Police and school officials alike have had trouble stemming drug use and drug trafficking in Fairfax County schools.Nobody has found a solution, but the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has started looking for one by forming a large, countywide committee to study drug use among students.
The board voted 7-0 Monday to establish the 18-member committee on a motionby Supervisor John P. Shaochis (R-Dranesville). Individuals have not been named, but the committee will include parents, students and representatives from the juvenile courts, police, schools, the county's medical, legal and church communities and the board of supervisors.
"Nobody's brought all these groups together before to study the problem in a coordinated effort," said supervisor Marie B. Travesky (R-Springfield). "We (the supervisors) have let the schools handle the problem before on their own, but it just hasn't solved the problem."
Last month, school and police officials revealed they had placed "one or two" undercover agents in unspecified Fairfax schools this year in an effort to reduce drug use and sales in the schools.
The size and scope of the drug problem is an undetermined factor.
"We consider the problem to be serious," said Fairfax Schools Associate Superintendent Barry Morris, "It's more accepted now than in the past, so my guess is that more teenagers are involved with drugs than before. I wouldn't say the problem is any worse than two years ago, for example, but it is a continuing problem and we need to step up our efforts against it."
He said he "wholeheartedly supported" the board's action as a means of increasing parental and community attention to drug use.
Travesky said the committee, called the drug/alcohol awareness committee, probably would work during the summer so the school board can consider its findings next fall.
The committee will make recommendations for possible solutions to drug use, including additional local ordinances and state laws, budget appropriations and drug awareness programs.