Student drug testing has been a hot-button issue in high schools for the past decade. But a new study joins a growing pile of research papers that describe student drug testing as failed policy.
The study, published online in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence, was based on a nationally representative sample of 940 high school students across the country. The teens were surveyed by telephone in 2007 and 2008.
Overall, 27% of the students said their schools engaged in drug testing. However, the survey showed no evidence that drug-testing policies led male students to avoid drug use or engage in less drug use. Drug-testing policies seemed to have a slight impact on influencing female students not to use drugs, but the effect was found only in schools that have otherwise healthy social climates in which school rules are clear and enforced and student-adult relationships are based on respect.
The Supreme Court has backed the practice of student drug testing for students in sports and other extracurricular activities. And, the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools, part of the Department of Education, encourages schools to adopt drug testing.