Carson’s drug testing program off to a good start |

Carson’s drug testing program off to a good start

Darrell Moody

The results are in, and the first year of drug testing student-athletes at Carson High School is off to a good start.

A total of five student-athletes out of approximately 560 tested failed this year, said CHS athletic director Bob Bateman. The Carson AD said all five failed tests were for marijuana use.

“Carson is around the national average,” said Chris Franz of Sport Safe Inc., the company that does the testing. “You’re always going to see some positive tests because kids are still going to test the system.”

Franz said a true indication of the program’s success could come in the following years. He said there are schools that have been testing for six years that have less than a half of a percent of positive tests. He was impressed by Carson’s start.

And, make no mistake about it, drug testing isn’t going away. It’s definitely needed. It eliminates much of the peer pressure, which is why many students drink or do drugs.

A year ago, Carson High received $20,000 in grant money to start the program. Bateman is hoping to get even more for the 2010-2011 school year. And, any student involved in leadership also now is subject to testing.

“We’re applying for another grant for next year,” Bateman said. “We’re asking for at least that this year. I would like to get a little more (money). We should know something by the end of the school year. Drama and band students have indicated they want to be in the program.

“Mr. Beck (Ron, CHS principal) and I have discussed charging a small fee ($5). It’s very minimal for the opportunity to do the right thing. It’s still a possibility. I’ve also spoken to booster clubs for the different sports, and they are considering (putting in money). The coaches for those sports have been very receptive.”

Bateman said he hopes the testing has been a deterrent toward illegal behavior.

“I think it’s had some effect,” Bateman said. “Kids talk on the bus. You hear things.”

Bateman isn’t foolish to believe that all illegal activity has ceased.

Right now, the testing isn’t set up that way. One test, which costs approximately $25, can detect alcohol in the system for up to 30 hours. The other test, which costs $35, detects alcohol in the system for approximately 80 hours. In either panel, if a student has taken an illegal drug it still can be detected in the system a month later, Franz said.

Bateman indicated he would like to use the more expensive test more often starting the in the fall. Franz said that alcohol is the most abused drug.

Similar tests were given at Douglas and McQueen high schools. Douglas randomly tests all student-athletes, while McQueen just tests its football players.

Results from Douglas High were not available. Jeff Evans, DHS athletic director, wasn’t sure he was allowed to give out any information about the testing.

“I think it’s awesome (the drug testing),” Evans said. “It makes our workload easier.”

Evans went on to say that having the drug testing in place it makes it easier for a student-athlete to say no to peers trying to pressure him/her into having a beer or using drugs.

Eric Borja, the athletic director at McQueen, said there was one failed test this season. He said during the regular season 12 players (varsity, JV and freshman) were tested weekly. During the postseason, only varsity players were tested.

Borja said he would like to see all student-athletes be subject to random testing. However, unlike Carson, where school board approval and the grant money made the program a reality, Washoe County School District requires parental approval before a new drug program could be implemented for an individual sport.