Circleville schools sees massive success in drug addiction program

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Pickaway County is known for it's growing epidemic of drug addiction. School administrators wanted to help curb the issue by offering drug prevention in high school.

"Other than our health classes, there hasn't been any specific drug prevention programs," said Chris Thornsley, principal at Circleville High School.

This year the school offered Club Future, a local chapter of Drug-Free Clubs of America. It is a student-led organization where kids commit to a drug-free life and random drug testing.

"Each month we have a random test. Typically it's between 12 and 15 students. So, approximately 30 percent of our population of students that are members will be tested throughout the school year," said Thornsley.

Initially, the administration hoped 50 students would join at the beginning of the school year. To their surprise, 213 signed up.

"I try to set a good example for my peers," said Cade Burton, a freshman who joined when entering high school. "You can be a good, cool kid being off drugs."

Emily Dengler is a junior at Circleville High. She says the growing prevalence of drugs in her community is scary.

"A lot of kids this age start doing drugs, even younger," said Dengler. "To know that maybe one of the people that are sitting in my classroom may not be there the next day because they overdosed on drugs."

Students said the club has opened a positive dialogue between students on drug addiction.

"If one of your friends say, 'let's go smoke cocaine'...you can tell them like 'no, I can't. I might get drug tested next week," said Burton.

Being a member of Club Future comes with perks. Every student gets a card that they can present to neighborhood businesses or the school cafe for special deals and discounts.

Click here to learn more about Drug-Free Clubs of America.