There are currently seven free Drug Free Clubs in schools across West Virginia, involving 808 student members.
In the 2015/2016 school year, these clubs administered 1,029 drug tests in six West Virginia high schools and one middle school.
The schools that currently have Drug Free Clubs are Bridgeport High School, Cameron High School, John Marshall High School, Linsly, Parkersburg High, Parkersburg South, Triadelphia Middle School, Wheeling Central Catholic and Wheeling Park High School.
Drug Free Clubs function as chapters of Drug Free Clubs of America, a national nonprofit dedicated to preventing substance abuse via a unique model that engages the community, families, and schools.
How It Works…
The basic premise is that communities, families and schools want to prevent substance abuse in their community. Typically, a community organization, a parent, a local elected official or a school approaches Drug Free Clubs of America about launching a Drug Free Club in their community.
Drug Free Clubs of America works with the contact to establish a relationship with the school and a community partner, such as a local Rotary or Elks club, that is willing to help fund the program. The program costs roughly $67 per student.
Drug Free Clubs of America, the community partner and the school work collaboratively to solicit benefits for their members throughout the community. The club recruits students at school and drug tests each student as they join the club. Students in the club receive membership cards with photo identification and attend weekly meetings.
Joining the club means a student must be willing to consent to random drug testing throughout the school year, which requires parental consent.
On drug test days, the community partner sets up a testing station in a private place within the school, typically a locker room. They test students throughout the day and ask them to take a survey, which prompts students on how often they are offered drugs, what kind of drugs they’ve been offered, and whether or not they know of others using drugs. The survey helps the community and parents to better understand the situations teens face.
After testing, students receive goodie bags filled with treats they can then consume in class. Strategically, the program offers highly visible rewards to their members.
Drug Free Clubs of America believes that giving students a logical way out of peer pressure is an effective strategy to curb drug abuse. When club members are offered drugs, they can choose to say no, because of the fact that they could be drug tested at any time. The drug test results are not disclosed to the school; however, the results are disclosed to both the parent and the student.
After testing, students receive goodie bags filled with treats they can then consume in class. Strategically, the program offers highly visible rewards to their members. The goodie bags feature the Drug Free Clubs of America logo with the hope that it will prompt other students to ask members of the club about the program. Each school also offers rewards to the members of Drug Free Club. Often, schools allow members to skip the lunch line, or park in the best spots of the school parking lot once a month.
To access benefits in the community, students simply show their membership cards at participating businesses. For example, a local business may offer a free milkshake each month, a slice of pizza, a pass to the YMCA, or even a pass to a nearby zipline park.
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