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Morgan County offers free drug test kits

July 29, 2009|By TRISH RUDDER

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. -- For parents who suspect their child might be involved with drugs or alcohol, Morgan County Sheriff Vince Shambaugh is offering free testing kits that can be administered in the privacy of their homes.

Shambaugh said in a press release the kits available at his office on U.S. 522 are meant to empower parents by providing a simple way to detect potential problems.

The kits include a saliva test for alcohol and a urine test for marijuana, cocaine, opiates, benzodiazepine tranquilizers and stimulants such as amphetamines and methamphetamines.

Shambaugh said research has shown 1.4 million U.S. youths ages 12 to 17 are in need of drug or alcohol treatment.

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"According to studies, if a child does not start using alcohol or drugs in the teen years, he or she is much less likely to develop substance abuse problems later in life," he said.

"We are providing this service as a tool for parents to start an open discussion with their children about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse, and to help parents deal with issues that can interfere with being a healthy Morgan County youth," Shambaugh said in the release. "I encourage you to keep the results of testing confidential between your family and any health-care provider you may choose to consult."

Shambaugh said the Morgan County Sheriff's Department will have no part in the administration or enforcement of the testing process, and is providing the kits as a community service to Morgan County residents.

"We need to get it back to basics. If your child has a problem, address it at home," Shambaugh said in the release. "If you need outside assistance, don't wait. By all means, get it."

Morgan County Prosecutor Debra MH McLaughlin said she's talked with many parents who have concerns about the possibility their children are using drugs.

"This is a cost-effective mechanism to alleviate or confirm the problem," McLaughlin said. If the drug test confirms drug or alcohol use, "they can seek appropriate help," she said.

"It's an absolutely positive idea," Morgan County probation officer Danielle Robertson said. "It helps parents and family members to become actively involved in each other's lives.

"By taking a proactive step in addressing the issue, the family is helping the community to become stronger. We have a problem here and anything we can do to work together is a positive thing."

Shambaugh said the kits were purchased with forfeited money collected from convicted Morgan County drug dealers.

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