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Free Drug Screening Offered For San Diego County Teens

According to the Center for Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, 75 percent of high-school students have used addictive substances. The San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency has funded a new program to try and combat teen drug-use in the county. Four San Diego rehab programs will now provide free, initial drug tests for teenagers.

One of the rehab centers that will provide free drug screening is The McAlister Institute. Jeanne McAlister founded the institute more than 35 years ago, and has been sober for more than 50 years. She said her program is to help adults and children reconnect to family and reality.

Patrick Foley, a program manager at McAlister, counsels children as young as 12. He said drinking, smoking pot and taking prescription drugs from parents is on the rise, and kids are using drugs for longer periods of time.

“A lot of time what we see at drug treatment is that the parents are so devastated because, when it comes to a head, they’ve been lied to a lot longer than they thought,” Foley said.

The free tests are also available at Mental Health Systems, Palavara Tree and Phoenix House.

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