FAQ Student Substance Abuse Policy/Program
Responses to pertinent questions regarding the CHS Student Substance Abuse Policy and Program have been posted below.
1. Could you list the drugs the students will be tested for? Does this list include steroids, alcohol or nicotine?
The drugs tested for in a standard test include: cocaine, marijuana, opiates (including heroin), OxyContin, Percocet, Vicodin (and similar prescription painkillers), methamphetamine, Ecstasy (MDMA), Eve (MDEA) and phencyclidine (PCP). As tests for additional drugs become available, they will be added to our program.
2. Do the drugs that will be tested for include steroids, alcohol, and nicotine?
No, it is impossible to test for steroids by this method because there are literally thousands of steroids, each of which requires a specific test in order to be detected.
Currently, the test does not test for alcohol. Traditionally alcohol testing has focused on identifying the alcohol itself, which can only be done within a few hours of ingestion. The industry has been working to identify a metabolite of alcohol which will indicate past use. Once such a metabolite is identified and its accuracy verified, we will be able to detect it in hair if the alcohol has been used within the past three months.
Nicotine is not currently included in the testing panel. If a test for it becomes available, it will be added to the program.
3. Are the faculty and staff of PCHS being tested in this program also?
No, this program will test students only for substance abuse.
4. My child is on a prescription which I have been told will cause a positive test. Should I send in a doctor’s prescription now, before the testing begins?
The recommended approach is not to collect prescription information in advance, since it can change over time. If a test comes back as positive, the CHS administration will contact the parents who THEN should provide the administration with the written prescription, describing the drug prescribed and the dosage amount. A professional pharmacologist then compares the drug test result to the prescription information to ensure that the test results are consistent with the drug prescribed and the dosage called for. So, a student will never be penalized for a "positive" test if the drug that is picked up in the test is the same as that for which he/she has a valid prescription.
5. Will second hand smoke cause a positive test result?
No, second hand smoke will not cause a positive test result. We have established a cutoff level through scientific analysis and field studies, and this cutoff level has been determined to be accurate and reliable by the FDA. If a student inhales environmental amounts of marijuana as second hand smoke, the quantities that are deposited in the hair will be well below the cutoff level, and the test will be reported as negative.