MCPSS Random Drug Testing Shows Marijuana Usage

MCPSS Random Drug Testing Shows Marijuana Usage

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MOBILE, Ala. - There are 12 high schools in the Mobile County Public School System and I'm told almost 80 percent of students in each school are participating in random drug testing.

"We need to make sure that students are ready to be successful when they graduate from high school," said Larry Mouton.

Mouton oversees the drug testing in the schools and says it's all about getting students prepared for the real world. Student-athletes and students who drive to school are automatically enrolled in the program. Other students are opted in with their parent's permission.

He says of the 600 students who tested last semester, just over 3 percent, or 18 of them, tested positive for drugs. Students are tested for a variety of drugs including: Marijuana, Cocaine, PCP, Opiates, Amphetamines, Barbiturates, Benzodiazepine, Methadone, MDMA (Ecstacy), K-2 (Synthetic marijuana).

Mouton says one drug is repeatedly showing up.

"All of our testing has been marijuana they are testing positive for. It's a common drug in America and it's a common drug amongst those who test positive," he said.

While some may think that's a good thing Virginia Guy with the Drug Education Council says students using marijuana shouldn't be taken lightly.

"The last several years there's been a really laxed attitude toward marijuana use and we find that alarming because marijuana use is a lot more dangerous today than it was back 20 or 30 years ago when a lot of the parents were growing up. Marijuana of the 70's and 80's is not like the marijuana today. The marijuana today is much more powerful. It's got a lot more of the THC, the active ingredient that causes the high, but it's also got a lot of other chemicals in it that are harmful for the body," Virginia said.

The drug test is a urine sample and is the same standard test adults receive in the workforce. The school system added synthetic marijuana to the test this year. If a student test positive they are put on probation and tested during every random screening until they test negative twice in a row. A second positive test? They have to get drug counseling and a third, they are suspended from sports and or driving for one year.
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