Drug Testing News Substance Abuse

Kids Using Bath Salts to Get High

An NBC news report from Collier County, Florida, states that kids and teens are increasingly search for legal substances that will produce the same “high” effect as drugs. County officials assert that teens are smoking, snorting or injecting bath salts. These salts are commonly found in grocery and beauty specialty stores, and are appropriately used in bathwater to soothe the skin and give the body a light fragrance.

Emily Castillo with the David Lawrence Center in Florida expressed concern that these products are so easy for children to buy. “I think the scary part of it is that they’re labeling it as something as simple as bath salts,” she states. Other drug advocates also confirm that bath salt abuse has increased from 2010 to January of 2011, when the NBC report was conducted. Although bath salt addiction is a fairly new problem in Southwest Florida, where Collier County is located, there have already been deaths reported from the abuse of bath salts in the states of Louisiana and Kansas. Young people overseas have also lost their lives from snorting or injecting bath salts.

Maribel Dearmas with Drug Free Collier states that one reason bath salts are so dangerous is that the substance provides an extreme high, followed by a drastic low. Dearmas asserts that bath salt addiction can also cause insomnia, seizures and paranoia.

Because of the danger of bath salts, some states are seriously considering banning bath salts from their stores. However, as of now, parents are encouraged to be on the lookout. Castillo asserts that parents should have an open conversation with their children about bath salts, and warn them to stay away from the substances unless they are using them as instructed. The salts can lead to the use of other drugs, which can be even more dangerous.


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Welfare Drug Testing Bill Passes Only To Withdrawn

In the state of Indiana one of the original supporters of the bill for drug testing welfare applicants, Rep. Jud McMillin has now withdrawn the bill after it had passed. Before it was passed one of his Democratic companions included that lawmakers submit a drug test as well.

Rep McMillin is quoted as having said, “here was an amendment offered today that required drug testing for legislators as well and it passed, which led me to have to then withdraw the bill.”

Although he has intentions of re-introducing the bill. He temporarily withdrew it, due to arguable constitutional issues. He plans on introducing an option for people to opt out of random drug testing. If an applicants chooses to opt out of random drug testing, they would then only be tested if “reasonable suspicion” is witnessed. He defines reasonable suspicion by a person’s attitude, being found guilty for a crime and also by missing mandatory appointments at the welfare office.

The Indiana State Rep. Ryan Dvorak who proposed lawmakers should also submit drug tests is quoted as saying: “After it passed, Rep. McMillin got pretty upset and pulled his bill. If anything, I think it points out some of the hypocrisy…If we’re going to impose standards on drug testing, then it should apply to everybody who receives government money.”

McMillin was noted as saying he had no problem submitting a drug test and when he returns the new bill, lawmaker drug testing will be included. “I would think legislators that are here who are responsible for the people who voted them in, they should be more than happy to consent,” he said. “Give me the cup right now and I will be happy to take the test.”

Within the last year Republican lawmakers have proposed drug testing for welfare applicants in over 30 states.

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College Prep School Celebrates Five Years of Drug Testing

Christian Brothers College High School is celebrating five years of mandatory drug testing this school year. Within these five years over 5,000 drug test were given and only a total of eight students had to withdraw from this college prep school. Jane Eschmann, the schools assistant principal and administrator stated, “We think that’s a pretty phenomenal number”.

Before students begin attending the school they are informed (along with their parents) that mandatory drug testing will occur throughout the school year. This year 860 hair drug tests were given to students within the first semester. During the second semester 25 to 33 percent of students will be given random drug tests. Since the school began this procedure five years ago, there has never been a student who has refused the test.

The drug tests can detect uses of marijuana, methamphetamines, cocaine, PCP, heroin, opiates and ecstasy. A sample of hair is collected, usually 1.5 inches long from the students. The method of testing samples of hair is beneficial due to being able to detect whether drug use is occasional or used heavily. It can also provide and approximation of when a drug was last used. It is estimated that for a half inch of hair the test can detect 30 days of drug use.

If a student shaves their head or for other reasons, unable to provide a sample of hair from the top of their head a sample of hair can be taken off other parts of the body, such as legs or arms.

“The only drug we have seen this year is marijuana, and, of the nine positive tests this year, five were seniors and four were juniors with all freshmen and sophomores testing drug-free,” Eschmann said.

Mike England has been the schools president for 23 years and said drug testing “has been one of the most positive things that’s ever happened to our school.”.


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Missouri High School May Get Updated Drug Testing Policies

Chris Redmon, the principal at Cassville High School in Missouri, wants to change the way the school performs drug tests. He has presented a new drug testing policy to the school board in hopes to keep up with the latest drug trends. The most abused drugs of teenagers is now prescription medicine, which the schools current drug tests are unable to detect.

Currently the school district drug testing policy is to conduct 15 to 20 tests annually. One teacher, five middle school students and 15 high school students are randomly selected to take a drug test. Redmon is proposing to increase the number of tests to 16 to 20 a year.

The school presently uses a four panel drug test, which includes testing for cocaine, marijuana, opiates, amphetamine and methamphetamine. Redmon would like the school to start using a 12 panel drug test which is capable of detecting phyncyclidine (PCP), benzodizepines (Valium/Xanax), barbiturates, oxycodone, methadone, propoxphene and also all the substances the four panel test can detect.

Redmon has also proposed to educate the students with a guest speaker and to have additional screening for synthetic drugs.

Although he admits the additional screening is pricey he feels that it could help save a students life, due to the increasing harmful effects synthetic drugs produce.

Currently the schools spends $5, 460 a year. This new proposed will cost 11,310 creating a increased price of $5,850.

Currently 85 percent of the Cassville High School students participate in the drug testing program. Any student who is active in extracurricular activities are required to take part, plus there are also students whose parents volunteered them into the program.

A first offense results in suspension from part of contests or activities the student is involved in. They can reduce the time of suspension by seeking five hours of drug and alcohol abuse counseling. A second offense will produce a one year suspension from all competitive competitions. The student will be able to reduce this time by seeking a minimum of 15 hours of drug abuse counseling.

If a third positive drug tests occurs the student will be permanently suspended from all competitive activities for the reminder of their high school career.

The school board is currently reviewing this proposed drug testing policy.



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Newt Gingrich Suggests Drug Testing All Recipients of Government Aide

This week Republican candidate Newt Gingrich suggested that the federal government drug test recipients of government aide. Gingrich spoke to Yahoo’s Chris Moody, stating that “It could be through testing before you get any kind of federal aid. Unemployment compensation, food stamps, you name it.”

He also recommended that by ending government benefits to drug abusers, would benefit them more efficiently than placing these people in jail. “It has always struck me that if you’re serious about trying to stop drug use, then you need to find a way to have a fairly easy approach to it and you need to find a way to be pretty aggressive about insisting — I don’t think actually locking up users is a very good thing,” he said. “I think finding ways to sanction them and to give them medical help and to get them to detox is a more logical long-term policy.”

This idea for drug testing recipients of welfare has been a popular trend lately. It began in Florida this summer when that state began the drug testing program. Recipients had to pass a urine drug test to prove that they were drug free. Although the program has now been on hold since November when a federal judge stopped it, due to a lawsuit from a 35 year old single father, who felt it violated his constitutional rights.

During this drug testing period in Florida 2.5 percent of applicants failed the mandatory drug test, which is actually a lower rate than what the general population tested for. If a failed drug test occurs the applicant has to pay for the drug test while applicants who pass are reimbursed for the test. This could be a waste of money since such a low percent of applicants have not been able to pass it. Therefore the state of Florida is spending more money for passed drug tests.



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Illinois Parents Upset About Student Drug Testing

The parents of students at Lake Zurich High School in Illinois have been in a year long struggle over a proposed drug testing plan. Lake Zurich High School proposed random drug testing to occur for students who participate in extracurricular activities and drive a car to school. If a positive drug test was found, that student would be suspended from their extracurricular activities.

District 95 is expected to reject the drug testing proposal, because so many parents have complained that they are against it. A recent survey showed that seventy-six percent of the parents disagreed with the drug testing proposal.

The drug testing proposal upset a lot of parents, because they felt that they’re parental responsibilities were being taken away from them. They also felt that it was unfair to only drug test these particular students who were involved in activities. Board member Michael Finn who showed concern for these parents stated, “It’s our job to educate, it’s the police’s job to police. It’s the parents’ job to parent.”

Finn also stated that he’s pleased that these residents will have closure. “It will end a chapter and allow us to focus on what needs to get done next,” said Finn, who had been critical of the proposal.

Many of the parents who spoke against the plan said it infringed on their parental responsibilities. Others voiced concerns about privacy, and some opposed the plan because it singled out students in extracurricular programs and were worried about their children’s privacy.

Board member, Tony Pietro who at first supported random drug testing, has now changed his mind stating that he “sees now that it isn’t a good idea.” Pietro was involved in the months of discussions and was shown the results of the most recent survey.

Doug Goldberg a board member for the District 95 said that although these drug testing may not be right for this community, the effort got people talking about teen drug use.


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New Drug Testing Policy for Cumberland School Students

For the next school year starting 2012-2013, Cumberland County Schools in Tennessee will be implementing a new drug testing policy. Last month the Cumberland County Board of Education voted on the policy, however state laws do prohibit the act of disciplining the students who provide positive drug tests.

Members of the board are concerned on whether or not drug testing will then be beneficial and effective.

The school system has a drug free policy already in affect that allows students to be tested upon suspicion of drug or alcohol use. The schools are allowed to search lockers, vehicles or students who are found with evidence of the present use of drugs and/or alcohol.

Under the drug free policy a student may choose not to take the drug test, which would then result in suspension from school and a hearing with the disciplinary authority.

If a negative test is produce, all paperwork, evidence and any other reasons will be destroyed.

A positive drug tests results in limited disciplinary action. A written notification of the positive test results are mailed to the parents and the student. They also have referral information for seeking outside help, such as treatment programs.

The 2nd District representative, Richard Janeway, said, “This isn’t an ‘I gotcha,’ but if we can get to someone in the early stages, we can get them help to get better.”

Under this new drug testing policy any students under the influence at school, on the buses, or any student away from the school who is participating in school-sponsored activities can be disciplined under the systems drug free policy. Also random drug testing will occur between all students who are involved with extracurricular activities.

The school board has decided to implement the drug testing for next year due to organizing budget costs for the drug tests.


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Georgia Lawmakers Introduce Controversial Drug Testing Policy

Lawmakers in the state of Georgia will be introducing a controversial policy to start drug testing welfare recipients. This controversial drug testing policy began earlier this year in Florida and has spread nationwide. Currently in Florida the policy has been put on hold temporarily due to possibly violating the Fourth Amendment on unreasonable search and seizure.

Although the controversial aspect of this policy does not seem to bother two Georgia lawmakers, Rep. Jason Spencer, R-Woodbine, and Sen. John Albers, R-Roswell. They plan to introduce this policy into legislation, where in order to obtain welfare benefits a person must pass a drug test first.

This bill would apply only to people who are collecting welfare through the TANF (Temporarily Assistance for Needy Families) agency. According the the U.S. Census Bureau 50,000 people in Georgia receive this assistance, in which they are paid cash for up to five years over their lifetimes.


In a news release Spencer stated that, Georgia taxpayers have a vested interest in making sure that their hard-earned tax dollars are not being used to subsidize drug addiction. In these tough economic times, it is easy to understand that many deserving families need some temporary help until they can bounce back financially — that’s why we have public assistance programs like TANF. This additional eligibility requirement will simply ensure that those funds are used for that intended purpose.”

Those receiving food stamps or other public assistance will not apply.

Under Spencer’s bill, a failed drug test will result in being ineligible for TANF for a month. If after that month a second failed drug test occurs they will be ineligible for a total of three months. An applicant will then be given a third chance, and if failed they will be banned from the program for a total of three years.

This policy will not affect children, who are excused from taking the required drug test. Even if their parent fails a drug test, the child will still get their amount of money.


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MLB Drug Test for Human Growth Hormones

Next spring Major League Baseball will begin drug testing for the human growth hormone. During spring training every player will submit a blood test for hormones. During the actual season testing will come to a halt, and then will be resumed after the season.

The drug testing schedule is organized in this manner because the union wants to be sure testing is not conflicting with the player’s health. Unlike other athletes MLB players play almost every day for seven months. Therefore during this first year the testing will be confined in order to proceed cautiously.

It has been proven difficult to detect the human growth hormone, but baseball has decided to give it a try. Numerous baseball players such as Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte have been linked to H.G.H. Experts say that a player can recover quickly and build muscle mass, but a prescription is needed for anyone taking H.G.H. The MLB will be the first sports organization to require such a test.

In previous years baseball players have undergone urine drug testing for steroids. Blood testing is now a new procedure, and the players will have to adjust their schedules by giving blood before or after games.

The testing of MLB samples supplied from over 1,200 players will outnumber the H.G.H. testing conducted by the World Anti-Doping Agency, which oversees Olympic athletes. In 2010 WADA conducted 3,425 tests on tens of thousands of athletes.

If the baseball players test positive for H.G.H. during the spring season or in the off season they will be suspended for 50 games. The MLB is introducing H.G.H. testing similar to how they introduced steroid testing. In 2003 the players were anonymously tested. Penalty testing began a year later, and in 2005 the players faced suspension for a positive drug test.



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Eleven NFL Players Face Discipline for Positive Drug Tests

Eleven NFL players are facing serious consequences for testing positive for drugs, according to a Yahoo! Sports news article. The NFL players were promised by DeMaurice Smith, the NFL Players’ Association Executive Director that for 30 days after the summer’s lockout there would be no drug testing. Unfortunately, he gave the players wrong information, because drug testing occurred on the second day of the NFL’s training camp.

Many within the organization are not surprised at these players failed drug tests. It is well known within the industry that professional athletes are prone to drug abuse during their off seasons.

The players who tested positive include the Redskins tight end Fred Davis and offensive tackle Trent Williams. It is unclear who, but one of the eleven players had previously tested positive, therefore this is his second offense and is facing suspension. The other players will be able to play and will only face being fined.

Regarding this incident a player rep is quoted as saying:

“I told De that this was a concern of a number of players after the lockout ended and he said, ‘I got you covered,’ ” one of the player reps said. “I went back and told the players, ‘Look, whatever it is you’ve been doing, you need to stop and be ready, but that we would probably have a 30-day grace period before the league started testing.

“Then we get to camp and [the league is] testing us on Day 2. Guys are looking at me like I don’t know what I’m talking about. It was embarrassing. I called the union and I was told there were a lot of things that fell through the cracks at the last minute.”

George Atallah, the spokesman for NFLPA has refrained to comment on this drug testing issue.