Drug-testing not such a hair-raising experience

by Kevin Deegan ‘16

“Random drug testing.”

These three words have been hanging over all Saint Ignatius students’ heads since Principal Bradesca announced last year that the school would be instating a new Wellness Program centered around drug tests. And that time is finally here.

As most students probably know, the process of picking students to be tested is random, and one cannot volunteer. The scissors come out twice per month in search of 100 to 120 strands of hair, an amount unnoticeable at a passing glance. Often, it is taken from the scalp, but if the hair on the head is not long enough, one tester is prepared to take hair from either the leg or the armpit. According to a representative from Psychemedics, the test detects any use of cocaine, opiates, phencyclidine (PCP), amphetamines, or marijuana during the ninety days prior to the test.

Upon arriving at your appointment in Carroll Gym, a counselor will hand you an identification sheet with a unique number. After waiting your turn with the few other students, you go behind a large black curtain and take a seat. The test begins, and the tester takes your hair and places it in a bag with a number corresponding to the one on the identification sheet.

Although the process is usually quick, that’s not always the case. “I was scheduled to have my test from 2:28 until 2:38. I waited until 2:50 for a seat to open and finally left at 2:57,” said Jack Seeley ‘16. “I missed the rest of my class.” With over 1400 students to test and only two people taking hair samples twice a month, it seems that most of the student body will have to wait a while to be tested.