Authorities in Suffolk County are handing out the kits as a way to keep kids safe.Parents picked up them up at high schools around the county, as students prepare for their proms. West Islip senior Kim DeRosa is excited for her upcoming prom, but she and her brother say they're nervous about irresponsible teens drinking and driving. "I know that there's definitely pressure for kids in high school," said Kim. "I don't think kids understand the dangers of drinking,: said her brother Brian, a sophomore. "When they go to parties, they think they'll be okay and then they get home and they're not okay." The Suffolk County Sheriff's Office is giving out the kits to get ahead of the problem. It involves taking out a swab and putting it under the tongue. Once it's saturated, you compare the color on the swab to the scale of the approximate blood alcohol content on the back of the packet. The program is being funded by money seized from drug dealers. "One kid drinking and driving is too many," said Sheriff Vincent DeMarco of the county sheriff's department. "We've had enough tragedy here in Suffolk County, and we needed to give parents a tool to open the dialogue between them and their children." Last July in Mastic, a 17-year old accused of driving drunk killed two of his friends when he crashed his car into a fence and some trees. It's the type of tragedy DeMarco is hoping to avoid in providing the kits, defeating drunk driving one swab at a time. The kits are being given out in West Islip, and district officials say it's a way to keep kids safe.
The Suffolk County Sheriff's Office will also have drug testing kits available.
The sheriff will be at the West Islip High School Tuesday, in advance of the district's pre-prom parent meeting, to introduce the alcohol test kit that will be given out as part of the "Test, Don't Guess" initiative.
The alcohol test kits were purchased with monies seized from drug dealers and represents another tool for parents to help keep their teens safe and monitor their behavior.