Starting this week, parents will be able to pick up free saliva-based drug testing kits at various locations in Whitley County.
The “Give Me A Reason” drug prevention initiative is a voluntary drug-testing program through the Appalachian High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) and Operation UNITE.
Dan Smoot, director of prevention/education for Appalachian HIDTA, said the program is designed as a way for youth to avoid peer pressure and give them a reason to say no to drug use, such as the fact that their parents drug test them.
“Everyone you talk to about why did you experiment? Why did you try drugs? Everyone will tell you the same thing, ‘because my friends were doing it. It was the cool thing to do. I went with the crowd,'” Smoot noted. “What we are trying to do is give kids a reason to resist the temptation of drugs.”
Carl Varney, a coalition coordinator for Operation UNITE, told the Whitley County UNITE Coalition during its monthly meeting Thursday that his program recently got in 10,000 kits that it is taking to various distribution sites in Whitley County.
Varney added that no record is kept of who picks up the kits and that the program is completely anonymous.
“It is a prevention and early intervention initiative,” he noted. “We really believe this is going to be a great tool.”
Some of the locations where the drug testing kits can be picked up include: the Whitley County Detention Center, Williamsburg Independent School, Whitley County High School, Whitley County Middle School, the family resource centers at Whitley Central Elementary, Pleasant View, Boston, and Whitley North elementary schools, the Whitley County Health Department, the Whitley County Judge-Executive’s Office, and the Williamsburg Police Department.
The kits contain the SalivaScan testing method that is a non-invasive swab of the mouth that tests for a variety of drugs, including: methamphetamine, ecstasy, Xanax, roofies, marijuana, heroin, hydrocodone and many others.
The test takes about 20 minutes to administer and the color lines on it can be read comparing them to a chart in the kit.