2013-12-05 / News

Free kits available at police station to test for drugs

By Ken Shane

The Jamestown Police Department has recently initiated a new program that offers free kits for drug testing to residents. The kits are being offered as a tool that parents can use to educate their children about the dangers of drugs.

According to Police Chief Edward Mello, the idea for distributing kits came from a meeting he had with the Jamestown Prevention Coalition. The group is a local organization that strives to promote a safe community where residents can enjoy life without the harmful effects from the misuse of drugs, alcohol and tobacco.

The cost of each kit is about $8, but there is no charge for residents. The money to purchase the kits came from grants, and the tests can detect marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine and opiates, such as Vicodin and Oxycontin. Each kit contains test sticks that use urine samples to determine if the subject has been using drugs.

“It’s a tool that we’re trying to make available to parents to help their children understand the dangers of drugs,” Mello said.

Mello said he is not in a position to tell parents how to use the kits. Each parent should deal with the situation their own way, he added. The department is offering the kits because there was assurance from the prevention coalition that some parents want the kits to be available.

“I wouldn’t tell a parent ‘yes’ or ‘no,” he said. “But if they are interested in using it as a tool, we are making it available to them.”

Mello said if the tests show a positive result, parents can use that as a talking point with their children. They can also seek another source of confirmation.

The tests are completely anonymous. Anyone who is interested can come to the police station and ask the dispatcher to provide one. The kits are offered with no questions asked in the hope they will be used appropriately.

On another drug-related issue, Mello said the prescription dropoff program has been successful. A box was installed this summer in the outer lobby of the police station. The idea, Mello says, is to have people anonymously drop off prescription drugs that are no longer being used. While there is no actual count on the volume of prescription drugs that have been dropped off, Mello reports the box has had to be emptied several times.

Mello says sometimes people don’t complete their prescriptions and the drugs are left in the medicine cabinet. They then become an opportunity for people, most often teenagers, to try them. According to Mello, prescription drugs remain the most abused drugs by teenagers.

“It’s a positive thing that people are taking the opportunity to get those prescription drugs out of their homes,” Mello said.

The Police Department works with the federal Drug Enforcement Agency to make arrangements for proper disposal of the prescription drugs that are collected.

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