‘Screen every single high schooler for drugs,’ says NJ lawmaker
State Sen. Joe Vitale wants every high-schooler in the state of New Jersey to be screened for drugs every year.
By screening, he does not mean a blood test or a urine test or anything physical. Instead, he wants them to be brought in one on one with a school counselor, nurse, or other trained staff member and be asked a series of questions to determine if they are using drugs or are at risk of starting.
"Research tells us that the vast majority of individuals who develop a substance-use disorder began using before they turned 18. Screening for risk factors or red flags during the high school years will provide an opportunity for early intervention and might help to prevent addiction before it even begins," Vitale said Monday.
Sure — and teen sex can lead to pregnancy and disease, so maybe we should bring them all in one-on-one and question them about that. Teen suicide is a problem, so maybe we should bring them in one at a time and have them go through a psych eval, too. In fact, every last thing that is a parent's job should maybe be taken over by the schools.
Or here's a different idea:
Go back to the basics and teach our children what they need to know to get into college or a trade and get a decent job. Forget screening them for whether they might start using drugs. Forget character education. Forget everything else other than actually educating them. Leave the rest of it up to us parents to keep an eye out for.
I know that's radical, actually having teachers do what teachers are supposed to do and families do what families are supposed to do, but who knows? It might just be wacky enough to work?
Keep in mind, this is not some annual assessment only for students who are involved in extracurriculars. This is every, single student. Yes, there is a provision for a parent to opt out, but I don't think it should even be brought to this point. There shouldn't be anything to opt out of. This isn't the school's place to start with.
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