An Effective Prevention Strategy
Counter peer pressure
Young people today are constantly subject to peer pressure and are bombarded with messages from friends, movies, music, television, and the Internet that drug use is okay and even a rite of passage. To the relief of many teens, drug testing removes the tug of peer pressure. By providing a non-negotiable, convenient way "out," student drug testing shifts the burden of deciding not to use drugs from the student to the adults in their lives.
Discourage initiation of drug use
Research shows that the earlier a child starts using drugs, the more likely he or she will be to develop a substance abuse problem
. Conversely, if a child does not start using drugs in the teen years, he or she is much less likely to initiate or develop a substance abuse problem later in life, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Student drug testing can impede drug use initiation and can help identify drug users at an early stage before drug dependency or addiction occurs.
Promote a safer environment
Students who use drugs are statistically more likely than nonusers to drop out of school, bring guns and knives to school, and be involved in physical attacks, property destruction, stealing, and cutting classes (SAMHSA, 2004). Drug abuse not only interferes with a student's ability to learn, it also disrupts the orderly environment necessary for all students to succeed. Student drug testing can help reduce the occurrence of these disruptive behaviors, which benefits everyone in the school and community.
Prevents progressive drug use
No one starts using drugs with the intention of becoming addicted. But drug use can quickly turn to dependence and addiction, trapping users in a vicious cycle that destroys families and ruins lives and futures. Drug testing is a valuable tool for identifying drug-dependent students so they can be referred to treatment and get the help they need.