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Henderson I.S.D. finds success in random drug tests

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HENDERSON (KYTX) - A new drug testing program at Henderson I.S.D. schools has proven to be successful.

Administrators with the school district say with the help of the police department, they've made a non-issue out of something that last year, was considered a drug problem.

Middle school and high school students are now randomly drug tested at school and Henderson parents CBS 19 talked to are thrilled with the results.

Five of James Edmonds' seven grandchildren are students at Henderson I.S.D. schools. He's glad to hear about random drug tests at the middle and high schools.

"I think every child should be drug tested. Whether they're just regular students, or football players."

He says the random drug tests are stopping a problem before it starts.

"We need to start when they're young, real young," Edmonds says, "and the sooner the better."

Detective Chad Bradley with the Henderson Police Department says marijuana and prescription pills are the most common drugs he's helping eliminate on local campuses.

"The drug testing itself, the kids' knowledge that the drug dog will be on campus, those things I believe have helped prevent the number of incidents on campus," Bradley says.

The random drug testing began this year.

"Each month we test on average about 80 students," said Henderson I.S.D. Communication and Human Relations Director Stacey Sullivan. "These are students that are in any extracurricular activity or drive on campus, so that's hitting the majority of our students."

The school district contracts an outside entity to select the students at random and perform the tests.

"They do a random selection, they bring that list to the campus, and the administrators actually go to the rooms and get the students who have been selected and they bring them to the testing area," Sullivan said.

She says the results - have been astounding.

"Last year we had 17 drug incidents at Henderson High School. As of today, there has been one."

Edmonds says the effects of drugs are widespread, especially in a small, tight knit community like Henderson.

"It doesn't just affect the kids," he said. "It affects the families and their friends and their classmates. It affects everybody."

So he's glad the entire community is being proactive.

Police and school district leaders say the drug dogs and drug tests are preventative measures  giving students a reason to make good decisions and stay away from drugs.

Henderson police say there has been a big spike in prescription drug use among students because they're easy to get - a warning to parents to make sure they're kids aren't getting into their medicine cabinets.

Sullivan says the school district pays about $12 for each drug test. She says considering the results, the cost is minimal. 

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