Belmont County students stay drug free

Students were re-joining and testing for the Belmont County Schools Staying Clean club. The group, formerly known as the Belmont County Drug Free Clubs of America, is dedicated to helping keep local youths drug-free. Dan Bolock, a teacher at MFHS and a coordinator for the program, said one of the requirements for students is to voluntarily submit to urine-based drug testing. Any results from the drug tests go right to the parents; Bolock said school officials will never know the results, protecting the privacy of students. Bolock said the program is run by the school with help from local police and other officials.

“Chief (John) McFarland is definitely very involved,” said Bolock, adding that Belmont County Western Division Judge Eric Costine also supports the program.

The club currently has about 70-80 students enrolled, with about a dozen students either signing up or re-pledging for the 2016-17 school year. Martins Ferry High School Principal Jim Fogle said that being involved with the group is great for a students’ self-esteem and confidence.

“There’s definitely a sense of pride in the group,” Fogle said.

He added that the program gives students a great excuse if they are being asked to try drugs, allowing them to make the excuse that they might be tested at any time. Students also receive incentives from the school for signing up with the program. Members will be attending a school dance, as well as a planned movie afternoon with wings and subs contributed by local businesses. Bolock said the school is also planning a field trip for members in the spring, though officials are still deciding on a destination.

Students participating in the program are also eligible for extra perks and rewards from local businesses. To receive these perks, students just have to show their BCSSC identification, a card similar to a driver’s license or school ID that shows the student is participating in the program. Shane Schuster, a senior at the high school, said the program is definitely a good one, holding up his new ID as he participates for the third year.

“It’s a great program,” said Schuster, who mentioned that he has been pressured to try drugs before and used the testing excuse to get out of it. “People should definitely join. It looks great on job and college applications, and it helps keep you away from drugs.”

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