The Case for Student Drug Testing
Some people see drug testing of high school students as an invasion of privacy, while others see it as a smart prevention technique. When considering the question of should high school athletes be drug tested, the law is on the side of proponents. For those who believe that any strategy that helps prevent the devastation or drug abuse and addiction in young people should be used, drug testing in schools is a no-brainer.
Student Drug Testing and the Law
The law is on the side of those who support student drug testing, at least in certain cases. Schools are allowed to test any student who participates in a competitive extracurricular activity. This most often refers to sports, but it can also mean school clubs and organizations that engage in competitions, like a debate team. Drug testing can be done two different ways. Schools are allowed to randomly test students, but they can also target students when there is reasonable suspicion of drug abuse.
Drug Testing as Prevention
How many teens die from drugs every year? No matter what the exact number is, the answer is too many. The No. 1 reason to use drug testing in schools is to prevent substance abuse, which can lead to drug overdoses, fatal accidents, addiction, legal problems, reduced academic performance and a number of other issues. While it is currently legal to test only certain students, proponents of this prevention technique would like to see all students randomly tested. The idea is that when students know they could be tested at any time and that a positive test would result in consequences, they will be much less likely to experiment with drugs.
Drug Testing Reduces Marijuana Use
Marijuana may not be the most addictive substance, but research shows that people who start using it as teens are much more likely to become addicted than those who started later in life. The best approaches for teen marijuana dependency involve prevention. Keeping teens from experimenting with this common drug will prevent thousands from becoming addicted later in life. Studies have shown that using random drug tests in schools does reduce the use of marijuana.
Drug Testing Is Just One Puzzle Piece
Evidence on the effectiveness of drug testing to reduce drug use in schools is hit or miss. It has been proven to reduce marijuana use, but not necessarily the use of other illicit drugs. What we know for sure is that drug testing and punitive measures cannot be used as the sole method of drug use prevention in schools. It is simply one piece of the puzzle that can help reduce substance abuse and save young lives. Along with education, improvement of the school environment, changing perceptions and other measures, drug testing can help keep teens safe.