study also indicated that some heavy ecstasy users may experience lifelong sleep abnormalities, confusion, despair, problems with memory, and attention deficit disorders although it is likely that some of these side effects result from the combination of ecstasy, alcohol abuse and consumption of other hard drugs such as marijuana, cocaine and heroin.
The underlying principle behind creating a sense of urgency is to sensitize drug users on the dangers of ecstasy. Once they are aware of the dangers, they need to understand that reducing intake - if not quitting in entirety - is a matter of life and death (Kotter & Cohen, 2002).
Building a Guiding Team
The rationale behind the formation of Responsible Ravers, once again, is to provide organized and unbiased information that sheds light on the dangers of ecstasy abuse to help ravers make better decisions and stay safe and healthy. This is the organizational mantra based on the consideration that the biggest problem with ravers who abuse ecstasy is ignorance of what they are putting themselves into; some are unaware of the real dangers of the drug.
After creating a sense of urgency, the next step involves putting together a formidable team to guide change within the organization. The major function of this team is to bring about behavioral change through attitude adjustment (Kotter & Cohen, 2002). Under proper leadership, a formidable guiding team can mobilize young people to become ravers who are more responsible. The way to achieve this is by making it seem more fashionable not to indulge in drug use since some of the culprits engage in drug abuse under the impression that it is a fashionable trend.
To achieve the mantra of Responsible Ravers, therefore, a select committee of individuals would be very helpful in effecting such a campaign. The leader of the select committee should be authoritative and charismatic in a way that they can communicate the urgency of change effectively without prejudice. Only a charismatic, transformational and authoritative leader would lead the team towards the path of change. A formidable team, on the other hand, helps team members brainstorm the issue at hand, in this case, how to reduce the number of ravers overdosing on MDMA. In light of this concern, the team will formulate a plan along with the appropriate mechanism to help deal with the problem. With the realization that teamwork thrives through collective participation, the underlying principle of Responsible Ravers will be to ensure everybody feels that they are part of team. Once people feel that they are on the same page with others, it becomes easy to work towards a common objective. The Responsible Ravers guiding team will have to invest heavily in social media since people nowadays tend to pay much attention to popular social networking sites. When it is coming from Facebook or Twitter, they are more likely to listen; otherwise, they simply would not care.
Getting the Vision Right
After putting in place a formidable team of experts to lead change, the next milestone for Responsible Ravers would be to create simple and articulate uplifting visions (Kotter & Cohen, 2002). Ecstasy is an extremely addictive drug; studies from the National Institute on Drug Abuse indicate that an estimated 43% of those who consume it meet the criteria for MDMA dependence. Those who use the drug often experience severe withdrawal symptoms once they try to quit. This, in turn, makes quitting ecstasy an extremely difficult experience; some of the withdrawal symptoms include panic attacks, delusions of grandeur, lack of sleep (apnea) and attention deficit disorders.
The vision is to empower ecstasy users to quit -- or at least minimize -- their drug intake. To achieve this vision, treatment solutions are recommended. The goal is to empower drug users to stay clean with the help of the proper rehabilitation program. The advantage of drug rehab is that it offers medically supervised detox, which eases and eliminates the difficulty of quitting ecstasy with minimal withdrawal symptoms. While setting the vision right, it is important to emphasize the essence of group counseling. The goal of group counseling is to aid recovering ecstasy addicts from relapsing while helping others participate in intensive therapy in bid to establish the root causes of their addiction. Upon setting the vision straight, it becomes easier to focus on actualizing the objectives (Kotter & Cohen, 2002).
Communicating the Vision
Getting the vision right is just the first step. Communicating the vision through motivational, heart-felt messages is the only way towards realization of the visions. According to Kotter and Cohen, successful change efforts involve communicating the vision so that many people begin to buy in the need for change. The objective is to get as many people as possible acting towards transforming the vision into reality (Kotter & Cohen, 2002). As for Responsible Ravers, the vision is to empower…[continue]
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