Friday, March 14, 2014

Anti-drug program gaining popularity

Voluntary drug and alcohol testing offered to participants

Express Staff Writer

Tom Bailey

    A program to keep kids off of drugs and alcohol is growing in popularity in the Wood River Valley, Hailey Elementary School Principal Tom Bailey reported at a Tuesday meeting of the Blaine County School District board of trustees.
    Bailey also serves on the board of directors of the Blaine County Community Drug Coalition, a nonprofit organization that administers the county’s chapter of the Idaho Drug Free Youth program.
    “It’s growing in our valley,” Bailey said. “The kids are responding to it. I think it just gives them a great opportunity for alternatives to the use of drugs and alcohol.”
    According to the Drug Coalition, there are currently about 70 Wood River Middle School students and about 50 Wood River High School students enrolled in the local chapter of Idaho Drug Free Youth program. There are 67 chapters in Idaho.
    The Drug Coalition defines the program’s mission as to “support one another in making healthy choices and creating a counter-culture to those ‘you’re only cool if you use’ students.’”
    Bailey told the school board that youngsters enrolled in the Idaho Drug Free Youth program make a commitment to not use drugs or alcohol and to submit randomly to drug and alcohol testing.
    “The students all agree to this voluntarily,” Bailey said, explaining further that the program “gives the kids an out” if they attend a party or event where drugs or alcohol are available. Instead of using drugs or alcohol, program participants can explain that they might have to take a drug test and they don’t want “to get busted.”
    Even if a program participant fails a drug or alcohol test, the results are not provided to law enforcement agencies, Bailey said, explaining that the only ones provided with the information are the program administrator and the student’s parents.
    “It’s really for information to the parents,” Bailey said. “The school doesn’t know, the coaches don’t know. It’s only informational to the parents.”
    Bailey suggested that parents and other adults, including school administrators, submit to the tests in order to set an example and to be “good role models.”
    The tests are available at the Drug Coalition office at the Community Campus on Fox Acres Road in Hailey.
Terry Smith:

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