Drug Testing in Schools
Unfortunately, today’s teenagers are very exposed to drug use. This is why many school officials around the country have decided to run random drug testing in schools. Besides random testing, there can also be performed the so-called “reasonable suspicion” testing. These drug tests are performed on students who are believed to be using illicit substances. So does a student need to face disciplinary consequences if found “guilty”? How random are drug tests in schools? What drugs can be tested for in schools? Read on to find out the answers to these essential questions.
What happens if a student tests positive on drugs?
Drug testing in schools is far from being a form of punishment. These random tests aim to perform some scare tactics and make students resist the temptation of starting on drugs; the other reason is to find those students who are already using drugs and help them enter recovery programs to get their life back on track. Finding a user soon enough is good because intervention in the early stages can have the best of results (from both physical and a psychological recovery point of view).
Students who get positive results tests, but health care officials say they are not addicted yet, will undergo special counseling programs. Students who are tested and diagnosed as being addicted to drugs will be referred to drug recovery treatment programs.
What drugs do they test
The typical drug test panel in schools is made up of 5 and up to 10 types of drugs. These include Cannabinoids (Marijuana), Opioids, PCP, Amphetamine, Cocaine and so on. Many experts in the field agree that the problem with drug testing in school arises when students take drugs that are outside the test panel. This means if they are tested for Amphetamine, and a student is on a new synthetic drug not being recognized, the result will be a false negative. The student takes dangerous drugs, but this will not be confirmed.
Yet another issue relating to drug testing in schools is that students, in general, are occasional consumers of illegal substances. A student addicted to drugs is not such typical, and chances of catching a student with a random drug test are again small. Students can this way get around the tests, and experts acknowledge more and more that random drug testing has no such significant impact after all.
Is random drug testing in school a legal action or not?
From a legal point of view, random drug testing in schools can be performed only on kids performing extracurricular activities which are sponsored by the school (such as sports, choir, etc.). Quite some years ago, random drug testing was allowed only for students who were professional athletes in middle school or high school.
A mandatory suspicionless drug test is when a student-athlete, for example, must accept the testing, even when there is no suspicion appointing that he may be using drugs. On the other hand, when there is a reasonable suspicion that a particular student may be using drugs, the school officials have the right to ask for a random drug testing to be performed on that student.
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