Pros and Cons Of Mandatory Drug Screening In Schools [Know The Amazing Benefits!]

Pros and Cons Of Mandatory Drug Screening In Schools [Know The Amazing Benefits!]

Mandatory Drug Screening in schools helps the student to get rid of using harmful drugs. If we want to make strong our young generation, it is necessary to do drug testing in schools.

Recently, there has been a significant rise in substance use among teenagers. Research by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) found that more than 20% of 8th graders have consumed an illegal substance at least once, and 11% of 12th graders are addicted to any one of the illegal substances. 

It is one of the biggest problems we face as a society since these drugs are wreaking havoc on our younger generation. Many public schools have begun implementing mandatory drug testing policies for their student body to combat this issue. 

The 5-panel drug test is often used to detect substance use within schools. Yet, the effectiveness of these programs is still not apparent.

 In this article, we will analyze the boon and bane of mandatory drug testing to determine whether it should be compulsory for every school to install these programs.

The Effectiveness of Mandatory Drug Tests

A report based on the Psychological Corporation’s Drug Testing and Workplace Screening Study found that mandatory student drug testing programs are ineffective at catching drug use. 

The report used a drug test called the 5-panel metabolite urinalysis to test how effective these programs detected students who used drugs. But, the test results show that very few students were using drugs at school. 

The study found that less than 2% of students tested positive for drug use, and even if all students are subject to testing, it would only detect about 25% of those using drugs. The results are consistent with other research conducted on drug use in schools. 

A study by the University of Michigan found that mandatory random drug tests did not decrease substance abuse problems in high school students. Yet, it did reduce the amount of drinking and marijuana use among those who identified themselves as substance abusers. 

Moreover, certain negatives and positives come with these programs. For example, one study found that mandatory drug testing at school increased the dropout rate by 0.8% among seniors who participated in the program. Yet, another study showed no significant differences between schools with and without student drug testing.

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Pros and Cons Of Mandatory Drug Screening In Schools [Know The Amazing Benefits!]

Why is it Important to Drug Screening in Schools?

Though drug testing may appear intrusive and distasteful to some, drug screening serves an important purpose of making sure students remain safe at school. 

The role of a school isn’t just a place to anchor education and learning but also as an additional home that will ensure that students are safe and offer them an uninvolved and safe learning environment.

Random drug tests could be a way of opening doors and providing assistance to those who may already be a victim of using drugs. Early intervention in drug abuse could mean a treatment program in the early stages.

Well-documented is the rise in drug addiction among young people. The main reasons for the use of drugs among students are:

  • Curiosity
  • Peer pressure
  • Away from the issue
  • Traumas psychological
  • Parents exposed to an addiction history
  • Severe trauma or injury
  • Mental health

Here are some of the benefits of testing for drugs at schools:

  • The identification of the most commonly abused drugs
  • Detaining offenders could result in drug smugglers being identified
  • The purpose of reaching out to activities and programs to help victims of addiction to drugs.
  • More protection and safety at school
  • Reduce influence and peer pressure to take drugs
  • Manpower is provided to establish an environment that is drug-free
  • Help students learn and empower them to live a happy and healthy life

Pros and Cons of Mandatory Drug Screening In Schools

Despite these conflicting results, most public schools still use mandatory drug testing programs. But, we need to be careful before we put these programs in place to see if they are effective or not. 

If we decide that they are ineffective and should not be mandatory in our schools, students who currently use drugs will be exposed due to the drug test

It could lead to an increase in substance abuse problems in our schools and community. But, if the tests are effective and mandatory drug testing should be implemented in our schools, we must consider the positives and negatives. 

Pros of Drug Testing

#1. Promotes a feeling of safety

If mandatory drug testing effectively deters drug use, it could give parents and students a feeling of safety if they know there are random drug tests. They can stop worrying about their children or loved ones being exposed to drugs at school. 

Moreover, by implementing the drug testing policy, teachers and administrators will be better able to detect students who are using drugs. It could help the school deter student drug use and substance abuse problems.

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#2. Aid in proper counseling

One of the positives of mandatory drug testing is that it can help promote counseling and rehabilitation programs at schools. Students who test positive must go through a proper rehabilitation program to graduate. 

For example, if students test positive for marijuana, they could be required to attend counseling sessions. During these sessions, teachers and administrators could promote group discussions on the dangers of drugs in our society. 

It is an effective way to promote substance abuse awareness within our school community and help prevent addiction problems in the future.

#3. Deal with problems students

One of the biggest concerns facing schools is their ability to deal with high-risk students. Many are exposed to drugs and alcohol but are ignored or accepted by the school administrators. 

Yet, mandatory drug testing can help prevent this scenario from happening in schools. When students test positive for drug use, the teachers and administrators will understand their situation. 

They will be able to determine if the student is a problem and needs help to avoid substance abuse problems in the future.

#4. Testing Can Help Athletes

Studies of over 4,700 high school athletes found that 16% of students who attend schools with mandatory drug tests admitted to using substances within 30 days. 

This is in contrast with 22% of high school students who were not subjected to testing, according to the Institute of Education Sciences. This suggests a positive impact of testing programs to deter abuse and use of substances. 

The research also looked into how mandatory drug screening might influence student participation in school athletics. While mandatory testing for drugs may keep teens from experimenting with illicit substances, it does not seem to prevent athletes from playing sports that require mandatory screening.

#5. Knowledge Is Power

But, it is always better to remain aware of the facts than uninformed. If your child is engaging in substance use, the sooner you can assist in solving their issues. Conducting drug tests can provide you with the necessary information to tackle the issue in an appropriate and beneficial manner.

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#6. A Way to Say No

Peer pressure can be a huge issue for students. Although it’s simple to say no to taking drugs if they are at home as well as away from peers, refusing to do so at the moment is more challenging. It doesn’t mean your student is weak or is not a person of moral character. 

It is simply a matter of an inherent human character that is influenced by the group. If your teenagers are pushed to take drugs by others, they may declare, “My parent’s drug test me,” to provide an easy and efficient way to get out.

Pros and Cons Of Mandatory Drug Screening In Schools [Know The Amazing Benefits!]

Cons of Drug Testing

#1. Invasive and violates students’ right to privacy

One of the biggest problems surrounding mandatory drug testing is violating students’ right to privacy. School officials should not force students to give up their private information for tests.

While the tests are not invasive, they can cause harm to students with prescription drugs and medical problems. 

Moreover, since school officials might share students’ test results with all the teachers and administrators, this could lead to unnecessary embarrassment for students and their families. 

#2. It might serve as punishment for an activity outside the campus

One of the cons of mandatory drug testing is that it can act as a form of punishment for an action outside the school campus. In some cases, students choose to take part in drug use outside school. 

Yet, this is not their fault, and if the drug test catches them, the school might punish the student by suspending or expelling them. While this may be effective in preventing drug use among students, it might not be a fair decision.

#3. Need funding

Mandatory drug testing programs can be expensive. If every student needs a mandatory drug test every year, it would require a lot of funding.

Schools may need to cover the cost of hiring more staff responsible for administering these tests and supervising students who test positive. The extra spending is not worth the benefits that it can bring.

Drug Screening in High School Students

It seemed like a good idea at first when I heard it: drug testing for teens in high school! But it’s a concept that’s encased in controversy. 

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Although substance use has declined over the last decade, over 10% of America’s teenagers reported taking illegal drugs. 

I would like to learn about both sides of this sometimes controversial issue because I am very worried about any consequences our kids may experience from using illegal drugs.

So let’s see the benefits and drawbacks of mandatory drug screening in high school:

Pros of Drug Testing High School Students

1. Random Tests Discourage Drug Use

If students are aware that they may be tested for drug use anytime, it is a powerful dissuasion to engage in the use of drugs. 

In a subtle way, a routine drug screening policy helps children who are being pressured by peers to take drugs. So it gives them an easy way to refuse to use substances.

2. Identifying Students in Need of Help

Screening for drugs is usually only one aspect of the larger system. A program that includes prevention as well as intervention, counseling, and a treatment program synergistically designed to fight the use of drugs by students. 

When a student’s test is positive, it’s suggested that schools concentrate on helping students manage their use rather than punishing them.

3. Evidence Leans Towards Effectiveness

The random drug testing that schools conduct is designed to reduce illegal drug use. But the question is: is it really effective? Although the evidence of its effectiveness is inconsistent, the Supreme Court has stood by the decision to allow schools to test for drugs randomly. 

A recent study suggests that testing for drugs can actually help. Research by the National Center for Education Evaluation indicates that extracurricular activity participants attending schools with drug testing programs had lower drug usage levels compared with students attending schools without screening programs.

Cons of Testing HS Students

1. The Cost of Testing

As schools across the country are cutting budgets, the cost of testing for drugs could be a burden for schools that are struggling. 

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Sharon Levy of the American Academy of Pediatrics estimates that just one positive out of every 125 students screened, which is an average of $3000 for each positive test. These funds could be allocated to programs to prevent disease.

2. Focusing on The Wrong Area

Studies have proven that engaging children in extracurricular activities is one of the most effective strategies against substance abuse. 

If schools focus on involving students in an authentic high school experience, it can provide the possibility of setting children up to make healthy decisions across all areas of their lives. Focusing on this holistic strategy could eventually prevent more children from engaging in illegal drug use.

3. Drugs are not the Core Problem.

Teen substance abuse often results from difficult family dynamics or an inability to develop healthy relationships. Teens struggling with addiction frequently turn to drugs as a source of relief.

 When teen drug users are punished and put in danger of, academic damage increases, thereby creating a vicious cycle of addiction as well as low self-esteem.

 Prevention and treatment should be the first priority, whether or not a test for drugs. But focusing on the negative aspects of those who have positive tests or making moral judgments about their conduct could result in a negative outcome.

Pros and Cons Of Mandatory Drug Screening In Schools [Know The Amazing Benefits!]

Ethics on Drug Screening in Schools

Pros:

  • Drug testing reduces the likelihood of students getting involved in trouble later on. Teens screened positive for drugs may also have the opportunity to enter rehabilitation centers before it’s too late.
  • The outcome of the drug test, according to the request of the subject, remains confidential. Even if a test is positive, the result is confidential and not revealed to the entire class or to the general public. Also, the list of students confirmed to be positive on the news media.
  • Testing for drugs helps students overcome addiction at the point they are found to have a positive test for illicit substances. In this way, they get the chance to relive their life normally and to become productive people in the near future.

Cons:

  • The requirement to test for drugs, whether it is mandatory, has been thought of as a violation of ethics. One study from The Journal of Drug Education (2005) indicated that high school students required to submit to drug tests before participating in extracurricular activities were judged lower overall. 
  • Although not all students engage in drug use during other activities, drug screening often creates the impression that all sporting participants use substances, creating the belief that every sports activity participant may also use illegal substances.
  • Random drug tests can infringe on the privacy of people who may be taking frenzied medication due to medical ailments. If someone finds positive with the testing kits for identifying drugs, the person could be required to justify the condition in order to justify their use of the drug. The situation could be uncomfortable and judgemental for the individual.
  • The school drug test isn’t always in line with the opinions of a few students. In addition, when random testing is conducted without notice, it is a very unpleasant shock that can cause other students to skip other meetings or tasks that are more important. Experts know that this could create anger and wrath that can cause one to commit inappropriate actions.

Why Do Middle Schoolers Need Drug Tests?

A study that lasted six years that included New Jersey adolescents shows that random drug testing for middle schoolers could help them avoid misuse of substances. 

According to the principal research scientist Dan Cassino, when middle-school students are tested for drugs, they become aware of the possibility of getting identified. He noted that random drug testing could help prevent addiction to drugs, even though it could be expensive.

Should Schools Perform Drug Screens on Students?

Yes, schools should perform mandatory drug screens on students. Testing for drugs is now a standard procedure in certain sectors of society, ranging from coaches and athletes to professionals across a variety of fields.

Recently, schools have begun implementing random drug testing programs at both high schools and middle schools to address concerns over students taking illegal substances. 

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The testing of drugs is done in a normal manner, for example, prior to selecting someone for a position. Teachers in some schools are drug tested and have had positive results.

Testing may also be conducted on a person if the drug usage is suspected due to suspicious behavior or the actions of the individual. Another alternative is to conduct random tests that can be performed at any moment with no prior notice. 

Are Drug Tests A Good Way To Keep Kids Off Drugs?

Yes, drug tests are a good way to keep kids off drugs. According to the US Office of National Drug Control Policy, random drug testing at schools can be useful in curbing drug abuse among teens, specifically smoking among 13-year-olds (which fell from 35.9 percent to 24.4 percent, alcohol use between 39.9 and 30 percent, and marijuana usage ranging between 18.5%-11.85%).

Furthermore, adolescents who were tested randomly for drug use had a lower chance of abusing these substances in the future. 

Testing for drugs may be used to determine an addiction issue for employees or students and allow them to receive the help they require to attain sobriety. 

A quick detection of addiction is best when it is followed up with the right treatment methods and techniques.

Will Drug Screening Reduce Drug Use Among Teenagers?

No, drug screening won’t totally reduce drug use among teenagers. Based on a survey, the idea of testing for drugs did not stop students in high school from using cigarettes, alcohol, or marijuana. 

Supreme court decisions on testing for drugs in schools. Acton was the legal foundation for the student drug test in 1995. In this landmark case, the Supreme Court upheld a school policy requiring athletes to undergo urine tests before participating in extracurricular activities.

Do reasonable suspicions, as well as random testing for drug use, infringe on the rights of students? Every student has the right to voice their displeasure with the testing of drugs. 

There are particular considerations, such as your state’s laws. You or your teenager might be entitled to legitimately challenge the results of a drug test in your institution.

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Schools might choose to spend their money to engage in activities confirmed to stop the use of drugs or addiction. As an example, a huge study suggests that extracurricular activities can reduce the likelihood of using substances among teenagers.

Conclusion

Mandatory drug screening can help schools reduce student drug problems like smoking on the one hand, but it could also lead to potential substance abuse problems in the future on the other. 

Thus, schools should not implement mandatory random drug testing without careful consideration. If you decide to install a mandatory testing program, you must have a clear reason for doing so. Moreover, you must be cautious not to violate the student’s right to privacy, as this policy is only a punitive measure. 

Yet, in some cases, schools will need a program like this because it may deter substance abuse problems and give students a feeling of safety if they know that all their classmates are subject to drug tests. This policy can help prevent future substance abuse problems among our youth and communities.

FAQ

Do All Schools Have The Same Policies?

No, many schools use different policies for mandatory drug testing. Some schools conduct it on reasonable suspicion, and others do not test students. A few public schools have passed laws that need this policy in their states. 
For example, mandated random drug tests are necessary for some states like Alabama and Texas. Many other states will allow the discretion of school administrators in implementing this policy if they believe it is an effective measure to deter student drug use at their school campuses.

Are there legal consequences for failing a mandatory drug test?

No, there are no extreme legal consequences for failing a mandatory drug test. In some states, students who test positive will be suspended or expelled. But, in most cases, the school’s choice of discipline will be based on the student’s situation.