Similar to what happens in some workplaces, schools now carry out drug testing procedures. This can be done in a random manner or students are tested for drugs due to reasonable suspicion or for a particular reason. For whatever the reason or method for drug testing, it is done because drugs are known to interfere with the learning ability of students. Drug users also tend to be disruptive in the classroom and the school in general, which in turn negatively affects the teaching environment and other students become affected. To conduct testing for drugs such as cocaine, phencyclidine, marijuana, amphetamines and opioid, urine samples are collected from the students.
Random Drug Testing in Schools
The students are randomly selected and the selection is not based on any history of drug use. Random drug testing is generally carried out in an attempt to decrease or eliminate the misuse of prescription and illicit drugs among students. Administrators hope that knowledge of the possibility of random testing in schools will deter students from giving in to peer pressure and become involved in illegal drug use. Another reason this procedure is practiced in school is to identify the teenagers who have used the drug so that they can get help from an early intervention program. In addition, students who are addicted to these drugs can benefit from treatment from a referral source.
Reasonable Cause Drug Testing in Schools
When students wish to or are required to participate in a particular extracurricular activity, they are usually required to do a drug test. Also, if the student is suspected of or there is evidence of drug misuse, he or she can be mandated to give a urine sample. Evidence or suspicion of drug misuse may include officials at the school making observations; the student displaying typical signs that he or she is using drugs; erratic or abnormal behavior.
Is it legal to Randomly Carry out Drug Testing in Schools?
This is a typical question when some people learn of random drug testing being carried out in schools. The Supreme Court in the United States in June of 2002 has widened the public school’s administrators’ authority to carry out tests for illicit drug use. All high and middle school students can be tested before being allowed to participate in any extracurricular activities that involve competitions. Schools are to ensure they are carrying out legal drug testing of students. To do so, the school that is interested in implementing drug testing procedures for students should ask for legal advice. This is to ensure that the practice is supported by local, state and federal laws.
Key Purpose of Drug Testing in Schools
The main reason for conducting drug testing in schools is to prevent the future use of illegal drugs and/or to deal with the current use of these drugs. Punishment is not the aim of school drug testing. Counseling and also follow-up testing is provided for any student who starts to use any of these drugs but has not yet become addicted. The students that are found to have an addiction to the harmful substances will, with the support of administrators of the school and parents, be referred to relevant treatment programs in order to start a recovery process.
The Importance of Drug Testing Teenagers in School
At this vulnerable stage, the development of bodies and brains continues. It has been found that a large percentage of adults who become addicted to drugs started using them from they were in middle or high school. This is when the body is most vulnerable to drugs and their harmful effects. Drug use can result in several and far-reaching negative effects on the student’s health and behavior.
One use of a drug that can cause intoxication can adversely affect someone’s decision-making and judgment. This can ultimately lead to an accident that probably would not have happened if the individual did not use the substance. In addition, one use of an illicit substance can result in poor performance in sports or academic activities, overdose or becoming involved in risky behaviors that turn out to be long term mistakes. Addiction, repeated and/or long term illicit drug use can lead to a wide range of issues which can ultimately result in death. Therefore, if teenagers are deterred from using illegal drugs in school, they might not become drug addicts in the future.