HUDSON, Ohio — Dozens of students lined the halls of Hudson High School Tuesday morning to take a test.
The test only had one question: Are you drug-free?
"It's like reverse peer pressure," said senior Nicole Jurado. "Make it cool to not do drugs.
Jurado helps to lead a student-run organization that's part of a national program called, Drug Free Clubs of America. Students volunteer to take urine drug tests at the beginning of the year, and agree to random drug tests throughout the year. Nurses from Akron Children's Hospital spent all day at the school gathering and testing urine samples for drug use.
In return for their participation, students receive prizes in school, like candy and snacks, along with chances to win Apple Air Pods in a raffle. Club membership also comes with a photo identification card, which can be used for discounts at several local businesses, such as Gionino's Pizzeria, where members can get a 20-percent discount on pizza.
"It's students, it's parents, it's administrators, it's community members, it's our business leaders, our church community, " said Joe Schuch, the program's faculty adviser. "It requires everyone to buy in, in order to be successful," he said.
The genesis of the school's program is steeped in sorrow. Following the deaths of 5 recent Hudson High School graduates from opioid overdoses within several consecutive years, the school knew it had to do something.
It launched Drug Free Clubs in 2016, and recruited about 400 students. This year, the program has more than 900 participants -- about 75-percent of the student body, which is the highest rate of member-school participation in the country.
The program's approach matters. Students are the ones who are motivating their peers to stay drug-free.
"It's not like a D.A.R.E [Drug Abuse Resistance Education] officer telling kids not to do this, and not to do that, which honestly, I zoned out," confessed senior Hunter Trautmann. "When I got my peers coming up... I think, maybe I should listen," he said.
Results from the drug tests remain confidential among parents and their children. Neither the school nor police is notified of positive test results.
The program at the school costs about $50,000 to operate, and all of it is funded by community donations. Students each pay $20 to participate, which helps to cover the cost of the drug tests. However, students said the membership savings at local businesses is worth much more.
Schuch acknowledged that there will always be a part of the student population that will use drugs, and another part which never will. However, he hopes to reach the students in the middle who are undecided.
"If we can keep them from using in the first place, that's the power," he said.