Franklin Community Schools now testing for synthetic drugs

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FRANKLIN, Ind. (February 24,2015) - If you want to be a part of extra-curricular activities at Franklin Community High School, you better stay clean. The district is now randomly testing more students for more substances, including potentially dangerous synthetic drugs like Spice, K2 or N-Bomb.

The district received a grant from Drug Free Johnson County for about $4,700, says Franklin Community Schools Director of Athletics John Regas. With that extra money, Regas says double the number of students will be selected for drug screenings. Before, nine were randomly selected for testing each month, but now 20 can be tested. Some of those drug tests will also screen for synthetic substances.

Regas says the grant helps with the cost of testing, since standard tests cost around $20 each, while tests that also cover synthetic substances cost $100 or more each.

The students eligible for testing will not change. Any student who participates in extra-curricular activities, including athletics, can still be tested. Students that drive to school can also be tested, along with any student administrators suspect of being under the influence of a banned substance. Regas hopes enhanced drug testing has a ripple effect throughout the district.

“I like to think it affects all students at Franklin Community High School and Franklin Community Schools, because it provides a better environment for all of us," says Regas. "We want a drug-free environment, so really it benefits everyone.”

The consequences of failing a drug test varies, says Regas.

“If you would test positive, it depends on whether or not it is your first or second offense. It also depends on whether or not you were doing it here at school, or you were caught a couple days later in a random drug test. So it all depends on the circumstances around how it was discovered," he explains.

Athletes risk sitting out games and practices. They could even be kicked off the team or asked to participate in educational classes before regaining eligibility.

Adrienne Reed has young children in the Franklin Community Schools district. Her oldest is in middle school, and she knows the pressures of high school are right around the corner.

“I’m on board with it, to be honest," says Reed. "As a parent, I would want to know. I don’t have access to drug screens myself, so if I sign a consent and my daughter is going to play in a sport, then they would have my blessing.”

Reed hopes testing for synthetic drugs will provide the district with better insight into what's going on in their buildings and in the community.

“I would hope that parents would support this. It’s certainly an issue," she says. "I think anything we can do to curb this issue would be proactive and I would certainly be in support of it.”

Regas is thankful for the support from Reed and other parents who are standing behind the district's decision to expand their drug testing policy.

“Anything we can do to further tell kids that there are consequences if they are going to make bad decisions and poor choices when it comes to drug use, we want to continue to bring that message home," says Regas. "It feels great that there are people who are supporting us and behind us and wanting to help clean up our school.”

The grant only lasts for one year, so the district would need to apply for another grant next year to continue the expanded screenings, or raise the money another way. He says students are being given surveys now and again next year to find out how they think the district can best address the issue of drug use. Based on their responses, the district may choose to change how the grant money is utilized next year and in the future.

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