Pubdate: Mon, 06 Feb 2006
Source: Citizens' Voice, The (Wilkes-Barre, PA)
Copyright: 2006 The Citizens' Voice
Author: Heidi E. Ruckno, Staff Writer
Bookmark: (Drug Test)
Bookmark: (Youth)


As a general rule, the earlier a problem is detected the easier it is to solve.

That's why Nanticoke police are trying something different when it 
comes to solving the city's drug problem. Officers will hand out free 
home drug testing kits to anyone who asks.

"They were anonymously donated to us and a person had asked if we 
would anonymously distribute them to any parent who thought their 
children had a problem with drugs," Nanticoke Police Sgt. Kevin 
Grevera said. Approximately 100 are available, and anyone who wants 
one can pick it up at Nanticoke Police Headquarters, 15 E. Ridge St.

The kits, which can be sold at retail stores for approximately $25, 
can detect the presence of amphetamines, cocaine, opiates, marijuana, 
PCP and tranquilizers such as Valium in a urine sample, but they are 
not sophisticated enough to detect the amount of drugs in one's system.

The department has no interest in the results, Grevera said. The 
police are not looking for people to prosecute; they are offering 
them solely as a community service, he said. In fact, officers will 
not allow any testing to be done at the police station.

As far as Grevera knows, Nanticoke is the only municipality to offer 
free drug testing kits. The theory behind it, he said, is to put a 
dent in the drug problem before users resort to violent crime.

"It all stems back to the philosophy that if you cut off the head the 
body dies," he said.

The kits are fairly easy to use, but if someone runs into trouble 
interpreting the results all he or she has to do is call a local 
pharmacy. Tony Dougalas, head pharmacist at the Medicine Shoppe, 69 
Market St., has offered to help read the test results. He said anyone 
with questions can stop into the pharmacy, or call him at 735-5114.

Dougalas, like other members of the community, thinks the test kits will help.

Also on board with the program is Greater Nanticoke Area 
Superintendent Anthony Perrone, even though the school district is 
not directly involved,

"I can't second-guess the Nanticoke police because I tell you, they 
have been tremendous with this," he said referring to the 
department's aggressive approach to fighting the drug problem. "They 
are a resource for the schools."

Perrone thinks the first step to solving a problem is accepting that 
there is a problem. He admits students in Nanticoke schools have had 
their share of substance abuse problems, but in his opinion the 
district is getting a handle on it.

"In Nanticoke there's a lot of reach-out places," he said.

Students in crisis work with school counselors as well as outside 
agencies, according to Perrone.
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