GLSH students participate in voluntary drug testing program

A life can be lost in a second. Those who pledge to be drug free also pledge to be alive. For the past year, Greater Latrobe Senior High School has been participating in Pledge Together, a voluntary drug screening program for students in sixth through twelfth grade. Remembering ADAM, Inc. was established in October of 1998 by Debbie and Denny Fowler, in remembrance of their son Adam Fowler.

Through Remembering ADAM, Inc., Pledge Together was created to “to create environmental change that will promote healthy decisions and behaviors regarding substance use” according to the website

Adam became a statistic too young. He lived in the rural town of Carrolltown, Pennsylvania where he was involved in baseball, wrestling, and other extracurricular activities. Adam, who was very close with his family, just entered college and was planning to pursue a career in business management. Prior to his death he spent the weekend picnicking with his family and making plans for the summer. On May 19, 1998, Adam was found in his room, dead of a heroin overdose.

“Losing my son was the worst day of my life, but something positive has come out of this horrible tragedy.  We have helped thousands of students stay drug free and that is very rewarding for me,” said Debbie Fowler.

Last year approximately 1,400 students participated throughout 12 school districts in five counties and each year the number of participants increases. Greater Latrobe adopted the program in the year of 2013.

At Latrobe, in the first year approximately 80 students participated in the program. Approximately 45 students were chosen to be tested. Every randomly tested student passed, proving that they were drug free.

Names of participating students are entered into a drawing. At random times and days, names are drawn by a school advisor. The volunteers are notified and tested within the day. Also random is the substance for which they are tested: amphetamines, benzodiazepines, marijuana, cocaine, opiates, ecstasy, or alcohol.

Junior Ryan Mattioli participated in the program this past year and was chosen to be screened. “I was tested for alcohol, they just swabbed my mouth. I passed the test and they gave me a tee shirt,” said Ryan.

Results are shared with the parent/legal guardian of the student. If the student passes the screening, he or she receives an award certificate and a Remembering ADAM volunteer drug screening tee shirt. A failed test results in a second screening. If the second screening is failed, the parent/legal guardian of the student is notified and an appointment with the Remembering ADAM school advisor is scheduled.

Contrary to popular belief, this program is not punitive. “We don’t want to catch anyone doing drugs. This shows that the majority of our students at Greater Latrobe are drug free,” according to Mr.Shivetts. The program sets a good example for other students, showing pride in not participating in high risk activities.

“When I get a chance to speak with students in the program my heart sings with joy knowing they have taken a stand to be drug free and we have helped them along the way,” said Debbie Fowler.