Dearborn Co. schools offer free back-to-school drug tests

DEARBORN COUNTY, IN (FOX19) - The Dearborn County School District is attempting to stay ahead of the drug epidemic by offering free drug tests for parents.

Monday evening the Sunman Dearborn Intermediate School Parent-Teacher Organization passed out the kits to parents who want to start testing their kids. The tests cost roughly three dollars each and are paid for through a grant.

PTO president Rollie Hollowell worked to bring the kits directly to parents after listening to the county prosecutor give a presentation at his church on the heroin epidemic.

Dearborn County Prosecutor Aaron Negangard is working with Bright Christian Church as a part of the 'Protect Your Family' initiative in the community.

"If I were saying there's a health risk out there, that you could prevent your child from getting this virus by regularly giving your child a urine screening would any parent hesitate to do that? Absolutely not," Negangard argued. "This situation is no different."

Negangard believes parents should have access to drug tests to help prevent drug addiction before it starts, often through gateway drugs like marijuana.

Supporters say testing can help take the pressure out of peer pressure.

"It's not just them saying 'No, I don't want to do it' or 'I'm scared to do it', it's giving them a tool for their refusal skills," teacher and parent Jennifer Shattuck told FOX19. "They can say no 'My mom tests me, my dad tests me.'"

Bright Christian Church created a video resource for families as a part of the effort.

"It's important for us to get the word out and start the dialogue and that's what I'm excited about," Linda Hutchinson, Family Life Coordinator told FOX19. "I'm excited about starting the conversation for families. I have counseled way too many families that have dealt with the destruction through drug abuse."

Organizers are calling the event a huge step for parents to take control of the drug problem in the school district.

"If one child is saved through any drug program, any drug testing, then it's worth it," teacher Patty Pierce told FOX19.

Many recognize the test is just on tool for parents, however, and one that cannot replace connecting with your kids.

"I would definitely advocate talking about drugs with your children at a very, very early age and this program will spark those conversations," Pierce said.

Negangard will be helping present the Protect your Family from substance abuse message at two other churches in the month ahead.

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