WASHINGTON, DC.-U.S. Rep. Harold "Hal" Rogers (KY-05) has secured $11.7 million to keep a national student drug testing initiative from getting a drastic cut that would have obliterated an essential and proven tool in the fight against drug abuse. The program is being utilized in school districts throughout the country, including eight Southern and Eastern Kentucky jurisdictions.
Administered by the U.S. Department of Education, the program awards grants to public and private schools for drug testing in grades six through twelve.
During consideration of the Fiscal Year 2008 Education Appropriations bill yesterday, Rogers offered an amendment to restore funding for the program, which had been dramatically reduced by the Democrat Chairman of the Committee. After an impassioned plea for the program, Rogers' amendment was approved unanimously.
"According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than half of all high school students have used an illegal drug at least once in their young lives," said Rogers. "Student drug testing is a powerful prevention tool that gives students a credible reason to say no to drug use."
Rogers continued, "If we fail to be vigilant and pro-active, we will lose these kids, only to have them reappear in our courts, jails and hospitals. I am extremely grateful the Appropriations Committee saw the light in approving this critical amendment."
Drug testing among school-age children and teenagers helps the region's primary drug abuse initiative. Operation UNITE works to rid communities of illegal drug use through undercover narcotics investigations, coordinates treatment for substance abusers, provides support to families and educates the public about the danger of using drugs.
As a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, Rogers works to secure funding for important initiatives that benefit the fifth district.