Parents may test own children for drugsParents of Fargo middle school students can soon test their children for drugs. Project 7th Grade, a Phoenix, Ariz.-based group, provides the kits to school systems, police and other organizations at no charge. The tests rely on urine samples.
FARGO (AP) — Parents of Fargo middle school students can soon test their children for drugs.
Project 7th Grade, a Phoenix, Ariz.-based group, provides the kits to school systems, police and other organizations at no charge. The tests rely on urine samples.
Sullivan Middle school is the only school in North Dakota participating in the project, officials said.
“No family, no schools are exempt,” Fargo police officer Mike Clower said. “This is an opportunity to empower parents.”
Clower, the school resource officer at Sullivan Middle School and Shanley High School, is hosting a parents meeting Wednesday to educate parents about drug use among teens.
“There’s a need everywhere,” Clower said. “These are happening in Fargo. I’ve seen it.”
Clower will provide parents with drug use statistics and symptoms, and show them drug paraphernalia so they can recognize what can sometimes be hidden signs. Clower said kids who use drugs typically do so for two years before a parent finds out.
“You think it’s normal adolescent behavior for a while,” parent Marsha Nygaard said. “You ride it out for a while in hopes things get better.”
Clower will give out 50 free drug testing kits to parents Wednesday.
The program and materials are provided by a national organization called Not My Kid, which sponsors a drug prevention course called Project 7th Grade.
“If you get them in middle school, you actually still have a chance to make an impact on a few,” Clower said. Drug use triples between sixth and eighth grade, he said. “It’s a lot harder at the high school level.”
A 2008 Fargo Cass Public Health survey found that about 18 percent of Fargo ninth- through 12th-graders used marijuana last year.