Greensburg, PA - Hempfield School District has been working with the non-profit CANDLE, Inc., a
pioneer in the prevention field, to provide parents of 6th and 7th grade students with a powerful prevention
tool. The district will give interested parents CANDLE’s Family Health Policy Parent Packet.
The Parent Packets contain a 10 panel home drug test kit and enrollment in CANDLE’s random
notification service that will pick the time to test so that neither the child nor the parent can anticipate the
notice. CANDLE sends one notice to the parent during the one year enrollment, but may send two or
even three notices. CANDLE developed the notification service after doing research that showed parents
think home drug testing is a good idea, but they don’t like to choose the time to test.
Hempfield School Board President Randy Stoner feels this is definitely the right direction for the
district, “We have to involve the parents because they are still the most powerful prevention tool, and we
have to educate them. Attending Reality Tour at the Westmoreland court house is also recommended.”
Superintendent Andy Leopold offers that, “Entering Middle School is pivotal time of change and we want
to build awareness for both students and parents.”
Parents of 6th grade students in Hempfield’s three Middle Schools will receive enrollment forms at the
scheduled orientations this week and next and view a presentation that cites the alarming trends in teen
substance abuse. Parents of 7th grade students will have the opportunity to ‘opt in’ at the September Open
CANDLE, Executive Director Norma Norris states, “While being this proactive may seem ‘ahead of
the times’ we want to let parents know that this measure is actually needed now. By the time student’s
graduate, 48% will have used an illicit substance. Marijuana has now moved to the #1 drug of choice
with prescription meds as #2. Teens almost never move on to illicit drugs if they haven’t tried marijuana
and that drug stays in the system a long time to allow detection. The average age for experimenting with
prescription drugs is now age 13 and everyday 2500 teens will abuse these drugs for the first time. “
When it comes to having an ironclad excuse not to use drugs, Norris feels that home-drug testing, done as
a routine family health measure works, especially when adopted in pre-teen or early teen years. The time
to test affords another opportunity to have a discussion with a child about drugs and alcohol. According to
Norris, “If your child agreed to be home drug-tested at 13, when they are 16 they aren’t likely to ask for
the car keys and announce that they don’t want to be drug-tested any longer.”
The 10 panel drug test kits test for: Amphetamines, methamphetamines, barbiturates, benzodiazepines,
cocaine, methadone, opiates (heroin, morphine, codeine), marijuana, Oxycodone (OxyContin, OxyIR,
OxyFast, Percodan, Percocet and synthetic opiates. Instructions are included in the Family Health Policy
Parent Packet. The school’s website will also link to audio instructions and an interview with a parent
whose teen became addicted and wishes he had this type of home testing program.
The Family Health Policy Parent Packets will be introduced into the high school in Dixie County Florida
this month as well. Other schools are looking into this new program.
CANDLE is becoming known across the nation as an innovator for prevention of substance because of the
Reality Tour Drug Prevention Program that is now in 18 PA communities and 8 other states. Reality Tour
was recently accepted by the federal government as an evidence-based program and Norris, the developer,
was invited to Washington D.C. to meet with other prevention developers from across the country.
Any parent can start to use CANDLE’s home drug testing program. Access to the Family Health Policy
Parent Packets on their website at www.RealityTour.org Enrollment is $25 per year and that includes one
test kit. The website also shows where Reality Tours are located throughout PA and the nation and how
to get the program started if you don’t have one.