In the past, we've supported random drug testing for safety workers
and athletes but have been doubtful about the intrusiveness, costs and
fairness of broad-based student testing. Those remain valid concerns.
But so do the societal costs of drug use, which — like smoking —
almost always begins during the teen years. Federal figures show that
almost 5% of 12-to-17-year-olds abused or were dependent on an illicit
substance in 2005 — more than 1 million kids.
The most popular illicit drug, marijuana, is more potent and
dangerous today than it was a generation ago. Yet months or years can
pass before even the most involved parents realize a child is using
drugs, by which time treatment is much tougher.
Drug testing in schools might close that gap. White House drug czar
John Walters says testing is the single most important step schools
can take, and it's becoming increasingly hard to dismiss
administrators who say that testing works for them and can be done
fairly cost effectively (Scottsbluff spends about $11,000 a year to
randomly test roughly a quarter of the student body)." [USAT]
We agree. Want to learn how to start your own random drug
testing program? Click