Study Questions Effectiveness of Drug Testing

Study Questions Effectiveness of Drug Testing
Posted by CN Staff on July 09, 2003 at 13:22:04 PT
By David Fein, Correspondent
The random drug testing of public school students involved in extracurricular activities does little to discourage drug use, according to researchers from the University of Michigan. However, the study also found that no more than 23 percent of America's secondary schools conducted the testing between 1998 and 2001.Ryoko Yamaguchi, Lloyd D. Johnston and Patrick M. O'Malley, all social scientists at the University of Michigan's Institute of Social Research, found that among eighth, 10th and 12th graders, the percentage of drug users was nearly identical between schools that conducted the random testing and schools that did no testing. 
The survey involved students at 722 secondary schools across America, including 497 high schools and 225 middle schools.Thirty-one percent of 10th graders in non-testing schools reported having used marijuana in the 12 months prior to the University of Michigan survey, while 33 percent of those enrolled in schools that did conduct the testing admitted drug use. The numbers were even closer, 36 percent versus 37 percent, for 12th grade students, according to the survey.The random testing may have had the greatest impact on student athletes. Thirty-seven percent of athletes in non-testing schools reported using marijuana in the 12 months prior to the survey, compared to 33 percent of student athletes who were subjected to testing and said they used marijuana anyway.The use of illicit drugs other than marijuana among all levels of students surveyed did not vary more than 2 percent between students in non-testing schools and those being educated in drug-testing schools, the University of Michigan researchers stated."While lack of evidence for the effectiveness of drug testing is not definitive, results suggest that drug testing in schools may not provide a panacea for reducing students' drug use that some had hoped," the authors of the study reported.The random drug testing of students remains controversial, despite the U.S. Supreme Court's endorsement of the idea. In 1995, the court ruled in the case of Vernonia School District v. Acton that school officials had the right to use random, suspicion-less drug testing of student athletes. In 2002, the Supreme Court went a step further, declaring in the case of Tecumseh School District v. Earls that school officials had the right to drug test all students participating in extracurricular activities.The overriding issue supporting the constitutionality of drug testing is a school district's interest in detecting and preventing drug use among its students, the Supreme Court ruled in the Vernonia and Earls cases.Naomi Gittins, senior staff attorney for the National School Boards Association (NSBA), agreed that localities should have the right to drug test their students."Drug testing really is a local decision that's best made by the school district taking into consideration a lot of the factors that may be occurring in their particular district," Gittins said.U.S. Rep. John Peterson (R-Pa.), who describes himself as an "adamant supporter of random drug testing," said it is more necessary than ever given the purity of the drugs now available to children on the streets."When these young, impressionable people get hooked on these powerful drugs, we may never get them off," Peterson said. "I think every day we wait and don't do random drug testing, we're saying goodbye to some kid's future who's going to get hooked and can't get off."However, Graham Boyd, director of the Drug Policy Litigation Project for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), criticized what he saw as both the intrusion of the drug testing and its ineffectiveness."As a policy matter, violating students' rights while doing nothing to reduce the amount of drug use in schools makes little sense," Boyd said. "Other studies have demonstrated that the single best way to prevent drug use among students is to engage them in extra-curricular activities."The University of Michigan researchers also pointed to drug testing alternatives. Addressing student attitudes about drug use, especially the peer pressure involved, they stated, would be more effective in discouraging drug use than the random testing.Complete Title: Study Questions Effectiveness of Student Drug TestingNewshawk: Paul Armentano - CNSNews.comAuthor: David Fein, CorrespondentPublished: July 09, 2003Copyright: 1998-2003 Cybercast News ServiceContact: shogenson cnsnews.comWebsite: Drug Testing Archives
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Comment #1 posted by Richard Paul Zuckerm on July 11, 2003 at 11:31:28 PT:
AsmStanley, AsmWolfe
The State Constitutional Right to an Education is a farce. 
It is bad enough that the curriculum of government schools 
is so inadequate that the students are not taught the dark side of government.; 
10 U.S.C. Section 311 (defining the "unorganized militia" as all males between the ages of 17 and 45)(President Roosevelt suggested all young people should be taught firearms use. No public school offering of martial arts or weapons training, while China begins training their 6 year olds.). It is even worse that the schools are imposing urine or blood tests upon the students without a showing of probable cause!! And the DARE Program is another example of the federal government lying to the children. I remember when Clark Township Police Officer Timothy George appeared at my elementary school, Valley Road School, during an assembly. The teacher told us during that assembly to "be nice to the police honest to the police officer...Officer George is your friend..." That was yet ANOTHER example of a lie to the children. Please read the book entitled THE POLICEMAN IS YOUR FRIEND AND OTHER LIES and read the law review article entitled Proving the Lie: Litigating Police Credibility, by David N. Dorfman, Assistant Professor of Law, Pace University School of Law, either the Summer or Fall or Winter 1999 issue [I believe Summer 1999] of American Journal of Criminal Law, a few relevant pages of which I had personally delivered to the office of Senator Martin, about how often cops lie in court and embellish in their police report narrative? Richard Paul Zuckerman, Box 159, Metuchen, N.J., 08840-0159, (Cell telephone number)(908) 403-6990, richardzuckerman2002
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