Reasons for Student Drug Testing
From the Drug Free America Website
- Testing gives
students a chance to say "no" when approached
to use drugs.
- Random drug
testing applies only to students who
voluntarily choose to participate in athletic
and extracurricular activities. Student
athletes and students in extracurricular
activities take leadership roles in the school
community and, as role models, should be drug
free. Student drug testing helps ensure this.
The courts have permitted this because these
are voluntary activities that the schools can
set conditions on.
- It is critical
to deter drug use during school years because
kids on dope can't learn. If kids can't learn,
how will they succeed in life? Random drug
testing deters student drug use as it deters
drug use in the workplace.
- Random student
drug testing is important because children
become addicted more rapidly than adults and
their recovery is less likely.
- Students have
a right to safe and drug-free learning
environments. School administrators need
reasonable tools to stop drug users and drug
dealers from ruining school for everyone.
- Testing gives
parents an opportunity for intervention and
treatment. Parents have the right to send
their kids to drug-free schools. The thought
of sending their kids to a school where drugs
are rampant scares parents. Drug testing helps
keep our kids safe.
- The intent of
this program is not to punish students. The
goal is for the drug user to straighten his or
her life out. The schools use drug testing as
a tool to deter drug use and help students to
get drug education and/or counseling. The
results are not turned over to law
- Drug testing
is a standard procedure that most people will
experience at some point in their lives either
at their doctor's office or when applying for
a job. Certainly, athletes who want to compete
at the collegiate or Olympic level should get
used to the idea of drug testing.
For the result
achieved, drug testing is very inexpensive. For
example, it is estimated we spend $700 on
equipment to protect a football player. A drug
test only costs somewhere between $10 and $30
and provides protection for the football
player's health. Any school that receives
federal education funding is permitted to use
federal funds for drug testing. A recent federal
law entitled "The Leave No Child Behind Act"
(HR 1) specifically authorizes the expenditure
of federal education funds for student drugs
Is this program fair to all students?
Schools want to
be proactive in preventing drug use among
students. Drug testing is a proven deterrent to
illicit drug use. Kids know they have nothing to
worry about if they don't use illegal drugs. It
couldn't be a simpler or fairer system.
Are the tests accurate and confidential?
If schools follow
basic drug testing procedures students will
donate the urine specimen in a private rest room
area and there are strict confidentiality
procedures that govern the transportation of the
specimen and the releasing of test results. No
one wants to unfairly accuse a student of drug
use. The drug testing procedures in place today
eliminate the possibility of a false positive.
First, there is a screening test that is then
confirmed by a more sensitive test. If the
confirmation test is positive it is then
reviewed by a physician trained in drug testing
who then contacts the student to see if there is
a legitimate medical reason for the positive
Doesn't drug testing create an
accusatory attitude that will breed distrust or
further alienate students and adults?
It's not a trust
issue, it's a health and safety issue. As we
said when dealing with the Soviet Union during
the Cold War - "trust but verify. We are talking
about kids here. We must protect them. Schools
that have drug testing programs report that the
school atmosphere becomes more positive. In
addition, drug test results are used for
counseling purposes and are not turned over to
Will students who test positive have
their future prospects in college and in the
workplace compromised by the test results?
No. Drug test
results are kept confidential and federal law
prevents them from being released outside the
school. The results do not follow the student
once he or she leaves high school. See, the
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
Why test athletes and students in
extracurricular activities? Doesn't this
discourage students from participating in
extracurricular activities and sports?
The experience of
the schools who implement drug testing show that
students do not stop being athletes or
participating in extracurricular activities. In
fact, many report these experiences improve
because they are drug free.
By testing athletes and student in
extracurricular activities aren't you testing
the wrong kids?
even athletes and students involved in
extracurricular activities use illegal drugs.
Schools that test athletes and students in
extracurricular activities experience an overall
decline in drug use among all students. This is
in part due to the role model effect that kids
will follow leaders such as athletes and
students in extracurricular activities. Schools
that test also have a decline in drug use
incidents. Violence and other disruptions
decrease and the faculty feels less threatened
because students are not using drugs. Students
and faculty report better morale. Athletic
performance is enhanced by being drug and
Why test kids in the chess club or the
In order for the
testing to have the best deterrent effect we
must reach as may kids as possible. It is naive
to think that kids in the chess club or the
choir do not use drugs.