Stone County Launches Operation Peace Of Mind - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

07/22/03

Stone County Launches Operation Peace Of Mind

"You can take the kit home and test the child in the privacy of your own home," Stone County Sheriff Mike Ballard told parents Bernice Nicholson and Sharon Parker.

Ballard says the two test kits are a simple, painless and inexpensive way to let parents know if their kids are using drugs or alcohol. One test requires collecting a urine sample.

"Turn it upside down, ten seconds. Stand it back up on a flat surface and in five minutes you will have the results of that test," Ballard says.

The sheriff's department is also offering a small alcohol breathalyzer for at home testing. If the crystals inside turn blue, the person is legally drunk. Ballard says it's up to parents to decide what to do if their kids test positive.

"We can tell you what steps are available as far as places that will counsel children, private hospitals and so forth."

Bernice Nicholson knows how drugs can destroy families. Her son Vincent is serving a six year drug sentence in the Stone County jail.

"My son, he's been on drugs a long time and he's in jail on drug charges and those drugs causes him, just one little bit, causes him six years in prison."

Nicholson has a foster daughter and she doesn't want her to fall into the same trap.

"I think this kit is a good thing. That way you can find out for yourself and you can get help for them. I have a foster child and she's 11 years old and I don't want this to happen to her," Nicholson says.

Sharon Parker's two girls are 11 and 13. She's concerned about peer pressure her girls feel everyday.

"We've not had any indication whatsoever that something like this is needed in our home but it makes me feel secure that if I ever do feel like we need to take precautionary steps or check something out we'll be able to."

The drug kits are available at the sheriff's department. Brochures promoting them will be distributed throughout the county and city of Wiggins. The drug testing kit costs $7.50 and the alcohol test kit is $2.00. The sheriff's department is buying the kits at cost, and is making no profit on them.

byMarcia Hill

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