Lewis Cass High School, Walton, Indiana,

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Drug Testing: Yes or No?

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All around the world people are taking drugs, and all around the world, people are overdosing on these drugs. When people think of drug overdoses, they typically don’t think of high school students, but the number of student overdoses is rapidly increasing (Thompson). This fact often brings the question of whether or not students should be mandatory drug tested. Of the opinions I researched, I found several arguments from each side that are extremely valid. Overall, I believe both good and bad can be drawn from the idea of mandatory student drug tests.

Dennis Thompson is known for his writing on this substance abuse. In his article, “Drug Overdose Rates Soaring Among U.S. Youth,” he stated, “Nationwide, the drug overdose death rate has more than doubled during the past decade among people aged 12 to 25 — rising from 3.1 deaths per 100,000 in 1999-2001 to 7.3 deaths in 2011-2013, according to the Trust for America’s Health report (Thompson).” Thompson stated, “Many young people who are addicted to prescription drugs wind up switching to heroin because it’s cheaper and often easier to access, the report said. About 45 percent of people who use heroin also are addicted to narcotic painkillers (Thompson).” This quote shows that many students can get their hands on hard drugs, so the argument for most supporters is that schools shouldn’t wait to help kids who suffer from addiction. Just as important as the cost of lives, the costs of drug tests factor into the argument for mandatory student drug testing.

Athleticbusines.com published the article “How Effective, Costly Is Drug Testing in Schools?” The article stated, “In addition to effectiveness, there is also the question of cost. A 2008 report estimated that about 14 percent of U.S. schools had random testing programs. The average drug test cost between $15 and $35 (Athleticbusiness.com).” Many supporters argue that the cost of drug tests prove to be far more inexpensive than the cost of the life of a loved one. The idea that many people would be willing to pay thirty dollars rather than lose a family member seems very logical (Athleticbusiness.com). Overall, this website shot down the argument that drug tests are too expensive. Although these kits may seem inexpensive to some people and even large corporations, many people who disagree with mandatory student drug testing all have a similar question. Why pay for something that doesn’t work?

Testcountry.com published an article called “School Drug Testing.” The site stated, “False positive results of drug testing are an inevitable error in drug testing. For instance, over-the-counter decongestants can produce a positive result for amphetamine…(Testcountry.com).” This provides a good argument because most of the time, students who test positive undergo a series of punishments not only from parents but the school corporation as well (Testcountry.com). Not only can students take ingestants to trick the test, some students can be falsely accused. Testcountry.com stated, “For instance, by using the instant drug testing kits, they become positive with marijuana from inhaling secondary smoke from going out with colleagues and classmates who have been smoking recently (Testcountry.com).” Although school drug testing is legal, the question “Should it be” often comes up. Many people argue that school drug testing is an invasion of privacy, and I can see where they are coming from. Testcountry.com stated, “In addition, drug testing can lead to the discovery of things which are ought to be kept confidential such as rare diseases or severe diseases (Testcountry.com).” Not only can tests mess up, but students can manipulate them.

Victoria Clayton wrote “Parents, Experts Divided on School Drug Testing.” One argument that was brought up was that drug testing can be manipulated and can provide a false sense of security for parents and guardians. Judith Kirkwood, a mother, stated, “I know my son was able to use other kids’ urine for random drug screens at a credentialed medical lab. You literally have to have your eyes glued to kids’ private areas in order to ensure a clean screen, and I just don’t think our schools are equipped to perform the tests or that parents would accept that kind of scrutiny, and they shouldn’t (Clayton).” This quote not only provides proof that students can obtain ways to trick the test, but that an accurate screening would be an invasion of privacy. She stated, “Clean urine samples and masking products with names such as UrinAid, THC Free, and Instant Clean are already available (Clayton).” Overall, the fact that drug tests are so easily manipulated should be a shock to parents and teachers, but the fact that students can always find a way to get their hands on drugs should be a bigger shock.

  Overall, most everyone can agree that student overdoses are a major problem, but not everyone can agree on the means to stop it, and not everyone agrees that student drug testing is the answer to that problem. Should students be mandatory drug tested? The public may never come up with an agreeable answer to that question, but for now, I believe more research needs to be done on these tests to determine whether the answer will ever be definite.

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Lewis Cass High School, Walton, Indiana,
Drug Testing: Yes or No?