West Springfield school takes initiative to reduce drug abuse

Regular drug screenings could soon be at local schools

WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A new bill, which could become law soon, is looking to screen middle and high school students for signs of substance abuse.

The West Springfield Middle School is taking preventative measures by creating a dialogue for its students, to help prevent them from trying drugs.

As an initiative to reduce drug abuse, the Director of Health Services for the West Springfield Public Schools Christine Viens told 22News the dialogue started last fall, prior to the legislature passing an opioid bill.

Viens said Governor Charlie Baker is requiring schools to screen students. The screening is called SBIRT, and it stands for Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment.

She said starting in middle school may prevent future drug abuse. “We want to re-enforce positive behavior. We want to provide education for risky behavior and perhaps impact the student’s motivation for changing that behavior.”

Viens said the dialogue is helping to create a safe place for students. The district will be part of a state wide training on preventative measures to keep kids from using drugs.

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