Poll: Parents request Santa Clarita school district to drug test their children

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A Santa Clarita school district plans to expand a first-of-its-kind program that allows parents to track the results of random drug tests of their children.

More than 2,000 out of 23,000 students participate in the free program administered by the William S. Hart Union High School District and funded by a federal grant, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Parents choose whether to enroll their kids in the Comprehensive Alcohol and Drug Reduction and Education, or CADRE, program, which requires students to submit to regular urine tests. Parents are notified if students skip a test.

Kathy Hunter, Hart's director of student services, tells the Times officials hope to see the program grow every year by three percent.

Instituted in 2008, it is believed to be the only one of its kind in the nation, according to administrators. Many schools require drug testing for participation in sports and other activities, but the Times said the Hart program is unique by serving parents who want to monitor their kids — whether the kids like it or not.

Under CADRE, urine samples are collected from random students in the program at various schools every month. Medtox Scientific Inc., a certified drug-testing company, analyzes the samples and then sends the results to another lab for confirmation.

Parents are notified of their children's results by phone. Students who test positive are referred to a therapist and offered other assistance, the Times said. School officials are not told of individual students' test results.

During the 2011-2012 school year, 63 of the 1,952 students who were enrolled in CADRE tested positive, Hunter told the newspaper. The most common drug found was marijuana, but heroin, methamphetamine and more recently such new drugs as bath salts have also been detected, Hunter said. So far this year, there have been 35 positive test results.

The original $216,000 federal grant that funded CADRE ended last year, but there's enough money left for the program to continue for the time being. The district will look for other ways to fund the program, including corporate sponsorship, Hunter said.

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