Random Testing Appears To Curb Drug Use 

Random Testing Appears To Curb Drug Use 
Posted by CN Staff on December 30, 2002 at 07:57:35 PT
By Julia Silverman, Associated Press 
Source: Associated Press
Portland, Ore. -- Student-athletes subject to random drug testing at an Oregon high school were almost four times less likely to use drugs than their counterparts at a similar school who were not tested, a study shows.The one-year pilot study by researchers at Oregon Health & Sciences University compared Wahtonka High School in The Dalles, where all student-athletes were subject to random testing, and Warrenton High School, a demographically similar school near Astoria, where they were not.
Of the 135 athletes subject to the random testing at Wahtonka, only 5.3 percent said they were using illicit drugs by the end of the school year, versus 19.4 percent of the 141 athletes at Warrenton.They also were three times less likely to use performance-enhancing substances like steroids, according to the survey responses, which were confidential.The study, conducted during the 1999-2000 school year, was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, an arm of the National Institutes of Health. The results are published in next month's Journal of Adolescent Health."The differences between the schools were dramatic," said Dr. Linn Goldberg, a lead researcher in the study. "And the differences between the non-athletes (who were not tested at either school but who filled out questionnaires about drug use) were not significantly there" - 32.2 percent at Warrenton and 26.6 percent at Wahtonka.The study comes six months after the issue was thrown into the spotlight by the U.S. Supreme Court. In June, the court ruled that children attending public schools can be required to participate in drug testing if they join any competitive after-school activity, from football to chess.Merry Holland, principal at Wahtonka, said the school has continued to test athletes since the study ended.She said she believes the program has helped curb drug use. But, she said, the drug testing has also led some students to switch to substances that are more difficult to track, like beer."There are a lot of parties with alcohol," she said. "If they want to stay with sports, and participate, they might switch to something they think is harder to detect."Over the past few years, about 5 percent of schools nationwide have required that athletes be drug tested. About two percent have tested students in other activities.The Oregon pilot study is the forerunner of a wider, three-year study at 13 Oregon high schools.Dubbed SATURN, for Student Athlete Testing Using Random Notification, the wider study is meant to examine whether the threat of testing really keeps kids away from drugs. It was suspended in its third year after a federal agency expressed concerns about some of the methodology used in the study's latter two years.The Office of Human Research Policy said the study violated a number of federal regulations by not properly obtaining informed consent from children or protecting research subjects from coercive environments. The survey results used in the published study were not affected.OHSU issued a response this month offering to better ensure student confidentiality, to stop using principals and coaches to solicit participation in some schools and to end financial incentives for participating schools. Goldberg said researchers are awaiting word on whether the study will be reinstated. Complete Title: Random Testing Appears To Curb Drug Use Among Students Newshawk: BGreenSource: Associated Press Author: Julia Silverman, Associated Press Published:  December 30, 2002Copyright: 2002 Associated Press CannabisNews Drug Testing Archives
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Comment #11 posted by BGreen on December 30, 2002 at 13:04:06 PT
Yeah, trainwreck
The police states of amerika has no civil rights, just uncivil wrongs.
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Comment #10 posted by trainwreck on December 30, 2002 at 13:01:05 PT
junk science
I agree its a very crappy study design. But the results are predictable. It just stands to reason that if an entity (school, govmnt, corp) implements mandatory random drug testing, the use of drugs will decrease. Most people are pragmatic, not idealistic, when it comes to civil liberties. Alot of young jocks would rather play football than smoke weed (that's why they are jocks) and they have all spring to party after the season's over anyway.Is it the right thing to do? I thought I saw a while back that the Canadian Supreme Court thinks mandatory drug testing violates basic human rights. America's Supreme Court must use a different list of human rights. 
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Comment #9 posted by BGreen on December 30, 2002 at 12:46:51 PT
What's the difference in the quality and records
of the sports programs at the two schools? When I was in high school my friends were top rate at track, football, baseball and basketball, but they loved their cannabis. It didn't keep them from achieving and exceeding their goals.I was in the band. :-)
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Comment #8 posted by firedog on December 30, 2002 at 12:33:45 PT
I'm not done...
This study relied on students voluntarily reporting their drug usage, which has all kinds of problems...Are there differences in punishments for drug use at the two schools? Do students trust guarantees of confidentiality? Even if so, people often lie on surveys such as this if the community they are in disapproves of the behavior.Was there additional anti-drug propaganda at The Dalles school? Seems likely, given that they implemented random drug testing. They would probably do that as part of a whole package of anti-drug measures. Can we be sure that there is a cause-and-effect link? There are too many variables involved here.Also, from this article itself: "It was suspended in its third year after a federal agency expressed concerns about some of the methodology used in the study's latter two years.The Office of Human Research Policy said the study violated a number of federal regulations by not properly obtaining informed consent from children or protecting research subjects from coercive environments""Science" in the style of Walters, Ashcroft, and company!
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Comment #7 posted by BGreen on December 30, 2002 at 12:25:25 PT
I'm Constantly Amazed
by the level of intelligence shown by the posters at reasoning, investigative skills and a remarkable outpouring of humanity has so many of us refuting the lies with a few clicks of the keyboard.Now, if only the rest of the world could be as smart as all of us "pot-heads." LOL
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Comment #6 posted by firedog on December 30, 2002 at 12:14:49 PT
Hardly "scientific"
What kind of "scientific" study uses a sample size of two? And two samples that are quite different, at that?The Dalles and Astoria may seem similar on the surface (both towns in Oregon that have roughly 10,000 inhabitants), but they are two very different communities, with different climates, recreational activities, local economies, etc. Astoria is much cloudier and has much more rain, plus it is not in great economic shape due to the decline of its economic foundation. The Dalles is growing economically, and it's in a much sunnier part of Oregon, about 80 miles inland.This is taken from the Oregon Climate Service: "At Astoria, average winter cloud cover is over 80 percent, dropping only to about 65 percent in summer. Summer cloud cover is due mostly to fog and low clouds. As a result of the persistent cloudiness, total solar radiation is lower here than in any other part of the state."From the Western Regional Climate Center: Rainfall in Astoria: 68 in./yr., Rainfall in The Dalles: 14 in./yr.I might add that Astoria is much closer to Portland than The Dalles. Being closer to a major city means being closer to distribution networks, making drugs easier to obtain.I could go on, but I have to say that these factors alone should invalidate this "study". Using a sample size of two is bad enough, but when the two are radically different, it is inexcusable. Perhaps there was originally a larger sample size, but the researchers chose only to report on the two extremes that best fit their hypothesis?
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Comment #5 posted by greenfox on December 30, 2002 at 11:08:39 PT
So let's test `em all
Oh, but wait the President and congress and law enforcement are ABOVE testing. After all, they don't need it right? Drug testing should only be used on the undesireables of society that actually have a chance to fall prey to the scorage (sp) of marijuana.Dear god, save the queen.
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Comment #4 posted by Duzt on December 30, 2002 at 10:00:04 PT
schools in Oregon
They don't mention the $500,000,000 budget cut to Oregon schools that has stripped the schools of even books in a lot of classes. Kids at high schools throughout Oregon are staging protests because the schools are in such bad condition. I spent 2 years in high school in Oregon and things were starting to get bad when I was there (15 years ago). They spend all this money to get kids drug tested but no money to educate them. Sober uneducated kids, what a great concept.
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Comment #3 posted by BGreen on December 30, 2002 at 08:34:38 PT
Alcohol Kills 6 Times more Teenagers
than ALL other drugs COMBINED.That's the message of a current Ad campaign in SW Missouri to combat the problem of alcohol abuse and binge drinking among young people.There's no campaign to arrest all of the adult alcohol users, even though cannabis has NEVER killed and Alcohol kills everyday.
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Comment #2 posted by darwin on December 30, 2002 at 08:28:01 PT
Biased science
Shouldn't the study also look at the rates of alcohol use at the same time? I bet that the decrease in drug use correspondes almost directly to an increase in alcohol use. 
Then again, when a school has random drug testing, the kids stop talking about it, not doing it, which makes the study suspect anyways. Drug Warrior's theory: let's keep our children from discussing things like drugs, alcohol, sex, and anything else that could hurt them. We wouldn't want to encourage them to do bad things. With the "just say no...and say no more teaching method, when they do come in contact with these dangerous things, they'll be fully uninformed to make the right decisions.   
Oops I think I stated their position wrong. I guess I don't understand it either.
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Comment #1 posted by Ethan Russo MD on December 30, 2002 at 08:20:34 PT:
Drug Substitution
I guarantee that the students at the "dry school" are still transgressing. Only the drugs have changed.Kids are going to experiment, and would do so even if the death penalty were attached. Naturally, we'd prefer that our teens not use substances, but to be brutally honest, in terms of the harm that accrues with such usage, alcohol is many orders of magnitude worse than cannabis. 
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