Should Students Be Drug Tested?

When you think of drug testing students in school, you may have mixed feelings. On the one hand we all want our children to be safe at school, but is it really helping the problem? Here are some of the pros and cons on this controversial subject:  

Pros of Drug Testing Students

So why should we be giving drug tests to students? Let’s take a look at some of the advantages.

  1. Identifying students who may need help

When a student tests positive for drugs, it then gives the school an opportunity to intervene and provide them with treatment or counseling. It’s always recommended that schools focus on helping students deal with the root cause of the problem rather than just punishing them

  1. Discouraging drug use

If students know that they could be subject to random drug testing at their school, this can act as a massive deterrent for them to use drugs in the first place. It also gives students who are under pressure from their peers to take part in drug taking a good excuse to “say no”. .

  1. Random drug testing is effective

While there are conflicting reports regarding the effectiveness of drug testing in schools, evidence suggests that it does work. Studies have shown that schools in which students are drug tested do have fewer problems related to substance abuse than schools that don’t.

Cons of Drug Testing Students

Now we’ve looked at all the positives of drug testing in school, what are the disadvantages?

  1. Is it where our focus should be?

Should we be focusing on drugs? Surely the best way to stop students experimenting with drugs is by providing an all round meaningful and fulfilling high school experience. It’s been proven that by engaging students with extracurricular activities is one of the most effective ways to prevent substance abuse. It also encourages students to make healthy decisions and sets them up for the future.

  1. The cost of testing

Cost isn’t everything, but it needs to be considered. It’s estimated, that for every 125 students tested, there’s only 1 positive result. Considering this, maybe schools could look at using these funds for prevention programs as an alternative?

  1. Are they dealing with the core problem?

Drug taking is often caused by other issues. Teenage substance abuse can be an effect of other social, family or mental health issues. By punishing students, you’re not dealing with these problems, and possibly alienate students who are in need of help.

  1. They can be easily adulterated

The results of drug tests can be falsified using detox drinks, mouthwashes, shampoos or synthetic urine. They are not reliable.

What’s Our Verdict?

Drug testing of students comes with its problems – the debate over its effectiveness, the cost and whether it infringes on the rights of the students. However, overall we think that the benefits outweigh these issues. We all want our children to be safe and make the right choices. It can be a great way to identify with students in need of help, as well as acting as a deterrent to what is a very damaging activity for our children to take part it.