- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 30, 2007

PEQUANNOCK, N.J. (AP) — Some teenagers who drink over the weekend could be in big trouble: A New Jersey school district plans to institute random urine tests capable of detecting whether alcohol was consumed up to 80 hours earlier.

Pequannock Township High, with about 800 students, said it will begin administering the tests Monday.

“This is a major issue for America,” Schools Superintendent Larrie Reynolds said yesterday. “There are more kids that die each year in alcohol-related traffic deaths than there are soldiers who have died in Iraq. The numbers are staggering.”

At least one other New Jersey high school, in Middletown, employs the EtG test, which screens for ethyl glucuronide, a substance produced by the body when it metabolizes alcohol.

Pequannock teenagers who participate in sports or other extracurricular activities, or drive to school, already are tested for illegal drugs under a 2005 program prompted by the heroin overdose of a student.

Students who test positive for alcohol will not be cut from teams or barred from extracurricular activities. Instead they will receive counseling and their parents will be notified, Mr. Reynolds said.

“That’s going to give our kids riding in the back seat of someone’s car a very powerful reason to say no,” he said.

Drug tests, similarly, can detect drug use that occurred days earlier.

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