The United States Supreme Court ruled, in a 5-to-4 decision, that public schools have the right to randomly drug test students participating in extracurricular activities (Knight & Mears, 2007). Those that support random drug testing say that the threat of being selected for random testing deters students from using drugs (Pediatricians oppose, 2015). However, investigators have recorded similar drug use rates in schools with and without drug-testing policies. Drug testing has shown some promise in decreasing the use of drugs in the military and work establishments, but there is little, if any, information to support student drug testing effectiveness (Bukstein, 2004). More research is needed on the safety and effectiveness of drug testing before it is enforced in public schools (Knight & Mears, 2007).
The British Crime Survey reported that 28% of 16-24-year-olds were the most likely age group to use drugs. The Department of Health’s school children survey found that 21% of students had used drugs within the last year, with 12% using drugs in the past month (Gerada & Gilvarry, 2005). In 2007, it was reported that students who were more likely to participate in illegal activities, use drugs, drink, or smoke, were students that considered themselves to be more popular than their peers. Today, more than 50% of high school students have used an illicit drug by the end of high school (Young, 2010).
The most common drug testing method is taking a urine sample, but other methods include taking blood, saliva, hair, and sweat (Gerada & Gilvarry, 2005). However, in order to ensure that the sample taken has not been tampered with, urination must be observed by an official, which can be embarrassing for e...
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...t detected by screening tests. Although, no studies have been conducted on this issue (Knight & Mears, 2007).
Random drug testing alone will not identify or treat all adolescents who would benefit from early detection and intervention. A supportive environment that has the capability to link students to counselors and other health services (Gerada & Gilvarry, 2005). Any federal support for student drug testing needs to include resources for treatment after testing. Positive testing should lead to early rehabilitation and treatment instead of punishment alone (Knight & Mears, 2007). Submitting an adolescent to drug testing causes a loss of trust between the student and their school. Until more research has been conducted on the impact of student drug testing, schools should institute preventative counselors and treatment upon self-reporting (Gerada & Gilvarry, 2005).
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