It’s a community approach, that’s has
led to a 1.3 percent decrease in drug use in Cabell County Schools last year. It’s
the third straight year in the four year program that the random drug-testing
produced results showing a decrease. The assistant administrator for secondary
schools, Todd Alexander, said it’s encouraging to see that the program seems to
be a deterrent.
“It’s a positive sign and one of the
things that was new this year was that we didn’t see any repeat offenders. In
the policy if you test positive, we test you every so often automatically after
that and in the past we’ve had issues with kids trying to stay clean after an
initial test and that wasn’t an issue this year,” Alexander said.
Seven individual students tested
positive last school year, including one in middle school. The positive test at
the middle school was only the second in three years of testing at that level,
which started one year after high school testing began. Alexander said the
testing has become a community approach that includes the work local police do
to prevent drug use and crime.
“I think that everything fits together
like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle and I think that the Huntington Police
Department on this end of the county has done a great job of getting things
cleaned up and when it’s not available out on the streets then our kids aren’t
going to be using it,” Alexander said.
Students subjected to the random testing
include those who participate in a school-sponsored sport or extracurricular
activity, those who wish to park on campus or those whose parents opt them in.
Alexander said it’s the random part of the testing that they’re looking to
improve upon to make sure that students are not figuring out ways to outsmart
“Number one, we’re going to look at being
smarter about the testing issues and making sure that it’s not predictable and
that it is a good drug testing program. And the second thing we need to look at
is how do we measure the effectiveness of this,” Alexander said.
About 1300 students from Cabell
Midland High, Huntington High and five middle schools were in the program.
About 500 were randomly tested last year. Jedd Flowers is the Director of Communications
for Cabell County Schools.
“Our drug issue is a community-wide
issue here and so all the different divisions and agencies are working together
trying to make this happen and drug testing is just part of that effort. We
work with the United Way and the Police Department and all the other emergency
responders in trying to address the issue in multiple aspects,” Flowers said.
Of the seven students who tested
positive, six showed signs of marijuana use and one for amphetamines and
opiates. Alexander and Flowers said marijuana has been the most common drug
found since the program started and that is in line with national drug testing
“The Cabell County substance abuse
partnership, they are actually doing a lot of prevention messages with our
students. They do billboards and television commercials and they send us
newsletters that we share with the kids and we share our Pride Survey with
United Way and they look at it and see what the needs are of the kids in the
community,” Flowers said.
The first year of the program in
2008-2009 nearly six percent of the students tested showed positive results.