By Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director
The imposition of student drug testing programs is not effective in limiting students' consumption of controlled substances, according to survey data published in the January edition of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.
Investigators from Israel and the United States assessed whether students' awareness of drug testing programs in their school was associated with a reduction in the frequency of their use of alcohol, cigarettes, or cannabis.
Authors reported, "Consistent with previous research, results of the current study show that perceived SDT (student drug testing) is not associated with a reduction in initiation or escalation of substance use in the general student population."
They concluded, "The current research reinforces previous conclusions that SDT is a relatively ineffective drug-prevention policy."
An estimated 20 percent of US high schools impose drug testing upon members of the student body.
Previous assessments of student drug testing programs, including random testing programs, report that the imposition of such programs are not associated with reduced levels of student drug use and, in some instances, are "associated with increased use of illicit drugs other than marijuana."
Full text of the study, "Student Drug Testing and Positive School Climates: Testing the Relation Between Two School Characteristics and Drug Use Behavior in a Longitudinal Study," is available online here.