Doctors Group Opposes Student Drug Testing, reported by Tom Angell of Marijuana Majority
A group representing 62,000 pediatricians said Monday that schools should not randomly drug test students.[…]
Beyond drug testingâ€™s futility, the groupâ€™s policy statement cites a number of harms the practice can cause:
â€œOther concerns regarding school-based drug testing include the potential for breach of privacy (eg, when a studentâ€™s prescribed medications are identified on a drug test); detrimental consequences, such as suspension or expulsion for students who have positive drug test results; school dropout or increased truancy for students who fear they would fail a drug test; or increased use of substances not easily detectable on a drug screen.â€
In a technical report accompanying the new policy statement, the pediatricians also note the â€œunfair stigmatizationâ€ that can result from false-positive test results. â€œConsequences related to false-positive drug test results (school suspension, exclusion from extracurricular activities, interpersonal relationship stressors with parents, peers, teachers, and school administrators) can have significant effects on a high school student.â€
We still have school districts all over the country instituting drug testing for students, and it’s going to take some time to reverse the trend.
I know I’ve discussed this here before, but I am opposed to suspicionless drug testing for any group, including suspicionless employment drug testing, suspicionless student drug testing, and suspicionless public assistance drug testing.
As an overall notion, it is offensive to American principles to set up procedures requiring people to prove their “innocence.” And, time and time again, the more that these policies are properly analyzed in context, we find that they are more harmful overall than helpful.
Students who attend schools that use out-of-school suspension as a punishment for illegal drug use were 1.6 times more likely to use marijuana in the next year than those at schools without such policies, researchers from the University of Washington and various institutions in Australia found in the paper, published Thursday in the American Journal of Public Health.