School drug tests may curb substance abuse later in life, study says
Giving students random drug tests may help them avoid substance abuse later on in life, a new study found.
About 3,500 middle and high school students from New Jersey joined a study conducted by Fairleigh Dickinson University/PublicMind that aimed to measure students' feelings and attitudes toward drug and alcohol use.
Getting tested decreases risk of later drug use
Researchers were surprised to find that young people who were given random drug tests were less likely to drink or use drugs in their later years. And despite the fact that 14 percent of the study participants had tried alcohol by eighth grade, only 6 percent of kids who were previously drug tested did so. Only a small percentage of kids tested positive for drug use overall - about 1 percent.
"We still see a spike around the junior year of high school," said Dan Cassino, Fairleigh Dickinson University political science professor. "Once the kids get a car and get a job, all bets are off, and the rates of drug and alcohol use go though the roof; but that spike is much smaller among students who actually were randomly drug tested at some point."
Carrying out random drug tests may not be feasible
While the findings of the study are encouraging, researchers note that carrying out random drug testing at schools comes with its moral and financial concerns. School districts would have to determine if it's worth the expense, said Cassino.
The study was made possible by The Partnership for a Drug Free New Jersey, and the participating schools were not mentioned for privacy reasons.
Source: NJ.com, Newsworks