School club offers kids rewards for staying drug-free, passing drug tests

HUDSON, OH (WOIO) - A new program in some Ohio schools is taking aim at the opioid crisis in a fresh new way.

They're trying to make it easier for teenagers to stay off drugs, by incentivizing them to pass drug tests.

It's part of a nationwide organization called Drug Free Clubs of America.

Hudson High School just signed up last year.

Kids have the choice to join, and with parental permission, they undergo random drug testing.

If they get clean tests, they're eligible for freebies at local businesses, perks at school athletic events, and cool prizes.

"We also have raffles every couple of weeks, where students can get really really nice gifts," said club co-president Katherine Roegner. "We raffled off Beats headphones, like a Bose speaker, and many, many gift cards."

Since the club came to Hudson last year, about 450 kids have signed up.

Students say part of its popularity is that its voluntary.

Students are not forced to participate, so there's more positive peer pressure to join, but no one has to do it.

"That was one of the big points of drug free clubs, is to kind of destigmatize that, and make a healthy, drug-free lifestyle the really, the cool one," said co-president Kelsey Lowman.

The prizes students get have been donated by local businesses who believe in their mission. So far, they have nearly a dozen partners in the community.

Club adviser Joe Schuch said he's pleased the group has grown so quickly, but he isn't surprised by it.

"In my 20 years of teaching here at the Hudson City School District, we'll hear stories. Kids will come back, and they often wish they had never started. You know, that always breaks my heart," said Schuch. "That's one of the things that made me kind of passionate about being an advisor for Drug Free Clubs of America, is if I can get kids in a position where, they never have to start."

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