"Kentucky is leading the nation in student drug testing," Ramage said.
In Clark County, students in sixth through 12th grades who participate in sports, extracurricular activities, or drive to school can be screened. If they test positive, they can be suspended or banned from driving to school or participating in extracurricular activities.
Premier Drug Testing will screen students for alcohol and 10 types of illegal substances, including marijuana, cocaine, barbiturates, tranquilizers, methadone and prescription drugs like codeine, hydrocodone and oxycodone.
Parents and students must acknowledge in writing that they have read the policy and procedures before the student joins an activity, or before they are permitted to drive to school and park on school property.
"Statewide, they don't quit (sports)," Ramage said. "They want to play - they quit the drugs."
Ramage said his company has safeguards in place to protect students from false positive results. Collectors go through a rigorous training process, and urine samples are not tested if there is any indication they have been tampered with.
To ensure students do not dilute their urine samples with water, the water in the toilet will be dyed blue, and all other water sources in the bathroom will be taped up, Ramage said.
Urine samples will be labeled with a bar code that matches one on the form completed for each student. Both students and collectors must watch the sample be sealed and placed into a plastic bag to confirm it was done correctly. Male students will be paired with male collectors, and female students with female collectors.
Once the lab receives the samples, Premier will have the test results within 24 hours.
Premier will come to Clark County six times each school year, testing approximately 45 students each time. The process will take three hours, Ramage said, with each collection taking between four and five minutes.
"We are committed to making sure their time out of class is minimal," Ramage said.
Students experiencing a "shy bladder" will be given water and extra time to go, but if they can't produce a sample, it will be considered a refusal unless they get an excuse from a physician.
If a student tests positive for any prescription drugs, his or her parents will be contacted to confirm that it is the result of a valid prescription. A medical review officer will contact the student's pharmacy to verify the information, and the student will be issued a negative result.
Ramage said students have contested positive test results, but none have been reversed.
Each school will provide Premier with a list of students who are eligible for testing, and the company will use a computer program to randomly select students. Each student who participates in sports, band or other clubs will be on the list once, regardless of how many extracurricular activities he or she participates in.
Athletes will remain on the list throughout the year - even when their sport isn't in season.
The school will not know which students have been chosen until the day of testing. Students will not know testing dates, but Ramage said they will generally occur at the beginning, middle and end of each semester.
The company will charge $25 per drug test and $45 per alcohol test. A minimum of 240 tests must be conducted yearly for the district to secure that price. Testing will be funded by a $20,000 donation from Central Baptist Church in Winchester, which should carry the district through at least three years of the program.
Assistant Superintendent Paul Christy, who is in charge of the program at a district level, said parents of students not involved in activities will eventually be allowed to enter their children into the testing pool.
"We're going to get it (testing) started as soon as we can get it going," Christy said.