Research Casts Doubt On Drug Testing
Since the 2002 5-4 Supreme Court decision in Board of Education v. Earls, which allowed schools to conduct random suspicionless drug testing without warrants of any student who participates in extracurriculars, there have been multiple academic studies of the effects of such policies.
A study, conducted by University of Michigan Researchers in the Journal of Adolescent Health in 2013 examined over 200,000 responses to the Youth Behavioral Risk Survey and compared them to adoption of random drug testing.
The researchers found that drug testing contributed to a small decline in marijuana use, but seemed to cause a rise in other, harder, illicit substances.
A 2012 study of 943 high school students published in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence found testing regimes to have a small impact on drug use.
They found it was, “associated with lower levels of personal substance use in positive school climates, but only for female students.”
A 2006 Drug Policy Alliance report titled, “Making Sense of Student Drug Testing,” found that 500 tests cost $21,000 to administer properly and that positive tests are exceedingly rare.
The report said, “In fact, drug testing may actually take scarce resources away from the very health and treatment services needed by students who are misusing drugs.”
In 2015 the American Academy of Pediatrics examined the existing evidence on student drug testing in a Pediatrics article.
The paper concluded, “Given the modest (and short-term) effect size in reducing substance use, high cost, and significant potential for adverse outcomes, the AAP concludes that research evidence does not support the initiation or expansion of school-based drug testing programs at this time.”
The AAP represents 60,000 pediatricians nationwide.