The number of city students tested positive for drugs dropped by 7.8-percent in the 2017-18 school year, according to district data.
130 students tested positive for having drugs in their system. Down from 141 in 2016-17 school year, according to a report presented to the school board earlier in the month.
Students tested positive for Oxymorphone, marijuana, alcohol, and prescription drugs. Some were found in possession of heroin, pills, e-cigarettes, Juuls, and vape pens.
19 students refused test and 6 had to be sent to the hospital.
The number of students tested was 189, up from 186 the previous school year.
School officials attributed the slight drop to increase in the number of substance abuse counselors (SACs) in the district.
The district had 13 counselors servicing 32 schools – two more than the previous year. Superintendent Eileen Shafer has added two more counselors for the 2018-19 school year, according to the report.
At one point the district had 24 SACs. Layoff of counselors over the years led to a spike in students tested positive for drugs, reaching an all-time high of 153 in 2015-16 school year.
In 2007-8, the district had 50 positive cases, lowest count since substance abuse data compilation began in 2000.
A student tested positive is evaluated by a licensed clinician in presence of a parent. He (more boys are tested positive than girls) then receives counseling from a SAC, who, if needed, makes further referrals to out-patient or in-patient treatment.
The counselor follows-up with treatment outcome.
Schools have a bevy of prevention initiatives that discourage students from using drugs. For example, there’s the Municipal Alliance, Paterson Coalition Against Substance Abuse (P-CASA), and many religious and law enforcement groups that work with schools to discourage students from using drugs.
Schools also infuse anti-drug use messages in their lessons. Students are taught about peer pressure, behavior, and prescription medication.