Synthetic drugs have been added to the substances for which Wyoming County student-athletes may be tested.
The Board of Education unanimously approved the addition to the drug testing program at its meeting last Monday night.
“The normal test drugs did not include the synthetic drugs,” said Superintendent of Schools Frank “Bucky” Blackwell.
“Mr. (Jeff) Hylton wanted the board to know that the synthetic drugs are gaining in popularity,” he added. “It’s not actually detected under a regular drug test.
“Anybody who might be using the synthetic drugs would just go scot free,” Blackwell said. “Our whole goal is to catch it in time so that something could be done about it before it gets out of hand or somebody overdoses or has an accident.”
Testing for synthetic drugs is twice as costly as the regular testing, Blackwell noted.
“Hopefully the costs will come down,” he stated.
The testing program has been a success, the superintendent said.
“We’ve had great results,” he remarked. “We don’t catch too many, but we’ve never had a repeat offender.”
If there is a positive test result, Blackwell said, “you have to call Mom and Dad and law enforcement.
“That’s a shocker,” he continued. “Most parents have no idea their child would do something like that. As it has turned out, we have stopped a lot of kids from using drugs.”
Students who test positive are expelled, he pointed out, “and they have straightened up.”
With the addition of synthetic drugs, a student-athlete may be tested for one type of drug or both, Blackwell explained.
“Testing is done by the company,” he said. “We don’t pick up the phone and ask them to test unless someone is behaving in such a way that would indicated they have a problem.”
He says the board “backs the program 100 percent. It’s paying dividends for our children.”
John Conley can be reached at 304-732-6060 or on Twitter @PIHnews.