Mandatory drug tests, schools crack down on heroin epidemic

Wellington schools implement drug policy
Posted at 5:38 PM, Aug 31, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-31 18:38:03-04

Kids as young as 14 are addicted to heroin, according to experts, and now the drugs' hold on Northeast Ohio has schools on high alert.

Many schools are doing everything they can to keep students clean- that now includes random drug testing. Wellington High School, in Lorain County, is the latest to implement a policy.

Wellington Police Lieutenant, Jeff Shelton, told NewsChannel 5 heroin is a massive problem in Lorain County and in their quiet little town.

"I'm tired of seeing kids I've know since they were 5, and finding them dead, or Narcan-ing them," he said.

The school district is now doing everything they can to keep Heroin's hooks out of Wellington's youth through their brand new drug testing policy. 

7th through 12th graders, who are involved in school activities, sports, or drive to school, have to take random drug tests.

"They go out to a party; peer pressure won't be there. Hey, I'm an athlete, I'm involved, I can't do this. I'm gonna be tested," Lieutenant Shelton explained.

Parents can also opt for their student to be randomly tested.

"It's too bad, but you've gotta be proactive," Interim Superintendent Tom Tucker told NewsChannel 5.

They're not the first school to implement a policy. Great Lakes Biomedical, the company testing in Wellington, is currently testing in 120 other Ohio schools.

A part of the policy many find interesting? It's not zero tolerance. Instead, a Wellington student who tests positive for drugs is offered help and a second chance; no suspensions and no academic penalties.

"This may give an opportunity. Something isn't lost. You can save it right away," Interim Superintendent Tom Tucker told NewsChannel 5.

Another component of the policy- reasonable suspicion. If school administration suspects a student is using drugs, they will be tested. Students that refuse a random test will be treated as a positive result.

Many told NewsChannel 5, as the drug problem worsens, programs like this become more and more important.

"I'd rather be embarrassed that my kid tested positive for drugs than be more embarrassed when it hits the newspaper and there's a funeral," Lieutenant Shelton said.