More than 1,800 students at William S. Hart Union High School District signed up for the Comprehensive Alcohol and Drug Reduction and Education (CADRE) program.
The program is handled by MEDTOX Laboratories, and is entirely voluntary, random and confidential. The results of the test are sent directly to the parents, and school administrators do not receive a report. Those who test positive for drugs are given the option to receive counseling services and substance abuse treatment.
Funds for the program are provided by a federal grant, as well as local and county money.
Based on statistics, around 375 drug tests are administered on a monthly basis, and 209 tests from the entire school year come back positive. Most of the students who test positive use marijuana, followed by amphetamines and opiates.
According to Kathy Hunter, coordinator of student services, shared that the number of students who sign up for the free program has increased over the last three years. During school year 2009-10, 457 students signed up for CADRE. Hunter shared: “We would like to enroll a large percent of incoming seventh-graders… We like to get them to start at the beginning of junior high.”
Once a student enrolls in the program, they remain enrolled in the program in all the succeeding school years, unless a parent opts them out. Hunter shared further: “We’re offering a free service to parents to help them help their children… It’s really not a school issue. It’s a societal issue.”