Pubdate: Thu, 16 May 2013
Source: Register-Herald, The (Beckley, WV)
Copyright: 2013 The Register-Herald


One of the biggest factors looming over our area is drug abuse.

It threatens every community in southern West Virginia. It seems no 
neighborhood is immune to the ills of drugs.

That's why we support the effort that Raleigh County Schools is 
attempting to help prevent abuse among its students.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, drug abuse and 
addiction cost taxpayers nearly $534 billion each year in preventable 
health care, law enforcement, crime and other costs in the United 
States. The organization goes on to say the assessment is 
"preventable: The best approach to reducing the tremendous toll 
substance abuse exacts from individuals, families and communities is 
to prevent the damage before it occurs."

That's what a random drug testing program in public secondary schools 
could help do in Raleigh County: Prevent children from getting hooked 
on drugs and going down a path of destruction.

The proposed policy is currently up for a 30-day comment period as of 
Tuesday's monthly board of education meeting, and it merits review.

As always, we hope that folks get involved, educate themselves and 
let their voice be heard in this critical matter.

The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia 
University states that there are "10 questions every parent should 
ask their child's school," in regard to how it addresses drugs and alcohol:

1. What does the school do to keep tobacco, alcohol and drugs off 
school premises?

2. What education and prevention programs are offered to children in 
what grades -- is it enough to make a difference?

3. Are teachers and other staff trained to spot signs of drug abuse 
and know how to respond?

4. Are teachers and other staff aware of circumstances that place 
children at higher risk of substance abuse, such as learning 
disabilities, discipline problems, eating disorders, depression and 
anxiety, and frequent mobility from school to school? If so, does the 
school intervene early?

5. What does the school do if it suspects a child may be smoking, 
drinking or using drugs? Does the school tell the child's parents?

6. Does the school screen or test for substance use? If so, under 
what circumstances?

7. If a substance abuse problem is identified in a child, what help 
does the school provide -- either directly or by referral?

8. What action does the school take if a child is caught possessing 
or using alcohol, cigarettes or drugs -- or selling drugs?

9. Does the school engage parents, students and community 
organizations in substance abuse prevention?

10. What are the substance use policies for teachers and other school staff?

We feel that if the policy helps curtail the drug scourge, it's worth a try.

It's not just a punishment-seeking idea. The consequences for a 
positive drug test include drug counseling.

This policy alone won't end drug abuse in our area. The above 
questions could be equal parts of the equation.

Shouldn't we do all we can, taking on all of the necessary measures, 
in this fight to rescue our region from a plague that threatens our 
very future?

We feel that testing is a part of the bigger picture in giving our 
children a step in the right direction -- and one more motivation to 
say 'No' to drugs.

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To review the policy, go to the Raleigh County Schools website at

Look for the link titled "Revised Policy D.2.11 on additional 30-day 
comment" under the News category.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom