The goal of random student drug testing is prevention, not punishment. These programs seek to decrease drug use among students and help students already using illegal substances become drug-free. For some students who may have otherwise used drugs, the testing can serve as a deterrent. It also provides a clear reason for students to say no when offered drugs and faced with peer pressure. Testing is typically combined with a broader program combining prevention, intervention, and treatment. If a student tests positive, the school may require counseling and follow-up tests. Students diagnosed with addiction can be referred to a drug treatment program. You can read more on the history of random student testing in our blog here.
What drugs does the screening test for?
Each school has the ability to customize a drug testing plan to fit the needs of their students. Typically, student drug testing comes in the form of urinalysis, in which urine specimens are tested for the presence of marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, PCP, and opioids. Oral fluid testing is growing in popularity as well. The goal is not to punish students who test positive; instead, programs seek to quickly identify students that have a substance abuse issue and intervene early to prevent long-term addiction.
Benefits of random drug testing in schools?
- A Safe and Healthy Culture: Student drug testing can help encourage a safe, healthy, and drug-free culture at school. To further reduce the likelihood that students will abuse drugs, schools are encouraged to foster a “positive climate” through clear rules and respectful relationships between students and teachers.
- Identification and Treatment: Through random drug testing, schools can identify students using and abusing drugs early, perhaps before addiction occurs. The school can then refer the students to treatment programs, setting them on a path toward recovery.
- Protection of Teens from Adverse Effects: Teenagers are at higher risk when it comes to the effects of drugs and alcohol. A teenage brain is not fully developed until age 25, and substance misuse can jeopardize this process in several ways. It can interfere with neurotransmitters, reduce the ability to experience pleasure, generate memory problems, and create missed opportunities for learning potential. Other potential long-term effects include mood changes like depression and anxiety, problems with family and friends, and poor academic performances.
- A Reason to Say No: Student drug testing gives teenagers a reason to say “no” when presented with the opportunity to use, acting as a deterrent. During moments of peer pressure, this can be invaluable, as it shifts blame away from the student and provides a concrete reason for a teen to refuse drugs. Many student testing programs are tied to the students ability to participate in extra-curricular activities such as band or sports.
Why choose Tomo for student testing?
- Certified and Trained Technicians
- Tomo ensures raving fans at every step of the process by treating all individuals with respect
- Implementation of strict quality guidelines
- Confidential administration with limited administration having access to students tested and their results
- Management of random scheduling process
- Accurate, reliable and confidential testing programs
- Expert knowledge of federal drug and alcohol testing regulations
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are the common questions about student testing. If you have any questions that are not answered below, feel free to contact us.
Adolescents’ brains are still developing therefore especially vulnerable to the detrimental effects of drug use. There are short term consequences that could affect the student’s judgment and decision making process (causing accidents, poor performance in school or sports, increased risky behavior, etc). Long term consequences can cause much more serious issues such as poor academic outcomes, family problems, mood changes, and addiction. The earlier a teen begins using drugs, the more likely he or she will develop an addiction.
The National Center on Addiction and Substance abuse reports that around 17% of American high school students are drinking, smoking or using drugs during the school day. About 50% of 12th graders say they’ve used an illicit drug at least once in their lifetime and over 35% report using marijuana in the last year. Abuse and misuse of prescription drugs are also high. In 2013, 7.4% of high school seniors reported non-medical use of the prescription stimulant Adderall in the past year.
Drug testing should never be a stand alone solution to a drug problem. Drug testing should be a part of a large comprehensive drug-free school policy.
If a student is appropriately using prescription drugs, he or she may test positive on a drug test. However, a Medical Review Officer (MRO) reviews every laboratory positive drug test result. The MRO verifies that the substance identified in the drug test is prescribed to the student. If that is the case, the test is reported by the MRO to the school as a negative test result.
This ensures that no student tests positive for drugs due to prescription medicine. Student confidentiality is maintained and only the student, the student's parents and the MRO know of the student's use of prescription drugs.
The test is completely confidential. Only the designated school representative at the school receives the results. Parents are able to request a copy of their student's results only by contacting the school.