Drug testing: Here. There. Everywhere.

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Drug testing: Here. There. Everywhere.

Postby Midnight toker » Thu Jun 15, 2006 4:47 pm

<img src=bin/spacer.gif width=450 height=0>
Mubai Mirror wrote:<img class=postimg src=bin/india_toker.jpg align=right>Piss Pot Test

BPOs hire de-addiction experts to start checking urine samples of employees for traces of drugs

Mubai Mirror
Anand Birai and Roli Srivastava
MUMBAI, Friday, June 16, 2006


BPOs in Mumbai and Hyderabad have added a new test to the battery of medical examinations new recruits have to go through - a drug addiction test.

With instances of substance abuse on the rise among IT-BPO employees and the same becoming a concern with the industry's bread-and-butter overseas clients, several Mumbai-based units are enlisting the services of de-addiction centres to screen existing employees and have made the dope test compulsory for new recruits. Some companies are also asking de-addiction experts to conduct surprise checks in their offices.

Basically this entails a urine test wherein the sample of a prospective candidate is tested for any contraband residue.

BPOs resorted to this when doping began to affect business directly. A large multinational BPO unit in Hyderabad recently lost a big client because of a goof-up by an employee, who, it was later learnt, was on drugs. The company has since sought the help of de-addiction centre, Hope Trust, to screen prospective employees.

In Mumbai too "some employees were fired by a known call centre at Mind Space, Malad, just a few days back when they were caught doping," reveals a BPO employee, Mumbai Mirror spoke to. Drug abuse, he said, is common across call centres.

"Several BPOs have contacted us to deal with drug abuse among their employees," says Dr Kartik Rao, psychiatrist, Seva-Gandhi Ashram Drug De-addiction Centre in Andheri. "Every month we have 10-15 youngsters in the 18-25 age group walking in for help," he added.

Mark Lewitt, vice-president, Godrej Upstream, said drug tests are a norm in the US and a lot of IT-BPO units have to introduce such tests because they will be forced to by their clients. "Drug-tests are a very normal practice in the US. And hence, to follow the protocol, their Indian counterparts would also be following the same practice," he said and added that he is aware of some companies that run helplines for employees to counsel them on drinking problems, doping and other work related issues.

Several BPO employees Mumbai Mirror spoke with said drugs are a stress buster for them. One such drug user said most of his friends carry marijuana 'joints' to work in their regular cigarette packs. "They smoke when they take breaks from their monotonous job," he said, adding that despite the fact that marijuana is a "downer" (unlike a stimulant, it lulls you) people consume it as "then they are completely stoned and can continue answering queries over the phone all night."

"In Hyderabad, the traditional opiates were alcohol and marijuana, and people in their 40s or late 30s would visit us when faced with the loss of jobs or a broken marriage. Now, the profile has changed to that of young BPO employee," Rahul Luther of the Hope Trust said.

De-addiction experts, however, emphasised that substance abuse is not a BPO or an IT industry-centric problem. "It's the problem of the youth. It has reached these industries because they recruit the youth," says Rajashwari, a de-addiction counsellor in Hyderabad.

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Mendon man at forefront of drug testing

Postby budman » Tue Jul 18, 2006 7:29 pm

:shocked: Hall monitors? The U.S. has become the Soviet Union.

The Quincy Herald-Whig wrote:July 18, 2006

Mendon man at forefront of drug testing

By Kelly Wilson
Herald-Whig Staff Writer

More employers are requiring drug testing of their workers, and that's keeping Terry Kuntz busy.

Kuntz, of Mendon, is among the first 100 people in the nation to become certified as a medical review officer assistant, and handles drug testing at Quincy Sports and Occupational Medicine.

"We have over 70 companies we work with," Kuntz said, and estimates he oversees about 30 drug tests a day.

A medical review officer assistant works under the supervision of a medical review officer, a physician in charge of the drug testing process. In Kuntz's case, it's Dr. Jim Daniels.

Because it's become more difficult for physicians to juggle the responsibilities of their medical practice and the medical review officer duties, an assistant like Kuntz can ease the burden by handling the bulk of the drug testing process.

"It's a very new thing," Kuntz says of the medical review officer assistant position. The national certification test just became available in March.

His certification assures the supervising physician, the employer requesting a drug test and the person being tested that the specific procedures are performed in a consistent, professional manner. It also ensures integrity and confidentiality throughout the drug testing process.

When a person comes in for a drug test, a photo identification is required and then the person must empty his or her pockets and wash his or her hands. The person goes into the restroom to provide a urine sample, and Kuntz says there are specific requirements about how the restroom is set up to ensure integrity of the test.

The collector then takes the temperature of the sample.

"Urine temperature within the first four minutes is between 90 and 100 degrees. If it's not, we're going to have to do investigating," Kuntz said.

If the temperature is OK, the specimen is poured into a shipping container, labeled, dated and initialed by the donor. The donor must fill out a chain of custody form, agreeing to the testing. The sample is then sealed, and the donor can wash his or her hands, collect belongings and leave the facility.

The samples are sent to a certified laboratory for testing and the results are sent back to Kuntz. He reviews the results, and sends any positive tests to the supervising physician.

"They do an interview with the donor, giving the donor a chance to explain why the test might be positive," Kuntz said. "Maybe they are a cancer patient having a prescription for marijuana. Perhaps they are on a narcotic that is prescribed."

The physician reports the findings to the employer.

"All of those safeguards are really there for the employee and the employer," Kuntz said of the detailed drug testing process.

The drug-testing movement began in 1986 when former President Ronald Reagan signed an executive order requiring all federal employees to refrain from using illegal drugs, on or off-duty, as a condition of federal employment.

Two years later, Congress passed the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988, which in turn spawned the creation of federal Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs.

Kuntz says in the 1990s, drug testing became more common on a broader scale.

According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, drug-using employees are 2.2 times more likely to request early dismissal or time off, 2.5 times more likely to have absences of eight days or more, three times more likely to be late for work, 3.6 times more likely to be involved in a workplace accident and five times more likely to file a workers' compensation claim.

"The programs are effective, and are needed," Kuntz said.

Kuntz, clinical services/marketing coordinator for Quincy Sports and Occupational Medicine, is a graduate of the Blessing Hospital School of Medical Laboratory Technicians, and holds a bachelor of science in education degree from Quincy University.


Contact Staff Writer Kelly Wilson

at kwilson@whig.com or (217) 221-3391
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Should teens be routinely screened?

Postby Midnight toker » Wed Jul 19, 2006 10:38 am

The Times Herald-Record wrote:July 19, 2006

Should teens be routinely screened?

The Times Herald-Record
By Eric Nagourney
New York Times News Service

Should teenagers who come to the emergency room with an injury be routinely screened for drug and alcohol use?

A new study argues that they should, reporting that when researchers looked at four years of pediatric trauma cases at one emergency room, they found that about 40 percent of the patients tested positive for drugs or alcohol. The study appears in the Journal of Pediatric Surgery.

"Adolescents are often characterized by risk-taking behavior," the researchers wrote, "and when alcohol or other substances are involved, the resulting combination can be, and is often, lethal."

The goal of the screening is to look for opportunities to offer effective counseling. The lead author of the study, Dr. Peter F. Ehrlich of the University of Michigan Medical School, said a patient who had just been injured was often more willing to accept help.

As a practical matter, the study said, many hospitals already screen a lot of their patients of all ages for drugs and alcohol to help make treatment decisions. But often, nothing else is done with the information.

At the hospital that the researchers studied, all injured adolescents were supposed to be screened. But in the period examined, fewer than 45 percent were.

The study found that 443 patients had been eligible to be screened, but that only 193 had been. Of these, 29 percent tested positive for opiates, 11 percent for alcohol and 20 percent for marijuana. Because marijuana lingers in the body a month, it was considered a sign of risky behavior rather than a direct link to the accidents.

The injuries were not limited to car crashes. Even teenagers in bicycle accidents were more likely to test positive, the study said.

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British drug-test program stirs debate

Postby budman » Fri Aug 04, 2006 10:28 am

The Houston Chronicle wrote:Aug. 2, 2006, 12:18PM

British drug-test program stirs debate

The Houston Chronicle
By SARAH BALL Associated Press Writer
© 2006 The Associated Press

<table class=posttable align=right width=300><tr><td class=postcell><img class=postimg src=bin/drug-test_swab.jpg></td></tr><tr><td class=postcap>A school pupil inserts two swabs into his mouth to obatin samples for drug testing at Abbey School in Faversham, England, Thursday, June 23, 2006. A British school has launched a pilot program where students as young as 11 are subjected to random drug tests, a project that has generated interest in Washington and fed a civil liberties debate on both sides of the Atlantic.</td></tr></table>FAVERSHAM, England — A British school has launched a pilot program where students as young as 11 are subjected to random drug tests _ a project that has generated interest in Washington and fed a civil liberties debate on both sides of the Atlantic.

The Abbey School in this southeastern market town is testing students by mouth swab for traces of heroin, cocaine and marijuana. Parents must give permission for the testing, and even then students can refuse.

Former headmaster Peter Walker, who started the program, gave up his school job to become Britain's official ambassador for drug testing. He recently went to Washington to give a presentation to John Walters, director of the White House drug policy office.

Since the program began in January 2005, only one out of nearly 600 students has tested positive for marijuana _ a record Walker attributes to students steering clear of drugs because of the tests.

"I've got nothing to hide," says Daniel Kelly, 14, who was plucked out of class to have his mouth swabbed and saliva tested for drugs. He doesn't mind the testing, saying that since it applies to most students: "It's not as if I'm the only one."

Critics say the tests violate students' privacy and could open the door to lawsuits. As the program expands, some say children will find their rights to object to the tests eroded.

Rights activists say drug testing in schools is another infringement on privacy in Britain, where closed-circuit television cameras are ubiquitous and lawmakers are debating identity cards that would store biometric data such as fingerprints or iris scans.

Liberty, one of Britain's largest civil rights groups, says testing could wrongly turn students into suspects if they refuse. The American Civil Liberties Union says the tests are imprecise and violate students' basic rights.

"Students have to reveal medical information that would explain why certain test results might come up _ the school is then in possession of private medical information," said Graham Boyd, an ACLU lawyer. "You could have teachers leaving it in a folder, open on a desk _ and it could include information about mental health or birth control prescriptions. That's nobody's business, and especially for someone who is an adolescent."

After planning for years, Walker persuaded a newspaper to fund the pilot project. Jenny James, the current Abbey headmaster, promises to continue the program.

This month, head teachers at just under 100 schools in the county of Kent will consider whether to implement drug testing. After that, the data will be evaluated by the national Department for Education and Skills and Kent's municipal government. Supporters say they will push to expand the program nationally if results show it has been a success.

Walker said 86 percent of the 960 children's parents have agreed to allow their children to be tested. Between 1 percent and 2 percent of parents refused; the others failed to turn in the forms.

Walker said four students initially refused to be tested; in three of those cases, the youths said they were unwilling because they had been at parties where marijuana had been smoked, but that they themselves hadn't smoked it.

"I told them it would be wise to be tested ... When they got their results, they were quite happy to see that they did not test positive," he said.

Students who refuse testing or test positive must take a counseling session; there is no disciplinary action. Students face punishment if they are caught dealing drugs, are found with drugs or are under the influence of drugs at school.

The White House drug czar says similar tests aren't far off in the United States. "This (drug testing) is a public health measure," Walters told The Associated Press.

Drug testing and the legal issues it raises have been hotly debated in the United States. Pennsylvania's Supreme Court, for example, has said the state constitution provided some limits on drug screening that targets student athletes, among others.

Others, like a high school outside of Abilene, Texas, are taking a tougher stance, implementing programs to test students who drive to school and park on school property. Students who take part in extracurricular activities are also subject to testing.

In Kent, where the Abbey School is located, schools will be able to decide over the next term whether they want similar programs. Prime Minister Tony Blair has said he supports drug testing and has endorsed Walker's efforts to expand it.

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Hair tests costlier, but more accurate

Postby palmspringsbum » Mon Aug 14, 2006 10:37 am

The Connecticut Post wrote:Article created: 08/14/2006 04:43:29 AM EDT

Hair tests costlier, but more accurate

Drug test focuses on scalp Hair analysis favored for long time horizon


MARIAN GAIL BROWN mgbrown@ctpost.com
The Connecticut Post


The type of hair-follicle analysis that Bridgeport Mayor John M. Fabrizi underwent this month is cutting into urine testing's turf as employers' favored way to screen workers for drug use.

Hair testing is more costly than urine testing, but advocates say it's more reliable, less invasive and reveals abuse over a much longer time horizon.

"We are actually having some preliminary discussions about making the switch from urine testing to hair-strand testing," said Noreen McNicholas, spokeswoman for St. Vincent's Medical Center in Bridgeport. "There's definitely interest in it."

Fabrizi underwent the testing earlier this month after the Connecticut Post took him up on an offer to undergo a random drug test, following Fabrizi's admission of cocaine use while in office. He initially took, and passed, a urine test in July. The Post then asked Fabrizi to submit to a hair-follicle test, which he also passed.

Urine testing remains standard for employee drug screening. It's cheap, quick and has more than 20 years of military research behind it, making it the test of choice for the federal government.

At a typical cost of $50, urinalysis can show if someone is on drugs or has used them within the past four or five days. Experts say urine tests are useful for random drug screening, a common practice in professions where safety is a concern.

But for an ever-expanding list of employers, from Fortune 500 companies to casinos to school systems and metropolitan police departments, hair-follicle testing is the standard for weeding drug users out of their work force.

A few strands can tell an employer whether a person has used cocaine, PCP, heroin or marijuana for months in the past.

Chemical traces of drugs remain in the hair long after they pass from the rest of the body. A half-inch strand can reveal drug use within a month; a 1-inch strand can provide a three-month picture.

And if employees are bald or wear their hair shaved to the skin, body hair can be used.

Hair follicle analysis costs significantly more than urine testing — typically $100 to $150 per test.

But toxicology experts, laboratories and federal government contractors say the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has proposed new rules, in the final state of revision, that are likely to make hair the prime specimen for drug testing.

"Hair testing is a highly, highly reliable way of testing for the presence of drugs when properly performed by a lab. It's quite precise. And it offers a wider window for detecting drug use than urine testing," said Dr. Bruce Goldberger, professor and director of toxicology at the University of Florida College of Medicine at Gainesville.

He said the new rules will increase employers' confidence in hair-follicle analysis, and will likely prod the federal government to rely on hair for its drug-screening requirements.

"[The rules] set the stage for ensuring that all laboratories handle hair specimens the same way," Goldberger said, even down to the procedures the lab must use to meet federal standards.

Goldberger is president-elect of the Academy of Forensic Sciences, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Analytical Toxicology and a former consultant to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

"With these new guidelines being promulgated," he said, "there will definitely be some movement that may take years, but a significant portion of federal testing will rely on hair."

It takes only 40 strands of hair, about an inch long, snipped from the back of the head to supply enough hair for testing, said Raymond Kubacki, president of Psychemedics Corp. in Boston. Psychemedics is the only lab in the country to win U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for all its hair testing.

"It's not invasive at all," Kubacki said, "and it's impossible to defeat, like a urine test.

"Anyone who goes on the Internet or who's been using drugs knows how to do that."

That's what the General Accounting Office learned in 2005 when it conducted an undercover investigation of products and strategies for defeating urine drug tests. Trawling the Internet and visiting businesses in and around Washington, D.C., GAO investigators found more than 400 widely available products for masking the presence of cocaine and marijuana. Some came with double-your-money-back guarantees if they didn't defeat the urine tests.

The products call into question the effectiveness of current drug-testing procedures, Robert Cramer, managing director of the GAO's Special Investigations unit, told a congressional subcommittee.

"The sheer number of these products and the ease with which they are marketed and distributed through the Internet present formidable obstacles to the integrity of the drug-testing process," he said.

Against the backdrop of such testing undermining products, Psychemedics focuses exclusively on conducting workplace testing for drugs using hair samples.

Its client list includes the Federal Reserve Bank, 250 school systems in 28 states, a number of Fortune 500 companies and dozens of major metropolitan police departments.

"Our testing in schools has proven to be a real deterrent to kids who may have thought about doing drugs," Kubacki said. "It's dissuaded a lot of them."

Hair testing is controversial, however.

Employees have challenged findings, claiming specimens were improperly handled, the tests were contaminated or the lab staff improperly interpreted the results. Some have claimed the tests picked up "second-hand" drugs that got in their hair when they were near others smoking an illegal drug.

But Kubacki said the testing procedure eliminates drug residue from the environment. "We put the hair through a rinse for four hours before it's tested," he said.

Ronald Ing, vice president at Gregory & Howe Inc., in Shelton, which manages urine drug testing programs for Connecticut businesses, said hair strand analysis might discriminate against long-haired employees.

A sample from someone with long hair may reveal past drug abuse that is no longer a problem. "If I was using drugs four months ago, it does not mean that I am a drug addict," he said.

MariAn Gail Brown, who covers regional issues, can be reached at 330-6288.

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Random drug testing to begin at Superior High

Postby budman » Sun Aug 20, 2006 2:21 pm

The Duluth News-Tribune wrote:Posted on Sun, Aug. 20, 2006
The Duluth News-Tribune

Random drug testing to begin at Superior High

TESTING:Atheletes, students with parking permits and others in co-curricular activities are subject to the tests.

BY RICK WEEGMAN
NEWS TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER



This fall, Superior High School becomes one of the few Wisconsin schools to implement random drug and alcohol testing for its athletes and other groups of students.

"It's really about changing the climate of our school," activities director Ray Kosey said. "We want the kids who are saying no to drugs and alcohol to be the majority.... the longer you can keep kids from using drugs, the less likely they are to get hooked on them. Hopefully down the road, it changes the climate of our community, too."

Athletes won't be the only ones subject to testing. All students involved in a co-curricular activity, such as debate or band, are included -- as are students who buy a school parking permit. A third test group is comprised of students who have volunteered for the tests and have pledged to not use drugs.

"If this goes off the way we hope, it's going to help," Superior principal Kent Bergum said. "This will help students make better decisions. Ultimately, it creates an environment in the school where they want to be."

Bergum cited recent surveys that show seniors didn't believe Superior has maintained a drug-free environment. Of those surveyed, 35.5 percent said the school's policy needed improvement and 29 percent said it was below average; 3.5 percent said the policy was excellent.

"For the last three years, our seniors, through their exit surveys, have been telling us that our school climate dealing with drugs needs to improve," Bergum said. "We're hearing from our students that this is a concern."

Testing will begin in mid-September or early October. Officials said between 10 and 15 students per week will be randomly chosen to submit a urine sample and take a Breathalyzer exam. Testing will be conducted by the school nurse, with the results examined by an independent lab, which is expected to report back within 24 hours.

Ten substances, including marijuana, methadone, amphetamines, barbiturates, cocaine and alcohol, will be tested for.

Steroids, banned by the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association, aren't part of the testing. Officials say costs are prohibitive to test for them.

If a co-curricular member tests positive for drugs or alcohol, the student must sit out one-fourth of the season; members of the second test group would lose their parking privileges; and the volunteer group members would lose status in that group.

If a student declines to be tested, he or she would be banned from co-curricular activities for one year; others would lose parking privileges.

"I think it's a great program just because if an athlete is going to be doing any drinking or drugs or something like that, they shouldn't even attempt to play sports," senior football player Max Phillips said. "I definitely don't want them on my team."


<span class=postbold>REVIEWS MIXED</span>

Not all Superior students are in favor of the policy.

"I think it's stupid because it's none of the school's business what you do outside of school," said junior Robb Frechette, who doesn't plan to join an extracurricular activity or park at the school and therefore wouldn't be subject to tests. "All my friends think it's stupid, too."

Others believe it will enhance the school's image.

"I think the policy is going to have a positive impact in the community because there is a big problem at the school," said junior Jozie Nummi, a member of Future Business Leaders of America, the Gay-Straight Alliance and the school's mock trial and swim teams.

Nummi says students will benefit because it prepares them for the real world, in which companies routinely use drug screens.

"As a minor, we can give up some of our privacy," she said. "It will give us a better reputation as a school as well."

Senior Garrett Vollmer, who has participated in mock trial and other extracurricular programs, says Superior's perceived drug problem is not as bad as some say. But Vollmer, one of a dozen Superior students who toured Kimberly High School in east-central Wisconsin and questioned administrators about their program, believes the system has advantages.

"Starting out, I was skeptical," Vollmer said. "It might take a little while, but I think it will eventually work."

"I would like to think there's a consequence when kids engage in a behavior that's detrimental to them," said Paul Zollver, a marketing teacher and Superior's DECA coach. "We're looking for alternatives for kids. We know that if kids stay away from drugs and alcohol, they will be more productive.

"By having the random testing, it will provide one more reason to avoid that type of situation."

Whether other Wisconsin and Minnesota schools follow suit is uncertain. Northwestern High School principal Steven High said his school is holding off.

Bob DeMeyer, a former Northwestern football coach who is beginning his first season at Superior, believes his new school is making the right choice.

"We'd be foolish to think there's not a problem; it's a problem in every school," DeMeyer said. "Whether it's one kid doing it or 1,000 kids doing it, it's something that needs to be addressed. I know they've done their research and I think we're definitely going in the right direction."


<span class=postbold>KIMBERLY MODEL</span>

Superior's program closely models Kimberly's. Superior Superintendent Jay Mitchell toured Kimberly's new high school, where he heard about the drug policy from superintendent Mel Lightner. Eventually, a community group formed in Superior to discuss how to best implement such a policy.

"It wasn't necessarily an 'I-got-you' attitude," Mitchell said. "It was about creating an environment where they don't have to be exposed to those things."

Mitchell said there was little resistance at three community meetings.

"The big issue is the invasion of personal privacy," he said. "But most parents felt like they would like to know if their kids were involved in at-risk behavior rather than (worry about) the privacy issue."

With tests costing approximately $22.50 each, Mitchell appropriated $15,000 from the 2006-07 school year's administrative budget. That cost included purchasing a Breathalyzer.

"We (originally) weren't going to test for alcohol at all, but the students said we had to," Mitchell said.

Superior has applied for federal aid and is waiting to see if it receives any grant money. Kimberly does not receive any aid.

Kimberly principal Mike Rietveld, whose school is entering its fifth year of drug tests, said about 300 students are tested yearly, but alcohol isn't tested for. Rietveld said there are now fewer infractions by athletes, and expulsions, which numbered 12 one year before the testing, have gone down.

"It's hard to gauge what a success is, but we feel it's made a difference," he said.

Superior is a much larger school, with about 1,630 students in grades 9-12. Kosey estimates 60 percent of the students are involved in a co-curricular activity, which, combined with the other test groups, means a vast majority of Superior's student body will be subject to testing.

"We don't know if we have any more drugs in our building than other schools around here, but there was a group of kids that wanted to do something about it," Kosey said.

Bergum, entering his sixth year as principal, said he is most excited about the volunteer group.

"That's the one that we saw from Kimberly that holds the most promise because it starts to get at that culture," he said. "If students view this as something that makes a better school -- and they are telling us that they don't like it here as far as that component -- then that group has a lot of power because it will be open to everybody."


<span class=postbold>STEROID TESTING</span>

It may take time before steroids are included.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 6.1 percent, or nearly 300,000 U.S. high school students, used steroids without a doctor's prescription at least once in 2003. A similar study that year in New Jersey found that state's total at 3.1 percent.

That prompted New Jersey to become the first state to institute a statewide steroid-testing policy for high school athletes. That measure was passed in June and takes effect at all tournaments this fall.

"New Jersey will serve as a model plan for other states," said Robert F. Kanaby, executive director of the National Federation of State High School Associations.

New Jersey's plan calls for random testing of athletes who have qualified individually or with their team for state championships. Positive tests would require a one-year loss of eligibility.

According to the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association, about 500 of the approximately 10,000 athletes would be tested. Each test is expected to cost between $150 and $200. The state and the NJSIAA each will contribute $50,000 toward the yearly total.

Those costs make testing in Minnesota and Wisconsin impossible at this time.

"When you talk about doing that at a statewide level, you run into problems of 'Where do you get the funding?' " WIAA communications director Todd Clark said.

The WIAA has chosen the route of educating students against taking banned substances; Clark says the WIAA isn't convinced that testing is best.

"Is it going to be a deterrent? We're not sure it's going to be a deterrent. Only time will tell," he said. "What's more effective, education or testing? Most times you will find education is the most effective. We're going the education route."

Jody Redman, an associate director with the Minnesota State High School League, said the league's Sports Medicine Advisory Committee has recommended in the past not to institute mandatory testing.

"National statistics state there's not a huge use of steroids in this part of the country," Redman said.

William Roberts, a doctor with the Department of Family Practice and Community Health at the University of Minnesota Medical School, doubts whether New Jersey's plan will work. He says tests should be done in the offseason when athletes would be using steroids to bulk up, not during state tournaments when performance-enhancing drugs would already have left their system.

"When do football players use steroids? In May, June and July," said Roberts, chairman of the MSHSL's Sports Medicine Advisory Committee. "Until somebody comes up with a plan that's feasible from a financial standpoint, it doesn't make a lot of sense.

"The threat of testing might deter some, but those who want to will find a way."

Bill Westholm, director of school operations for the Duluth School District, said the drug test issue likely will be discussed at an upcoming meeting of activities directors. "It may be something that we consider, but we haven't taken a formal position on it," Westholm said.

Westholm knows student-athletes' tendencies well, having spent at least 11 of his almost 30 years in the Duluth School District coaching track, football and swimming.

"It goes on," Westholm said of drugs. "How widespread is it? In my experience coaching, it varies from year to year.... It does happen."

And it's something that Superior administrators hope to curtail.

"If we stay the course for four or five years, we'll be able to change that culture," Mitchell said.



:( Nummi says students will benefit because it prepares them for the real world, in which companies routinely use drug screens.

:no: "As a minor, we can give up some of our privacy," she said. "It will give us a better reputation as a school as well."

:???: "We (originally) weren't going to test for alcohol at all, but the students said we had to," Mitchell said.

Kimberly principal Mike Rietveld, whose school is entering its fifth year of drug tests, said about 300 students are tested yearly, but alcohol isn't tested for. Rietveld said there are now fewer infractions by athletes, and expulsions, which numbered 12 one year before the testing, have gone down.

:wallbash: So now they just get drunk?

:sauf: "It's hard to gauge what a success is, but we feel it's made a difference," he said.

:omg: It may take time before steroids are included.
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District offers kits to test for drugs, booze

Postby budman » Tue Sep 19, 2006 10:24 am

home drug-testing, regardless of consent, can undermine child-parent relationships

Well duh. :omg:

The Saginaw News wrote:District offers kits to test for drugs, booze

Tuesday, September 19, 2006
JOE SNAPPER
THE SAGINAW NEWS

It's not just police and probation officers giving troubled students in Frankenmuth drug and booze tests anymore.

Now parents are welcome to test saliva and urine samples.

Free home kits that test for alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine became available for suspicious parents Monday at three schools, police and administrators say.

Frankenmuth is the first Saginaw County community to make them available at schools and the police station.

The color-coded kit results won't stand up in court. The alcohol test, for example, has a 0.04 percent margin of error, and in Michigan a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 percent is legally drunk. But prosecution isn't the point, police say.

"They can deal with this at home without the school or law enforcement involved," said Officer Thomas W. Daugharty, who launched the effort through $400 in donations. "No questions asked."

Daugharty and Frankenmuth School District Superintendent Mary Ann Ackerman said the tests are a resource for parents dealing with teen pressures.

"We're trying to be proactive," she said.

But researchers have raised fears that home-testing kits -- they are available cheaply on the Internet, costing Frankenmuth $4 to $12 apiece -- create more woes than fixes.

Wrongly accusing a child over a "false positive" result or basking in reassurance from a "false negative" are real dangers, a 2004 Harvard Medical School study found.

It's also a bad idea for family members to "observe the collection of a urine sample" in the first place, found the study, funded by Princeton, N.J.-based Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the nation's largest health care philanthropy.

Suspicious parents should instead seek a professional assessment, especially since home drug-testing, regardless of consent, can undermine child-parent relationships, Dr. Sharon Levy found in the study.

"Parents who are concerned that their child is using drugs may not know exactly which drug the child is using, and using the wrong test may delay the correct diagnosis of a serious substance abuse disorder," she said in the study.

Daugharty said he bought 75 tests from a Livonia company teaming up with law enforcement efforts around the state.

The kits are free at the Frankenmuth Police Department, 240 W. Genesee; Frankenmuth High School, 525 E. Genesee; E.F. Rittmueller Middle School, 965 E. Genesee; and St. Lorenz Lutheran School, 140 Churchgrove.

The kits are exclusively for Frankenmuth parents. There are about 1,400 students at the three schools, said Daugharty, the Youth Services officer, who collected donations in the community for the test kits.

Only parents who already are suspicious should take advantage of the tool, Ackerman said.

"Hopefully, it wouldn't be something random," she said.

The move comes nine months after administrators suspended five high school students for using and handing out prescription painkillers and a state police drug probe involving another high school student last spring.

Daugharty and Ackerman said the incidents did not prompt the test kits, and both added that Frankenmuth is no different than any other community facing substance abuse dangers.

"I'm not suspecting that we have a problem," Ackerman said. "But I know kids are kids."

Joe Snapper is a staff writer for The Saginaw News. You may reach him at 776-9715.

<hr class=postrule>
<center><small>©2006 Saginaw News
© 2006 Michigan Live. All Rights Reserved. </small></center>
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Roche and OraSure Sign Letter of Intent

Postby palmspringsbum » Wed Oct 11, 2006 10:41 am

DrugNewswire wrote:Roche Diagnostics and OraSure Technologies Sign Letter of Intent to Develop Fully Automated Oral Fluid Drugs of Abuse Assays

October 10, 2006 - 7:39 AM

By DrugNewswire
<blockquote>
<span class=postbold>This partnership will enable laboratories to increase efficiencies while offering an improved level of service by providing quicker turnaround times </span>
</blockquote>
INDIANAPOLIS, Oct. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Roche Diagnostics today signed a letter of intent to negotiate an agreement for the joint development and commercialization of homogeneous fully-automated oral fluid drugs of abuse assays that can run on random access chemistry analyzers with OraSure Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ:OSUR) . The oral fluid assays will be developed for use with OraSure's Intercept(R) oral specimen collection device and Roche's KIMS (kinetic interaction of microparticles in solution) technology. The oral fluid assays will be designed to run on various automated analyzers and to allow oral fluid samples to be processed with the same efficiency as current urine based tests. Among the key potential benefits to laboratories will be increased efficiencies and quicker turnaround times.

"With automation of oral fluid testing becoming increasingly important, Roche is committed to providing best-in-class high throughput oral fluid solutions for our customers. We are very pleased to be collaborating with OraSure Technologies in the development of fully automated oral fluid drugs of abuse assays," said Joe Passarelli, Vice President of Research and Development at Roche Diagnostics. "This partnership would leverage the strengths of both companies including OraSure's market leading Intercept(R) Drug Test and Roche Diagnostics' fully automated ONLINE DAT(R) drug screening portfolio -- leading to an integrated product offering from a single source," he added.

"The development of automated assays for oral fluid drugs of abuse testing is technologically a very important step for OraSure and its laboratory customers," said Stephen R. Lee, Ph.D., Executive Vice President and Chief Science Officer, OraSure Technologies. "It will enable them to run these assays on the most advanced, flexible chemistry analyzers used in laboratories today, which should ultimately lead to higher volumes of oral fluid testing. We are extremely excited to be working with Roche on this project -- their industry-leading KIMS technology combined with their system reliability is ideally suited for this application," said Lee.

Developed and manufactured by OraSure Technologies, the Intercept(R) device is the only FDA-cleared invitro diagnostic laboratory-based oral fluid testing system used for detecting commonly abused drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, opiates, PCP and amphetamines (including methamphetamine and ecstasy) and for detecting barbiturates, methadone and benzodiazepines. Intercept(R) testing is currently being used in workplace, drug treatment and criminal justice testing markets, as well as in public school systems.

With over twenty-five years of proven experience in the drugs of abuse market, Roche Diagnostics has established itself as a global leader. Roche offers a full portfolio of testing solutions including ONLINE DAT(R) drugs of abuse screening assays combined with system platforms that are tailored for various customer segment and volume requirements.


<span class=postbold>About Roche </span>

Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Roche is one of the world's leading research-focused healthcare groups in the fields of pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. As a supplier of innovative products and services for the early detection, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease, the Group contributes on a broad range of fronts to improving people's health and quality of life. Roche is a world leader in diagnostics, the leading supplier of medicines for cancer and transplantation and a market leader in virology. In 2005, sales by the Pharmaceuticals Division totaled 27.3 billion Swiss francs, and the Diagnostics Division posted sales of 8.2 billion Swiss francs. Roche employs roughly 70,000 people in 150 countries and has R&D agreements and strategic alliances with numerous partners, including majority ownership interests in Genentech and Chugai. Roche's Diagnostics Division offers a uniquely broad product portfolio and supplies a wide array of innovative testing products and services to researchers, physicians, patients, hospitals and laboratories world-wide. Roche Centralized Diagnostics, a business area of Roche Diagnostics, is a leading force in developing and supplying new technologies and integrated solutions that help clinical laboratories to operate efficiently and cost effectively. For further information, please visit our website at http://www.roche-diagnostics.us/ .


<span class=postbold>About OraSure Technologies </span>

OraSure Technologies develops, manufactures and markets oral fluid specimen collection devices using proprietary oral fluid technologies, diagnostic products including immunoassays, and other medical devices. These products are sold in the United States as well as internationally to various clinical laboratories, hospitals, clinics, community-based organizations and other public health organizations, distributors, government agencies, physicians' offices, and commercial and industrial entities.

OraSure Technologies manufactures and sells Intercept(R), the only FDA-cleared in vitro diagnostic oral fluid testing system used for detecting commonly abused drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, opiates, PCP and amphetamines (including methamphetamine and ecstasy) and for detecting barbiturates, methadone and benzodiazepines. For more information on the Company, please go to http://www.orasure.com/ .

All trademarks used or mentioned in this release are protected by law.

For further information please contact:

Doyia Turner
Corporate Communications, Roche Diagnostics
Phone: 317-521-7252
Email: doyia.turner@roche.com

Ron Ticho
OraSure Technologies
Phone: 610-882-1820 ext. 3013
Email : rticho@orasure.com


Source: Roche Diagnostics

CONTACT: Doyia Turner, Corporate Communications of Roche Diagnostics,
+1-317-521-7252, doyia.turner@roche.com ; or Ron Ticho of OraSure
Technologies, +1-610-882-1820, ext. 3013, rticho@orasure.com

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Money targets drug use

Postby palmspringsbum » Wed Oct 11, 2006 2:07 pm

The Rocky Mountain News wrote:
Money targets drug use

<b><span class=postbold>Colorado to get millions from White House czar</span></b>

By Bill Scanlon, Rocky Mountain News
October 11, 2006

The White House drug czar will announce a multimillion-dollar grant to Colorado school districts and community agencies today, but the money isn't expected to usher in a new era of random testing of students for drugs.

The money is earmarked for prevention and treatment programs and for helping school officials and medical staffers identify and refer people with drug problems.

Although the White House two years ago sent a team to Denver to tell school officials how to get around legal challenges to random drug testing of students, these grants apparently aren't for that purpose.

Some of the money will be used in emergency rooms to help pinpoint an addict's treatment needs, said Liz McDonough, spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Human Services.

Much of the money will be used for surveys to find someone's propensity for addiction and to help find the right treatment option.

Some of the money will go to school- based clinics. Teachers could refer students who are having troubles that may include drug usage to counselors. But there they would be given surveys on drug use, rather than blood or urine tests, McDonough said.

The Underage Drinking/Drug Task Force in Montrose County will use some of its grant money to develop a new survey for students in grades six through 12 "to understand what the issues are and figure out what we need to do," said Kristine Bagnara, program director for Local Drug- Free Communities in Montrose County. The Montrose County School District doesn't do random drug testing.

c Walters, Director of National Drug Control Policy and President Bush's drug czar, said the new grant will be implemented "in medical settings, including school- based health clinics" as a way of intervening early before people develop addictions.

Some of the money will be used for substance-abuse screening, as a way to "partner with Colorado in a meaningful way to prevent the disease of addiction," Walters said.

In 2004, the Bush White House put together speaking tours to tell school officials how to set up random drug testing in schools in a way that would survive legal challenges from the American Civil Liberties Union.

In Denver, they noted that courts have said schools can't randomly test all students but can randomly test athletes or those in extracurricular activities. Schools must maintain a balance between ensuring safety and respecting privacy, but participating in sports and clubs tip the balance toward safety, they said.

Some schools have included for random testing any student who parks a car on school property. That can raise those eligible for random testing to about 90 percent of the student body. According to advocates of random testing, if a school tests 10 percent of the students at random, it will lower marijuana use by 30 to 40 percent.

Copyright 2006, Rocky Mountain News. All Rights Reserved.

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SUHSD committees want more than just drug testing

Postby palmspringsbum » Tue Jan 02, 2007 8:25 pm

The Mount Shasta Herald wrote:SUHSD committees want more than just drug testing

By Paul Boerger
Published: Wednesday, December 27, 2006 5:58 PM CST
The Mount Shasta Herald

Committees studying the possible implementation of drug testing at Weed and Mount Shasta high schools say they want something more than just the testing and punishment ideas that have been proposed so far.

Siskiyou Union High School District trustees heard reports on recent committee meetings from Weed principal Mike Matheson and Mount Shasta principal Jim Cox during their Dec. 13 board meeting.

The committees were formed at each school to study a proposal for random drug testing of athletes, student body officers and pep squad members.

Cox said the Mount Shasta High School committee feels that something “more comprehensive” than drug testing alone is needed.

He suggested that drug education could be made part of the school's curriculum.

Cox said he will be investigating schools that have tried and then abandoned drug testing to gather information on their experiences.

Matheson said the WHS committee is also looking at additions to the testing, including a drug education curriculum and referral to counseling or “school based interventions” if a test is positive.

“”We're interested in a total program,” Matheson said. “Drug testing by itself isn't the solution.”

Matheson said, however, that the district should not wait to implement the testing while putting together a “total program.”

He cited a California Healthy Kids survey that showed a high percentage of high schoolers have tried marijuana or alcohol.

“Alcohol was number one, dramatically so,” Matheson said. “Marijuana was number two.”

Matheson emphasized that in order for the program to work, “we need parents on board.”

He said Mercy Medical Center Mount Shasta has been contacted as to what resources they might have available to complement the testing.

The district is considering implementing a program that would test the targeted group for amphetamines, cocaine, methamphetamines, opiates, PCP and THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, with an oral swab. The swab does not test for alcohol.

Students found in violation would be subject to suspension from participating for various periods of time, depending on whether it is a first, second or third offense.

A first positive test results in a two week suspension from the team, a second suspension for the season and a third suspension from that activity for the student's entire high school career.

Parents would be notified of a positive result, but law enforcement would not. The courts have found drug testing legal for extracurricular activities, but not for attendance at school because it is required.

After several public hearings, the schools formed committees made up of parents, students, teachers and the principals to study the issue.

The public hearings saw public comment on both sides of the issue.

Among the objections were 4th Amendment Constitutional rights of probable cause and equal protection; that removing students from the teams was counterproductive; and that the program unfairly singled out a limited group of students.

Proponents say the program would offer students an opportunity to say no to drugs and head off potentially serious drug problems.

The testing procedure would have the target group assigned a number and be selected at random by a yet to be determined method. Students would be pulled out of class and assembled in a secure school area such as a classroom or the gym. They would place the swab under their tongue until a collector removes it and places it in a tube. The tube would then be sent to a laboratory for analysis.

Students would be asked if they had taken any medications in the last two weeks, or eaten poppy seed muffins for consideration if the test comes back positive.

Refusal to take the test or tampering with the test would be treated as a positive result. A second analysis of the same sample would be performed if the test comes back positive.

A source of funds to perform and analyze the tests has not yet been established.

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1 in 3 students agree to drug tests

Postby palmspringsbum » Tue Jan 16, 2007 2:48 pm

The Viginia Gazette wrote:1 in 3 students agree to drug tests

By Sharon Schiff
The Virginia Gazette

Published January 3, 2007

JAMES CITY — We now have a head count for voluntary drug testing. One out of every three students in WJC middle and high schools has agreed to be randomly screened in the watered-down program.

Of more than 5,600 middle and high school students, about 1,900 agreed to enter the testing pool. However, fewer than 300 will actually be tested by the end of the school year, equal to 15% of the willing population. They will be scrutinized for marijuana, alcohol, amphetamines and prescription drugs.

Participation was greater at the middle school level, where parents are deeply concerned about nipping drug use early. Nearly half of those who returned forms agreed to be tested. About one in four high school students were willing to submit to drug tests.

Last school year, a groundswell of parents encouraged Superintendent Gary Mathews to propose a random drug screening policy for two sectors. At the eleventh hour, the School Board reverted to a voluntary policy as a compromise.

Fully 1,885 WJC students have enrolled in the voluntary policy in its first year. Forms were sent home on the first day of school, but the sealed envelopes were only opened just before winter break.

Steve Chantry, director of Student Services, was pleased to see such a high rate of participation. 'I think once it's in place, people will see how carefully this has been monitored," he said. He expects the number to rise eventually.

The tougher proposal targeted athletes and students enrolled in extracurricular activities. Support for the program was strong early on, but privacy and other opponents backed a late campaign that spooked the School Board into the compromise.

The voluntary program was slowed after Bacon Street, which provides drug counseling, submitted the low bid for the testing contract. Alarmed about a potential conflict of interest, the School Board withdrew the contract and re-wrote it to exclude Bacon Street.

That forced a delay in the drug testing until this spring. Kroll Labs Inc. of Louisiana won the contract, and Chantry said testing will likely begin as early as next week.

"I am just so pleased to see it starting up," he said.

A formula has been devised to test 15% of those enrolled in the policy each school year, which will compress testing into one semester this year.

The cost for each test is per student is $38. Kroll will randomly select the students and notify the principal so the student can be excused from class to be screened. Testing will be done about twice a month, but the dates will be kept confidential.

Kroll Inc. has contracted Riverside Business Health Services to take a lab technician and medical review officer into the schools. They will notify parents of the results.

If a student tests positive, he or she and the parents will be notified within four days. Because the program is designed to be non-punitive, the only information reported to the division will be statistical. School officials won't know which students, if any, tested positive.

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Now they can swap-test for cannabis.

Postby palmspringsbum » Thu Jan 18, 2007 3:24 pm

PRNewWire wrote:Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics offers complete drugs-of-abuse panel with addition of five new assays

prdoma.com

<span class=postbold>Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics, a Johnson & Johnson company, announces FDA 510(k) clearance and worldwide availability of five additional MicroTip™ assays for use in the diagnosis and treatment of drug use or overdose </span>

<b>17 Jan 2007 , Raritan, NJ:</b> Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics, a Johnson & Johnson company, announces FDA 510(k) clearance and worldwide availability of five additional MicroTip™ assays for use in the diagnosis and treatment of drug use or overdose. The five new tests complete the menu of eight drugs-of-abuse assays now available for use on the Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics VITROS® 5,1 FS Chemistry System. These assays are used to detect the presence in urine of the following substances:
<ul>
<li>Barbiturates (BARB) </li>

<li>Benzodiazepines (BENZ) </li>

<li>Cannabinoids (THC) </li>

<li>Methadone (METD) </li>

<li>Opiates (OP) </li>
</ul>
Barbiturates, also known as "downers," are sedative hypnotics with central nervous system depressant activity. Benzodiazepines are prescribed for the treatment of anxiety or panic disorder, and as a sleeping aid, anticonvulsant or muscle relaxant. They also can be used as hypnotics. Cannabinoids from the marijuana plant produce a variety of pharmacological effects including sedation, euphoria, hallucinations, memory and learning impairment and temporal distortion. Methadone is a synthetic opioid drug with narcotic/analgesic properties that are similar to morphine. It is used in the treatment of opioid addiction and in the management of chronic pain. Opiates are alkaloid compounds that are derived naturally from the poppy plant. Morphine, codeine, and heroin are the most common opiates.

Drug abuse is a major problem around the world. The World Health Organization estimates that some 200,000 people died because of drug abuse in the year 2000, equivalent to 0.4 percent of all deaths worldwide.1 In the U.S. alone, there were an estimated two million drug-related emergency room visits in 2004.2 Substance abuse puts a significant financial burden on the health care system every year. It is estimated that in 2000, drug abuse in the U.S. represented nearly $13 billion in health care costs.3

The VITROS® 5,1 FS Chemistry System allows the consolidation of drugs of abuse testing (DAT) with routine chemistry testing on a single platform. In addition to the five new DAT assays, the VITROS® 5,1 FS DAT menu includes amphetamines, cocaine metabolites and phencyclidine.

These latest product launches increase the MicroTip™ assay menu that Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics has introduced for use on the VITROS® 5,1 FS Chemistry System since October 2004 to a total of 34 new assays. VITROS® MicroTip™ technology provides an extended menu of proteins, therapeutic drugs, cardiac, diabetes and other critical assays. MicroTip™ technology is unique in that assays are processed using single-use tips and cuvettes, which eliminates sample and reagent carryover. In addition, MicroTip™ technology reduces the maintenance associated with other wet chemistry analyzers. Costs associated with water, plumbing, fixed probes, mixing assemblies, liquid waste management and compliance with local waste disposal regulations are minimized.

<span class=postbold>About Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics </span>

Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics, a Johnson & Johnson company, is a leading provider of high-value diagnostic solutions for the global health care community. Committed to developing the most advanced tests for early detection or diagnosis of disease, the company brings products to market that provide timely information and help to facilitate better medical decisions. Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics also provides blood screening and typing products that help to ensure the safety of the world's blood supply. In addition, through its VITROS® MicroSlide™ and enhanced chemiluminescence technologies, the company has transformed the way that clinical laboratories perform testing. Worldwide, health care professionals rely on Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics for innovative diagnostic solutions and services that promote effective diagnoses and enhance patient care. For more information, visit www.orthoclinical.com.


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Student drug testing pushed

Postby palmspringsbum » Mon Jan 29, 2007 6:57 pm

The Charleston Post & Courier wrote:Student drug testing pushed

<span class=postbigbold>Federal officials lobby educators </span>


BY DIETTE COURRÉGÉ
The Post and Courier

Janury 25, 2007

The near-absence of South Carolina school districts that randomly drug test students drew White House officials to Charleston on Wednesday to promote the practice to local educators.

Federal officials' stop in the Lowcountry also attracted drug testing opponents who say it's not an effective or cost-efficient way of preventing drug use among adolescents.

The tour puts a spotlight on the issue as school administrators nationwide grapple with ways to keep students away from drugs.

Schools are allowed to randomly test students who either participate in school athletics programs or in competitive extracurricular school-sponsored activities, according to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

Federal grants averaging $125,000 each are available for school districts to start or continue random student drug testing. Only one South Carolina public school district, Marion District 1, has received the federal grant, and they conducted their first tests in April. Colleton County schools started random student drug testing this year with local money, and Superintendent Charles Gale said no one has tested positive.

Hilton Head Preparatory School, a private school with 450 students, expanded its testing program in the 2003-04 school year to include seventh- through 12th-grade students, regardless of whether they participate in extracurricular activities. Every adult on the school's campus is subject to testing, too.

At least 10 families pulled their children out of the school because they didn't agreewith the testing, but the school withstood the student and tuition loss because officials believed it was what was best for students, said Sue Groesbeck, head of the school.

"It's a deterrent," said Groesbeck, citing the school's student drug use percentage of 1.9 versus the national percentage of 21.

Random student drug testing gives students an excuse to say no to drugs when they're around their peers, said Bertha Madras, deputy director of demand reduction for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. The testing isn't meant to lead to punishment, she said, but to prevent drug use and identify drug-dependent students who need treatment.

Its benefits far outweigh the cost, Madras said.

"Random student drug testing is a way to strengthen our effort to protect youth from adverse consequences that really can influence the course of their lives," she said. "It's not a cure-all and must be used as part of a comprehensive prevention program."

The Drug Policy Alliance opposes random student drug testing, said Jennifer Kern, a research associate with the organization. Other goals of the alliance include legalizing marijuana for medical purposes and repealing mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug offenses.

Kern said money spent on such surveillance programs would be better spent on educational programs that give students the support and information they need. Random drug testing undermines relationships between students and their teachers, and creates more negative attitudes among students about school, she added.

Bob Brimmer, project director for a grant to reduce alcohol use in East Cooper middle and high schools who is also a former substance abuse counselor, said he didn't think the Charleston district should be involved in random drug testing because it shifts schools' focus from prevention to policing. Schools that conduct drug testing have to figure out answers to complicated issues such as student confidentiality and what should happen if a student tests positive.

David Colwell, principal of North Charleston High School, said testing could be an effective deterrent with student and parent support.

"I don't know enough about it, but anything that might lead to the prevention of substance abuse among adolescents is something we need to look at," he said.

Senior Chyna Thompson said that for many students, sports make school worthwhile, and this would make them choose between either following their passion or doing drugs. Some people might choose to quit the sport, but a significantly higher percentage would quit the drug, she said.

"I wouldn't say it's needed, but it could be beneficial," she said.

Senior Antwan Edwards plays four sports at North Charleston High and is captain of the football and wrestling teams. Random testing would be a good way to keep some students from using drugs, he said.

It also would prepare students for life after high school by starting those tests now, he said.

"If you don't have anything to hide, why not take the test?" he said.

<small>Staff writer Mindy B. Hagen contributed to this report. Reach Diette Courrégé at 937-5546 or dcourrege@postandcourier.com.</small>

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Dräger Safety unveils Dräger DrugCheck

Postby palmspringsbum » Sun Feb 18, 2007 1:26 pm

ferret.com.au wrote:ferret.com.au
February 9, 2007

Dräger Safety unveils Dräger DrugCheck


<table class=posttable align=left width=300><tr><td class=postcell><img class=postimg width=300 src=bin/DrugCheck.jpg></td></tr><tr><td class=postcap align=center>Dräger DrugCheck</td></tr></table>Drager Safety (Lübeck) presents the new Dräger DrugCheck for the detection of drug use. The test is capable of simultaneously detecting six different drugs in one oral fluid sample (e.g. cocaine, opiates, amphetamines, methamphetamines, phencyclidine and cannabinoids) and can be used directly in situ. DrugCheck offers particularly sensitive detection of Δ9-THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, hashish and hashish oil.

The result is available in just ten minutes.

Straightforward and safe collection, testing and storage of the oral fluid samples are the hallmarks of the Dräger DrugCheck.

No embarrassing procedures; tampering impossible.

The new test kit for drug detection was developed selectively for oral fluid samples. The test is easy to perform, and does not involve any embarrassing procedures for the test subject.

Tampering of the sample or any distortion of the result is virtually impossible, thus helping to create the necessary atmosphere of trust between promoter or client and test subject during drug monitoring, e.g. in drug prevention campaigns and rehabilitation measures, access and security checks.

The obtained samples can be analysed directly on site, or at a later time (e.g. for the purposes of a secondary or confirmation analysis in a laboratory). The test system ensures hygienic and drip-free disposal of the test kit components, and guarantees reliable storage and safe transport.

The consequences of drug abuse can be serious and costly. As a market leader in the area of breath alcohol testers, Dräger Safety knows what is important to its customers. Minimise this potential danger by using the new Dräger DrugCheck. The Dräger Safety handy kit for taking oral fluid samples can be used anytime, anywhere, during routine medical examinations of new employees, random checks or in the event of an incident. Because the Dräger DrugCheck is straightforward and quick to use.

It is easy to gain the acceptance of employees and to establish the test as an objective check. This high quality product provides you with an efficient instrument, which will ensure transparency and quality in your preventive activities.

9 February 2007

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School Drug-Testing Plan Ineffective, Breaks Trust

Postby palmspringsbum » Sat Feb 09, 2008 1:16 am

The Signal wrote:School Drug-Testing Plan Ineffective, Breaks Trust with Adults

<span class=postbigbold>Student Commentary </span>

By Sean Herron
The Signal
Monday February 4, 2008

The William S. Hart Union High School District Governing Board is set to consider one of the most controversial issues in education today — the random testing of students for the presence of drugs. If adopted, mandatory random drug testing would force students in extracurricular activities into a pool of possible candidates for a random drug test — regardless of parental consent. This is all possible under a 2002 U.S. Supreme Court ruling allowing public schools the authority to test students in extracurricular activities for drugs, providing that they can prove a significant drug problem exists in their district. But, is requiring high school students to submit to a medical procedure just so they can be involved with their school really necessary? Should we allow the government a power normally reserved for parents?

My answer is no.

Mandatory random drug testing has been proven time after time to be an ineffective way to deter students from drugs, all while costing the district tens of thousands of dollars per year, driving students away from extracurriculars, and most significantly, creating a climate of fear and distrust between students and faculty in our schools.

A 2003 University of Michigan study of both schools that drug test students and those that don’t found schools with student drug testing had a higher percentage of students who used illicit drugs than at schools who don’t. Why? Because drug testing is, at its core, ineffective. Rather than prompting students to quit drugs altogether, drug testing drives them to more serious drugs that leave the body quickly, such as methamphetamines, Ecstasy or inhalants. Even worse, since many of the tests don’t look for alcohol, drug testing could result in students turning to binge drinking, something in our community that has killed far more young lives than marijuana. Additionally, drug testing could push some students to quit the activities at school that they are involved with. For many, these activities keep them from going further in their drug habits. Is it really wise to motivate students to spend more time away from school, potentially doing the very thing this system is meant to prevent?

Apart from being ineffective, the program is expensive. Testing 1,200 high school students per year (approximately 5 percent of students) will cost the district up to $62,400. That, of course, doesn’t include the cost of lawsuits against the district that are bound to come. That money has to come from somewhere, and may very well end up taking away resources from programs which have been proven to be effective in deterring youth from drugs. With the current budget cuts facing our state, I don’t believe investing more than $60,000 a year on a program that, statistically, has no effect on students is a good idea.

Perhaps the most frightening effect of the program, however, will be the relationship it creates between students and faculty. Many students find their teacher or counselor as one of the only people whom they can confide in. How does the district expect students to feel comfortable asking for help or guidance if the only people whom they can talk to are the ones administering the tests? Although the tests are randomly assigned, students will fear that their plea for help could result in them being chosen to be tested, instantly destroying the delicate bond many students currently share with their teachers.

Finally, in order to institute a Mandatory Random Drug Testing system, a school district must prove that there is a significant drug problem in the community. While I don’t believe anyone will say drugs are not an issue in the Santa Clarita Valley, saying they are significant, in legal context at least, is simply untrue. The school environment which prompted the ruling allowing drug testing in schools was listed, in the case, as follows:

“[T]he administration was at its wits end and ... a large segment of the student body, particularly those involved in interscholastic athletics, was in a state of rebellion. Disciplinary actions had reached ‘epidemic proportions.’” (Earls v. Board of Education of Tecumseh Public School District).

I don’t know about you, but if a “state of rebellion” exists inside the Hart district, it’s news to me. In fact, a study conducted by the district itself shows that less than 1 percent of 7-12th graders were suspended for drug offenses in the 2006-2007 school year. One percent is far from the “epidemic proportions” of disciplinary actions described in the case.

For the past few months, the district has assembled a committee of school administrators, teachers, law enforcement, parents and students to discuss all of the above issues and more. When the report was released during last Wednesday’s board meeting, the information it contained was overwhelmingly negative against testing. Law enforcement believes that the “typical” youth involved with drugs are “not involved in school’s extracurricular programs.” Coaches believe that testing “will not change bad practices” and that “students [are] likely to re-engage in abuse at the end of the season,” and school administrators believe that “testing ... is potentially divisive” and that the results “wouldn’t truly be confidential, as students [would] disappear from teams or groups.” The response from parents also is negative, showing concerns for discrimination against students whose religion prevents them from surrendering bodily fluids and the confidentiality of private student information.

As a student in the Hart district, the prospect of being forced to undergo a potentially invasive procedure just to participate in school activities is frightening. I’ve talked to dozens of other students from across the district, and an overwhelming majority are strongly opposed to this program. I don’t feel it is either the responsibility or right of the school district to monitor what I do on my own time. Although I have always been and will continue to be drug free, I worry about the possibility of a false-positive result. A positive drug test is a devastating accusation, especially for an innocent student. The possibility of a false positive through urinalysis is extremely high, as many tests see innocuous items such as over-the-counter decongestants, codeine and even poppy seeds as amphetamines, heroin or opiates. To try and combat this, many school districts require students to identify prescription medications they are taking before the test is administered, resulting in even more violations of a student’s medical privacy and creating addition burden for the district in order to ensure such private information is kept confidential.

I strongly believe that drug testing is something to be discussed between a student, his or her parents, and their doctor. Therefore, I suggest that, if the district is to implement a drug testing policy, they make it an “opt-in” program, where parents can decide if their child is to be tested or not. Besides making testing available to every family in the district, an opt-in program would eliminate any legal hurdles the district will encounter with mandatory testing, and allow parents who don’t want their student tested to still give their child the option of staying active in their school.

In closing, although mandatory drug testing may seem to be a good idea to deter students from illicit drugs, the reality is that it is an ineffective program that will not provide the results hoped for, and may further deteriorate the relationships shared between students and faculty. As a student, I feel that the trust I’ve received from my parents, peers, and teachers is far more effective in deterring me from drugs than any mandatory random test ever will be.


<hr class=postrule>Sean Herron is a senior at West Ranch High School and the student representative on the William S. Hart Union High School District board. His column reflects his own opinion, not necessarily that of The Signal.

Copyright: The Signal
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Did CBS 11 Find At A Local Drug Test Lab?

Postby palmspringsbum » Thu Feb 28, 2008 2:20 pm

CBS 11 DAllas wrote:Feb 25, 2008

Did CBS 11 Find At A Local Drug Test Lab?

<span class=postbigbold>Dallas D.A. Launches Investigation After Watching Undercover Video</span>

Kaushal Patel DALLAS (CBS 11 News) ― Workplace drug tests are meant to keep both employees and customers safe. Doctors, nurses and school bus drivers are just a few of the people who have to take a drug test to keep their job.

But what if the testing facility was offering people a way to make sure they got a negative result?

The Uni-Stat Medical Lab in Dallas is where hundreds have gone for a drug test. But our hidden camera investigation found out, there's something else happening here. Kathy -- not her real name -- contacted CBS 11 and said this company is doing something illegal.

Two years ago, Kathy was up for a new job. However, she frequently smoked marijuana and wasn't sure she'd pass a drug test. So she decided to go on her own to Uni-Stat to have a pre-test. That test, Kathy says, came back positive for drugs.

Kathy panicked, but said the man on the other end of phone offered her some hope. "He recommended I come in ASAP so they could give me some pill so I could test clean within 36 hours," Kathy explained.

She said she was desperate for a clean test, so she bought the pills for $150.

Toxicologist Neil Fortner explained it's against the law in Texas to distribute products used to falsify a drug test. He said the pills given to Kathy at the Uni-Stat lab - called Detox It - are being marketed as a body cleansing system.

"I think it's a play on words," Fortner said of the marketing. "They are selling products to beat a drug test." Fortner examined the ingredients of the pills, and said they were clearly made to trigger a negative result.

"They've also added some compounds in there to try to fool the testing lab," he said of the Detox It pills.

Kathy took more than two dozen of the 50 pills sold by a man at the lab, but got sick before she could finish the rest. "I was very nauseous, dizzy, faint," she said.

Earlier this month, CBS 11 sent in a producer with an undercover camera to see if the company was still offering services to help achieve a negative test. The producer was taken into an office inside Uni-Stat to meet with a man who allegedly works for a separate company called Total Body Cleanse.

"I heard somewhere that you guys can help out," asked the producer. "Yeah, we have a total body detox," the man answered.

That man, who identified himself as "Tommy," explained they offered several different programs. "I'd probably suggest the 14 day program, but we do have a 10 day program," he said.

"So there's nothing that I could take that would immediately eradicate it, or make the test negative," our producer asked. "Well, we do have what we call Quick Solutions for the day of type testing," Tommy answered.

When asked if the products were all safe, Tommy said they were all natural products that would give a person about 5 hours of clean time the day of a drug test.

Several weeks later, CBS 11 went back to talk to Tommy at Uni-Stat. However, people at the company said that no one by the name of Tommy worked there. When asked if the president of Uni-Stat, John Cassidy, was available, the employee said Cassidy was not available, and asked the CBS 11 crew to leave.

Soon after, Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins watched the undercover video.

"They're playing with a lot of folk's lives," Watkins said after watching the tape. "In your video, it seems the person is selling this product, this specific product, for altering a drug test."

Watkins said that's a clear violation of the law, and because of our story, he plans to launch an investigation.

"You've brought it to our attention," he said. "I do believe we do have probable cause to look at this situation."

Days later, Cassidy responded to us by email:

"We would like to issue the following statement to clarify the relationship between Uni-Stat Medical Laboratory and Total Body Cleanse: Total Body Cleanse is a separate operation from Uni-Stat Medical Laboratory. The product sold by Total Body Cleanse is purchased by people for a variety of reasons such as colon cleansing, weight loss and cleansing toxins out of a persons system. This product is made with natural herbs and supplements and similar products can be purchased at retail outlets. This product has been purchased by people to pass a drug test. Uni-Stat regrets the association with this product and has taken steps to disassociate itself from the sale of this product."

Cassidy also told CBS 11 via email that he doesn't believe they were doing anything illegal.

Stay with CBS 11 News for updates as the DA's investigation develops.

(© MMVIII, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.)
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SMART group rallies against drug testing

Postby palmspringsbum » Fri Feb 29, 2008 4:32 pm

"Random drug testing is a gateway drug to students having less freedom," he said.

Your Local Connection Examiner wrote:
SMART group rallies against drug testing

<span class=postbigbold>UFRSD seeks to randomly screen kids in clubs, athletics</span>

February 27, 2008
BY JENNIFER KOHLHEPP Staff Writer
<blockquote>
<i>Upper Freehold Regional School District students are organizing in protest of possible randomdrug testing for pupils involved in extracurricular activities.</i>
</blockquote>
A group of students and parents voiced their dissent at the Upper Freehold Regional Board of Education meeting on Feb. 20. The board is currently in the process of reviewing a random drug testing policy that the school district's Random Drug Testing Committee wants to have implemented.

The school district already has a policy in place for the evaluation and treatment of pupils under the influence of substances. According to the student handbook, any staff member who suspects a pupil may be under the influence on school property or at a school function has to report the matter to the school nurse or an administrator. The student's parents are notified and the principal arranges for an immediate medical examination of the pupil.

If it is determined that a pupil has been using, a Substance Awareness Coordinator determines the need for treatment and parental outreach is conducted.

Students found using may fall subject to further scheduled or random drug tests and various penalties. For the first offense, a student gets two days of out-of-school suspension (OSS) and five days of in-school suspension (ISS), suspension from extracurricular activities, parking and other grade-related privileges for 45 days. For a second offense, a student gets five days of OSS and two days of ISS and continues to have suspended privileges. For the third offense, a student gets 10 days OSS and a mandatory Board of Education hearing as well as the additional penalties.

New Jersey students in grades nine through 12 who participate in athletics and other extracurricular activities or who park their cars at school became subject to random drug testing in schools across the state when then-acting Gov.Richard Codey signed bill S- 500 into law on Aug. 29, 2005.

Following the lead of federal and state courts, the Legislature decided it may be appropriate for school districts to combat drug issues through the random drug testing of students participating in extracurricular activities, including interscholastic athletics, and students who possess school parking permits. Under the law, local school boards were made responsible for holding public hearings before adopting new drug testing policies.

If the Upper Freehold Regional Board of Education decides to adopt the policy proposed by its Random Drug Testing Committee, 85 percent of the student body would become eligible for the tests.

According to Allentown High School Principal Chris Nagy, the district would hire an outside organization to randomly select students to test. He said only 10 percent of the 85 percent eligible would actually be tested each year for a total of 80 tests per year. He said each test would cost $27.

Board of Education President Joseph Stampe said the board would review the proposed policy, which the committee derived from researching other school districts with such policies including Hunterdon Central, Middletown and Brick Memorial.

As proposed, the policy would allow parents to have their children opt out of the testing, but those who refuse the tests would not be permitted to participate in extracurricular activities. The policy would require students who test positive to attend sessions with the school's student assistant counselor (SAC) and preventative educational programs. Students who test positive could lose the privileges of participating in extracurricular activities, parking on campus, going to prom and walking in graduation.

Stampe said the board is committed to providing a safe environment for all students and to preventing drug, alcohol and steroid use. He said he has reviewed statistics that show random drug policies dramatically cut drug use in the student populations.

Many students are against the proposed policy and have formed a Facebook group called Students Morally Against Random Testing (SMART). The group currently has 200 members.

In four days, SMART collected 387 signatures of students against the random testing and presented them to the board.

"We will continue to add to that list and plan on resubmitting the petition at the next Board of Education meeting, providing copies for all members of the board and the administration as well," Brendan Benedict, an Allentown High School senior and former president of the Life Savers Club, said.

Benedict said students from every grade are involved in the process.

"As more information becomes available, I think more of the student body will join in the opposition as the policy will effect the 900 students involved in extracurricular activities," he said.

Although there are flawed logistical and monetary aspects of the policy, Benedict said personal privacy is the central issue.

"Random drug testing is a gateway drug to students having less freedom," he said. "Students on medication would have to disclose that information to clear their names after a positive test. That is certainly a step too far and might fall in conflict with the nation's HIPAA standards."

Benedict said there are many ways in which the school can curb the use of drugs and alcohol other than by conducting random drug testing.

"The social aspect of recreational drug and alcohol use is a large component of the problem," he said. "The school should add more social activities on Friday and Saturday nights, to provide for a safe and fun environment away from substance use."

He said the high school currently holds three dances a year and should holdmore, as well as other events.

Benedict said stress is another component in a student's desire to use drugs or alcohol.

"By providing some sort of therapy for overburdened kids, the school would be taking a proactive step in drug prevention," he said. He also said the school district should consider hiring an additional Student Assistance Counselor and opening the Life Savers Club to all members of the student body instead of just to students who pledge to be drug free.

"Communication is also key," he said. "Most students are unaware of programs offered by the Student Assistance Counselor."

Benedict said that even though it seemed like board members and administrators have already made up their minds about the issue, the community response remains strong.

"Several board members requested additional information and thanked us for attending," he said. "I am adamant in my belief that with a strong community coalition this policy will not be enacted, and, failing that, non-supporting members of the Board of Education will not be reelected."

He said a large portion of the senior class is eligible to vote in April's Board of Education elections and would certainly respond if the measure passes.

Students against the proposed random drug testing policy can take a stand by signing the petition, becoming an activemember of the SMART online community, attending Board of Education meetings and writing letters to board members.

"As the vote on the policy approaches,we will intensify and vary in our protesting methods," Benedict said. "We have also received the backing of the national organization Students for Sensible Drug Policy and are in the process of getting assistance from the American Civil Liberties Union."

The New Jersey Supreme Court, in a 4-3 decision on Sept. 9, 2003, upheld Hunterdon Central High School's random drug policy for students in extracurricular activities and those who park on campus. The American Civil Liberties Union had challenged this policy, on behalf of parents and students, as a violation of privacy and the protection against unreasonable searches and seizures in the New Jersey Constitution. The State Supreme Court held that the school met the "special needs" exception to the search and seizure warrant requirement because of the need for schools to provide safe environments, the diminished expectation of privacy of students (especially when in extra-curricular activities) and the showing by this school that a significant portion of the student body had used drugs or alcohol. The New Jersey Supreme Court, therefore, stated that a policy of random testing for all students, rather than limiting it to students involved in extracurricular activities, would eliminate the ability of a conscientious objector to opt out of the eligible pool and would jeopardize the program's constitutionality.

The court also stated that its decision is "not to be viewed as a green light for schools wishing to replicate Hunterdon Central's program." Each drug and alcohol testing program would be analyzed separately, and each school would have to "base their intended programs on a meticulously established record."

There were eight incidents involving substance abuse during 2006-2007 according to the annual substance abuse, violence and vandalism report for Upper Freehold Regional School District. When compared to the report for the 2005-06 school year, the number of substance abuse incidents in 2006-07 had decreased by 11. In 2005-06 there were 19 incidents of reported substance abuse at the high school and none reported at the lower grade levels.

Of the substance-abuse incidents in 2006- 07, five involved suspected marijuana use that was confirmed and two involved suspected marijuana and cocaine abuse that was confirmed. There was also an incident in which just cocaine use was suspected and confirmed, as well as two incidents where students were found in possession of illegal drugs for which the police were notified. The report also states that 22 students had been sent for drug screenings in 2005-06, 10 of who tested positive. The previous year's report stated that seven students had been screened and four tested positive. Prior to that, in 2004-05, 37 students had been sent for a drug screening and eight tested positive.

Louise San Nicola, the school district's public information officer, this week said that it is imperative for parents to understand that the board is unified in its interest to have random drug testing in an effort to keep students safe and drug free.

"They understand the importance of giving the students an opportunity tomake good choices," she said.

She said random drug testing has been shown to be extremely effective at reducing drug use in schools and businesses all over the country.

Fitzpatrick said that the appearance of concerned students at the last boardmeeting "tells us that our young people are committed to the rights of all people."

He said, "If students are looking to coordinate a change in our perspective, they should make suggestions to the board. We are trying to do this in a cooperative way because this came from students at the high school who wanted us to consider this as an option."

Fitzpatrick said the board will likely make a decision about the proposed policy in March and that the board has created a timeline that includes listening to and receiving input from parents and community members prior to reaching a decision.

The board's next workshop meeting will take place at 7:15 p.m. in the board office on March 5. l

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