Alarmingly high levels of illicit drug usage still continue to be a problem among the youth. Drug usage can have vital implications for the future health and happiness of many juveniles as they move forward towards their transition to adulthood. These adolescents who use drugs can have especially high risks of developing mental and physical problems that may interfere with their educational and future occupational pursuits. Therefore, approximately 20 percent of high schools in the United States utilize some form of drug testing as a requirement for students in the very hope of deterring students from using illegal substances (Counsel and Heal). "Even though drug testing sounds good, based on the science, it is not working," said study author Daniel Romer, of the University of Pennsylvania Annenberg Public Policy Center in Philadelphia. "So as a prevention effort, school drug testing is kind of wrong-headed." Not only does the policy has no effect in deterring the drug use among young people, drug testing is also very expensive, it may steer students away from extracurricular activities, it can result in false positives which would result in the punishment of innocent students, and ultimately it can weaken the delicate trust and relationship between students and teachers.
The very first national study conducted in a large scale on student drug testing revealed practically no variance in the rates of the drug usage between schools that has a drug testing policy and the schools that do not. Based on the research done between the years 1998 to 2001 among 76000 students in 8th, 10th, and 12th grades, the research established that drug testing did not have an influence on illicit drug usage among students as well as athletes (Yamaguchi). Dr. L. Johnston and among other researchers from the University of Michigan, leads the study for the National High School Senior Survey, the foremost, long-term epidemiological study that surveys trends in legal and illicit drug use among American adolescents and adults as well as personal levels of perceived risk and disapproval for each drug (Wikipedia), proposes that “there really isn’t an impact from drug testing as practiced...I don’t think it brings about any constructive changes in their attitudes about drugs or their belief in the dangers associated with using them.” The researchers directed a more widespread study later that year with even more schools that resulted in an additional year of data and a deeper focus on random drug testing programs. The updated data reinforced the claims they have had made before (Winter).
“So, does drug testing prevent or inhibit student drug use? Our data suggest that, as practiced in recent years in American secondary schools, it does not... The two forms of drug testing that are generally assumed to be most promising for reducing student drug use – random testing applied to all students... and testing of athletes – did not produce encouraging results. (Winter)”