Drug Testing

The Debate on Student Drug Testing in Houston Public Schools

There has been an alarming increase in drug use among students in Houston, and around the US. The reality regarding drug use in schools and among students remains to be a growing concern among parents, educators, and the community.

Drug use has risen among students with approximately 12.4 percent of 12th grade students utilizing drugs, not including marijuana, on a daily basis. Keep in mind, as the curiosity among students increases, there continues to be a dramatic increase in the use of drugs. Especially among high school students, marijuana and other designer drugs have become heavily used on campuses.

“The results revealed that 78 percent of U.S. teens had drank alcohol, and 47 percent of the group said they'd consumed 12 or more drinks in the past year. When it came to drug use, 81 percent of teens said they had the opportunity to use illicit substances, with 42.5 percent actually tried them,” according to CBS News.

Drugs Aren't Only at Colleges

Drug use on college campuses also remains to be a growing concern. As reported by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, approximately forty-nine percent of full-time college students admit to alcohol, illegal, or prescription drug abuse. As drug use and sales continue to grow across campuses, local public schools and universities are challenged with regulating this problem.

While in some higher educational institutions drug testing is routine for athletes, there remains to be great debate regarding when drug testing in public schools is appropriate. In Texas, more and more schools are choosing to drug test the student population, including most recently in Southlake-Carroll in north Texas. However, the question remains, when should drug testing extend beyond extracurricular participants?

Although there are very few schools requiring each student to be drug tested, implementing consistent practices can be challenging for higher educational institutions. This is very evident when administrators struggle with the uncertainty of when drug testing is appropriate and if it is appropriate to conduct drug tests on every student. Battling with the ramifications associated with such practices can deter schools from implementing mandatory drug testing policies in Houston. Needless to say, this controversial issue is prevalent in all segments of education ranging from elementary to college.

Do We NEED Drug Testing in Houston Schools?

Regardless of the numbers, there remains to be much debate regarding the need to drug test students in school. Concerns regarding invasion of individual rights, parental consent, ethical practice, protection, and other legal ramifications are associated in making decisions associated with drug testing students in schools. Especially when many school districts are still considering implementing random drug testing of employees, it is important for administrators to thoroughly assess all dynamics involved when incorporating drug testing in schools.  

Those in support of drug testing in public schools argue drug testing helps to protect not only the school, but also the student. Drug tests are needed not only to identify illegal drug use, but to also implement measures that will prevent underage drug use and abuse among students. 

Other benefits that have been identified as reasons to allow drug testing in schools include:

  • Intervening in future drug and alcohol use among students 
  • Deterring curiosity in using drugs and alcohol
  • Collecting data to develop the most cost-effective measures to protect the health and welfare of students

So when is drug testing in public schools appropriate and when should it be avoided? When considering the implementation of drug testing in schools, it is essential for administrators to assess both the risks and the advantages.

What About Parents Drug Testing Students at Home?

Many parents today are drug testing their kids at home when the kids turn about the age of thirteen. Not necessarily because they suspect their child is on drugs, but because it helps them to face peer pressure from other students who may be using drugs.

Imagine a fifteen-year-old sophomore in high school gets invited to a weekend party hosted by upperclassmen where the parents aren't home. Many of her friends are trying marijuana for the first time and pressuring her to join. One powerful and easy line for her to say is, "My dad drug tests me every month. If I try this even once, my life is over..." 

Would you consider this method as a parent to protect your child from the dangers of drugs? Or might it be more powerful for the school to conduct such tests?

Final Thoughts:

Drugs and alcohol among students continues to attract much attention in the media. With the rise in usage among school students, the problem remains to be an issue that should be recognized and effectively addressed. Interested in further discussing the inclusion of drug testing at your school or organization? We're here to help.


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