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This is your district on drug testing

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Coast Unified School District, which covers Cambria, is planning to give high school student athletes random drug tests. The move is an indirect response to the accidental substance-abuse-related deaths of two Coast Union High School students and concern over a perceived increase in teen drug use in the district, school officials said.

The specifics of testing are still being worked out by the district, according to Superintendent Chris Adams. Any students engaged in any competitive extra-curricular activities would be subject to the testing. Parents have been a big part of creating the testing procedures, Adams said. Tests will include screening for alcohol.

Most school districts in San Luis Obispo County don’t test students for drugs. County Superintendent of Schools Julian D. Crocker said he thinks there are several reasons for this: A number of districts tested for a few years and stopped after not finding any students on drugs; some district administrators don’t believe they have much of a drug problem in their schools; and most districts don’t have the money to support the costs of testing during rough economic times.

Adams said the purpose of the testing isn’t as much to catch drug users as it is to be a deterrent to students.

“Students get a lot of peer pressure,” Adams said. “Maybe testing will give them an excuse to say no.”

Testing will be on the agenda at the next district meeting, set for Sept. 10.

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