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High Schools Test Athletes For Synthetic Marijuana

Starting this season, high school athletes in Hall County schools will be subject to random tests for synthetic marijuana. Hall County is the first school system in Georgia to undertake screening for this dangerous and widespread designer drug. A spokesman for Hall County, Gordon Higgins, said the drug testing lab the school uses has added the test to those already routinely conducted.

Athletes as well as student drivers have been subject to random drug tests since 2004.  The decision to add testing for synthetic pot was made after it has become illegal in Georgia following a Channel 2 News investigation.  Synthetic marijuana has been the cause of two deaths in the state, according to the medical examiner’s office of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

The cost of the testing will be covered by gate and concession revenues from games. The principal at Flowery Branch High School, Mark Coleman, said the school wants to do whatever it can to help parents ensure the students are making good choices.

The athletes who will not pass a drug test for synthetic pot will be suspended not only from games but practices also. One of the players, Gabriel Takacs, says that it is a good idea that gives an incentive not to use drugs because of possible consequences. Head football coach Chris Griffin said that he wants the best for all the players, and to give them every opportunity to make good choices and succeed.

School officials said last year only two students out of 1,200 tested positive for drugs.  Neither was an athlete.