30 Nov 2012

The Case For Random Drug Testing In Schools

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There seems to be a never ending drug problem in our country especially amongst our teenagers. In the USA it’s thought that at least 12% of students will take anabolic steroids to enhance their performance during sporting competitions. Of course, on top of this there is a problem with more common recreational drugs such as cocaine and ecstasy not to mention marijuana which, it is reported, 22.6% of 12th graders have tried. As a result there is a huge on-going debate about whether random drug testing should be regularly carried out in schools, universities and colleges.

Why Random Drug Testing is a Good Idea

Younger children and teenagers need to be made fully aware that any kind of drug taking is never acceptable. The main objective of the case for random drug testing is to prevent all students from taking drugs from the outset, not to catch out offenders.

Teenagers usually take drugs because of peer pressure. They don’t want to be thought of as the person who is a “scaredy cat” or uncool. By enforcing random drug testing, people who do regularly take drugs will be caught out and made an example of. They may even lose their place at a particular educational establishment as a result of taking illegal drugs. This sends out an important and powerful message to the entire student body that drug taking won’t be tolerated.

Although many people hold the opinion that random drug testing is an invasion of privacy, the case for random drug testing argues that the safety and health of individuals outweighs this point. It’s also important to remember that the majority of students don’t take drugs so they can take any test with a clear conscience.

Other Methods Have Failed

By enforcing random drug testing, schools are showing that they are fully committed to their role as protectors. Young people, who are at an impressionable age, are more likely to be tempted by drugs so it’s the responsibility of schools, colleges and universities to look out for vulnerable students.

Prior to random drug testing, the government relied on drug education campaigns to try and hammer the truth home about the effects of drug taking. Unfortunately, drug education has not proven to be as effective as the government had hoped. Young people know all of the facts about the damage that drugs can do yet they still continue to use them despite this.

In other cases, schools have tried to dissuade students from taking drugs by encouraging extra-curricular activities such as sports or raising money for charities but these have also proved to be ineffective.

Many Schools Are Fighting a Losing Battle

Random Drug testing is not as invasive as some people may think. Drugs such as cocaine, cannabis, amphetamines and heroin can be detected by carrying out a breath, hair or urine sample test. These tests are completely painless and only take minutes to complete.

Schools, Universities and polytechnics have an obligation to protect citizens on a wider social level, and individuals alike from the effects of drugs. Random drug testing can most certainly create a healthier environment within schools etc. It can remove the pressure from students who are genuinely not interested in taking them because they are less likely to bend to peer pressure with the threat of regular random testing on the horizon.

It’s also widely reported, especially on social networking sites that drugs are far cheaper than alcohol. Again, this fact makes drugs more accessible. Perhaps the government need to be doing more to prevent drug dealers having access to young people like students. They should make jail sentences longer for drug pushers who deal to kids so that it sets an example to other dealers.

If random drug testing is not carried out then staff will encounter difficulties such as deviant behavior, poor academic performance and possible violence. Drugs are glamorized by the media to a certain extent. Magazines often talk about various celebrities taking drugs and these articles are written in such a way to make the star sound really cool. It’s no wonder that young people think that taking drugs such as ecstasy or cannabis is harmless. Schools need to take a firm stand against drug taking to try and counteract the confusing messages that young people are receiving every day from the internet, magazines, radio and TV.

Where do you stand on this hot topic debate? Are you persuaded by the arguments laid out above or do you see it as an invasion of privacy that can never be tolerated? Please have your say in the comments section below.

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