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Drug Testing News
Parent Aid tests
kids for drugs
The Silver Falls School District has a surefire means to tell
if students are using drugs.
For the past three years, the school district, in conjunction
with the Silverton Police Department, has offered a program
for parents concerned about their children’s habits. It’s
called Parent Aid, and it allows for a free drug test of all
students up to age 17.
It’s free. It’s quick. It’s accurate. It’s confidential.
School resource officer Terry Murphy, one of two members of
the police department trained to give the drug tests, says
these are only four of the good reasons this program is a
“If a parent comes in we will do a urinalysis right there,”
Murphy said Monday from Mark Twain Middle School. “If it comes
back positive, we give them places they can take their child
for help. That is where it ends.”
The police take no legal action. They only record the
statistic of whether it is a boy or girl and whether he or she
tests positive or negative.
“We do it right in front of them and they get the results
right there,” Murphy said.
Murphy said he’s performed 26 tests since the program was
implemented three years ago. Parent Aid began as an idea by a
Coos County officer who constantly had parents approaching him
to see if there was a way to find out if their children were
The test checks for marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamines (meth)
and heroin. Murphy says alcohol and marijuana are the two most
commonly used drugs in the area, but the test does not detect
alcohol. Murphy said meth use is a close third. The Parent Aid
program is funded through the Oregon Chiefs of Police
Juvenile crime statistics in Silverton support the fact that
there is a problem with drugs. Marion County is one of six
counties in Oregon labeled a high intensity drug trafficking
community. Silverton Police Chief Rick Lewis said that is
primarily because of meth.
In Silverton in 2002, there were 48 minor in possession of
alcohol citations. There were six cases of possession of less
than one ounce of marijuana. Minor in possession of tobacco
citations totaled 14.
Through June this year, there have been 68 minor in possession
of alcohol arrests. There have been 11 arrests made for
possession of a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a
Drug use is trickling down to the lower grade levels, not just
high school. Children are using drugs and alcohol at younger
“You get more users, which gets more pushers,” Murphy said.
“The pushers are looking for new buyers. Where are your new
buyers going to be and who are the most impressionable? They
are the young kids.”
Murphy said the telltale signs a child is using drugs are a
drop in grades, depression and a lack of interest in anything
other than hanging out with friends.
With marijuana, kids get glassy-eyed and have a diminished
energy level. With meth, kids become so hyper and talkative
that when they finally do come down they crash for a day or
two before they can get back on their feet.
He adds there is no one reason why kids use drugs.
“There is no one thing that you can put your finger on to fix
it,” Murphy said. “A lot of it today is the peer pressure. It
is just horrendous these days.”
The benefits of catching users early, which is the target of
Parent Aid, goes beyond the scope of not using drugs.
“Their school grades are hopefully going to be better, so you
have the education part of it,” Murphy said. “The list can go
on and on.”
Parents who want the anonymity of their child intact, but who
would like to know for sure if that child is using drugs, may
turn to the Marion County Sheriff’s Office or Molalla Police
Department for the same test.
“I tell the parents the best way of doing it is to bring them
in on a Monday morning and not tell them they are going to
take the test,” Murphy said. “Just bring them in and do the
test. That will be the best indicator if the child is using or
While juvenile crime statistics have gone up, mainly due to
minor in possession of alcohol and marijuana being added to
the juvenile municipal court last year, not all news produced
by the Parent Aid program is bad.
The last 10 tests Murphy has performed? All came back
To schedule a Parent Aid drug test, or for information on the
program, contact Murphy or Dori Elliott at the police