Just Say No to Student Drug Testing

Among the Bush Administration's new drug war plans: Spending $25 million to test high school students for drug use. First off, drug testing is ineffective:

Despite the administration's claim that mandatory drug testing curbs adolescent drug use, a recent federal study of 76,000 students by the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research paints a far different picture. According to the study's findings, published in the Journal of School Health, there is no difference in the level of illegal drug use between students in schools that test for drugs and those in schools that do not.

"Drug testing of students in schools does not deter use," states a University of Michigan news release summarizing the findings of the four-year study, the first national, large-scale survey ever to assess student drug testing. "At each grade level studied -- 8, 10, and 12 -- the investigators found virtually identical rates of drug use in schools that have drug testing and the schools that do not."

More importantly, students should not have to shed their constitutional rights at the schoolhouse door:

Though random student drug testing may sound like a "silver bullet" in the
administration's campaign to discourage adolescent drug use, it opens a
"Pandora's Box" of practical, ethical and financial questions. Students
should not be taught that they must abandon their constitutional liberties
at the school door or that they must submit to an invasion of their privacy
because some leaders in Washington are willing to write off an entire
generation of students as potential criminals in their overzealous "war" on

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