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Creighton Prep HEALTH AND Wellness Program

At the beginning of the 2014-2015 academic year, Creighton Prep implemented mandatory and random drug and alcohol testing for all students. This is part of a developing health and wellness program at Prep and an ongoing commitment by the school to the Jesuit philosophy of cura personalis, or “care for the whole person.” 

The drug and alcohol testing program:

  • Educates students about substance use and discourages use through verifiable means.
  • Provides earlier intervention that focuses initially on non-disciplinary support.
  • Fosters an environment that makes it easier for students to say “no.”

View the policy as it appears in the Student-Parent Handbook.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Why is Creighton Prep testing students for drugs and alcohol?

Creighton Prep is committed to the Jesuit philosophy of cura personalis, or “care for the whole person," and to a developing health and wellness program whose goal is to form a healthy student ready for college.

National statistics from Monitoring the Future indicate that 39 percent of all sophomores and 50 percent of all seniors have used illegal drugs. Additionally, 52 percent of sophomores and 68 percent of seniors have used alcohol, including over 20 percent of seniors who report having participated in binge drinking (five or more drinks in a row) in the previous two weeks. Similar results are detailed for Nebraska through the Nebraska Risk and Protective Factor Student Survey, a survey in which Prep sophomores and seniors participate. We want to be proactive rather than reactive in addressing this issue.

What are the testing procedures?

Hair samples are collected and tested for the presence of binge drinking, marijuana, PCPs, amphetamines, cocaine and opiates. Students are randomly selected and tested for drugs and alcohol. Once a student is tested, his name is returned to the collective pool for future random selection. The test involves using a small sample of about 60 hairs or about the thickness of a shoelace tip.

What drugs are included in the test?

The tests screen for cocaine, marijuana, opiates (including heroin, codeine, morphine, oxycodone, hydrocodone and hydromorphone), methamphetamine, ecstasy (MDMA), eve (MDEA), phencyclidine (PCP) and alcohol. Additionally, the hair test will identify the range of use (light, moderate or heavy) and will provide a window for time of use. The test does not screen for steroids.

What do you mean by binge or regular drinking?

Examples of binge drinking include an individual consuming four to five drinks over a short period and regular drinking as about seven drinks over a 30-day period.

Does the test cover synthetic drugs?

Not at this time, but we are fortunate to have testing available for what amounts to 90 percent of available drugs, including the most frequently used entry level drugs of alcohol and marijuana.

What company performs the tests?

Creighton Prep has partnered with Psychemedics, a leading national drug testing company. View the Psychemedics website.

Psychemedics Corporation has an FDA-approved-and-patented procedure of hair analysis. Hair testing is far less invasive than other methods, provides superior detection and is the most cost-effective and efficient method of drug and alcohol testing.

Creighton Prep has contracted with Psychemedics because it is the nation’s leading drug and alcohol testing company using hair sampling. Laboratory procedures are designed to detect the presence of illegal drugs and alcohol in the cortex of the hair and to eliminate the possibility of false positives.

Psychemedics’ tests detect illegal drugs and alcohol over approximately 90 days and can provide information on the type, quantity and historical pattern of individual use.

Psychemedics Corporation provides testing for more than 2,600 organizations and 175 schools. With millions of tests performed since 1987, Psychemedics continues to be the leader in hair testing technology. Clients include:

  • Christian Brothers College High School, St. Louis
  • Christian Brothers High School, Memphis
  • Rockhurst High School, Kansas City
  • St. Viator High School, Chicago
  • Arizona State University Football Program

The Psychemedics Corporation is used not only by Fortune 500 companies, but also courts, the Chicago Police and Fire Departments as well as the New York Police Department.

How does hair analysis compare to urinalysis?

Hair analysis has consistently proven to be more effective than urinalysis and other methods in correctly identifying drug and alcohol use. The primary difference is the wider window of detection with hair. Cocaine, methamphetamine, opiates and PCP are rapidly excreted and usually undetectable in urine 72 hours after use. Rather than the hours or days covered by a body fluid test, a hair test covers a period of months, ensuring that a drug user cannot evade the test by simply abstaining for a few days. Additional advantages include: non-intrusive collection procedures, virtual elimination of test evasion through substitution or adulteration, and greater accuracy through test repetition capability.

What time period does a standard test cover?

A standard test of head hair cut close to the scalp can provide a several month window to detect drug and alcohol ingestion.

How much hair is needed?

A standard test usually requires a cosmetically undetectable lock of hair preferably snipped from the back of the head, just below the crown. In general, the amount needed is about 60 hairs or the thickness of a shoelace tip.

Who obtains the hair samples?

Trained school personnel obtain the hair samples before sending them to Psychemedics in a secured shipment. One person is required to obtain the hair sample and document chain of custody in the presence of the donor.

What are the chances that my son will be tested?

Throughout the year, Creighton Prep will randomly choose a group of students to submit to drug and alcohol testing. In the course of an academic year, the school expects 80 percent of Prep students to be tested.

How will I know when my son was tested? What about the results?

For those students whose test results are negative for drugs or alcohol, the Director of Guidance will send a "notification of negative status" to parents with the date of testing indicated. For those students whose results are positive for drugs or alcohol, the student’s guidance counselor will request an immediate meeting with the student and at least one parent or guardian.

The results of testing at Prep are shared only with the student’s parents or guardians, his counselor and school administration.

What happens if my son tests positive for binge drinking or illegal drugs?

If a student tests positive for the presence of binge drinking or illegal drugs, the student’s guidance counselor will request a meeting with the student and at least one parent or guardian. The purpose of the meeting is to assist the family in seeking any help or interventions. The student will then be tested again in 100 days at his expense.

If the student tests positive a second time, a review for disciplinary action and a suspension from co-curricular activities become part of the process. If allowed to continue at Prep, the student will be required to complete a chemical dependency screening at an agency approved by the Guidance Department and be tested again in 100 days.

A third positive test results in dismissal from Prep.

What if my son takes prescription medication, for example for pain or ADHD?

A student taking prescription medication simply needs to provide documentation of the prescription information to the school after the test result is postive for that drug.

Do the screening results appear anywhere on a student’s permanent record?

No. A cumulative student file will contain only an academic transcript, attendance records, educational testing records, parental contact information and required health information. Records related to the student’s drug and alcohol test results and contained in Guidance and Discipline files are destroyed at a specified time after the student graduates from Prep. Guidance and Discipline records are not sent to colleges.

Could the testing procedure lead to a false positive?

Psychemedics participates in proficiency testing and blind-sample testing to test its ability to correctly identify drugs and avoid false positives. They have participated in these programs for many years and have not discovered a false positive result.

They also avoid false positives because of the following aspects of their testing process:

  1. The use of mass spectrometry to identify drugs by their unique molecular fingerprints, so substances cannot be “mistaken” for drugs.
  2. They use a distinct barcode for each sample, which can be scanned at every step to make sure they have the correct sample at all times.
  3. An advantage of hair testing is that Psychemedics can collect another sample for repeat analysis. So, if a donor challenges a result by saying it’s a false positive, the company has a way to resolve it by testing another sample. This has allowed the company to provide the client with the appropriate and accurate rate of the positivity of drug classes.

Can test results be challenged?

Test results may be challenged. There are procedures that allow a retesting of the initial sample.

Can I still seek help from Prep if I have a concern that my son is drinking or using drugs?

Yes, absolutely! Parents/guardians are encouraged to seek help from Prep if they are concerned about their son using drugs or alcohol. Self-reporting by a parent, guardian or student will be treated as a counseling issue unless the reporting is related to a disciplinary incident or disciplinary probation as outlined in Part II of the drug and alcohol policy at Prep.

I'd like to view the survey and data used to make this decision.

View The Nebraska Risk and Protective Factor Student Survey State-Level Data.


Other Health and Wellness Program Components 

1. Performance Enhancing Drug Policy

Any student-athlete who possesses, distributes, ingests or otherwise uses any of the banned substances listed here, without written prescription by a fully-licensed physician to treat a medical condition, violates the Creighton Preparatory School sportsmanship rule, and is subject to the following penalties and procedures  

  • A student who is found to have used a substance on the list of banned drugs, either through random testing or according to the rules of apprehension stated in the Student-Parent Handbook, shall be declared ineligible to participate in Creighton Preparatory School athletics (both NSAA sanctioned sports and club sports), for one calendar year (365 days) after the date of the positive drug test. In order to be reinstated after one calendar year, the student must submit to random testing for the duration of the suspension. A student who fails a drug test during the suspension shall be declared permanently ineligible.  
  • After reinstatement, any student who tests positive a second time for a substance on the list of banned drugs shall be declared permanently ineligible to participate in Creighton Preparatory School athletics (both NSAA sanctioned sports and club sports).  
  • A student who tests positive for any banned substance is also subject to the general school policy on substance abuse as delineated in the Student-Parent Handbook.  
  • A student who tests positive may challenge the finding by following the protocol described in the Student-Parent Handbook. The original specimen, which will be retained by the lab, will then undergo a second analysis. If the second analysis is negative, the student will be immediately reinstated. If the second analysis is also positive, the student will remain suspended and the student or his family will be responsible for the cost of the second analysis. 

2. Fitness for Life Course Sequence

Fitness for Life is an individualized, concepts-based course designed to give students the knowledge and skills necessary for self-assessment, creativity, conduct, evaluation, and designing personal fitness programs. The course is a combination of classroom and activity-based learning activities with a focus on proper nutrition and the mastery of skills necessary for students to take ownership in their personal lifetime fitness. Through participation, students learn to compare the fitness benefits in a variety of individual and team activities. Students should feel free to participate and explore without the fear of failure, harm or ridicule.

Fitness for Life II is offered to juniors and seniors who have successfully completed Fitness for Life I. Students will participate in an advanced strength and conditioning program that includes speed, agility, coordination and power. Students will develop a nine-week program that will emphasize those skills, master proper safety technique and understand proper body movement. Collaboration with the instructor and classmates will be promoted through relevant projects, activities and instruction.

3. Concussion Policy - Return to Activity

Creighton Prep follows LB260, the Concussion Awareness Act, which took effect July 1, 2012. This act states that all athletes suspected of having sustained a concussion in practice or competition will be removed from play. The athlete’s parents will be notified immediately and the athlete will be unable to return to play until he is cleared by a licensed medical professional. The licensed medical professional and the parent must provide written permission to Return to Play.

In August 2014, Creighton Prep added a Return to Learn protocol that will provide short term or longer term academic support for students recovering from a concussion.

Licensed medical professional is defined as a physician or a licensed practitioner under the direct supervision of a physician. This includes a certified athletic trainer, a neuropsychologist or some other qualified individual who is (a) registered, licensed, certified or otherwise statutorily recognized by the State of Nebraska to provide health care services and (b) trained in the evaluation and management of traumatic brain injuries among a pediatric population.

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