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Drug program would include county students

By By Leada DeVaney, Hartselle Enquirer
A program designed to reward middle-school students for avoiding drugs and tobacco could soon find its way into Morgan County classrooms.
"Project I.D.," which stands for Project Independent Decisions, is designed to offer students incentives for testing drug and tobacco free. Among those incentives are food, merchandise and other give-aways, all provided by local merchants.
It is coordinated through the Morgan County Substance Abuse Network, a project of the Mental Health Association of Alabama.
"It's a reward program for students who chose not to use drugs," association director Sue Brantley said. "Not a punishment for those who do."
The program is already being used among seventh graders in Decatur City Schools and will be expanded to eighth graders this year. The Morgan County School Board is considering implementing it its seventh grades this fall.
Some 46 percent of Decatur seventh graders chose to participate in the project.
Brantley said of the students participating in Project ID last year, 99 percent remained drug free throughout the program.
Project I.D. involves in the voluntary drug testing of participating students. With their parents' permission, each of the participating students takes an initial urinalysis screen and agrees to random urinalysis testing throughout the year. Each participating student will be issued an ID card, which entitles them to the discounts and giveaways.
If a student tests positive for drugs or tobacco, their card is revoked.
According to Brantley, if a student tests positive, a counselor will contact the child's parents. Law enforcement or other school officials will not be contacted.
Morgan County school officials said they are planning a meeting in October to discuss the program with students and their parents.