Pediatricians’ Group Opposes Random Drug Testing in Schools

Doctor-3The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) announced its opposition to random drug testing in schools, Reuters reports.

There is little evidence such "suspicionless" testing is effective, and it comes with potential risks, the group said in a policy statement.

"Pediatricians support the development of effective substance abuse services in schools, along with appropriate referral policies in place for adolescents struggling with substance abuse disorders," the group wrote.

Studies evaluating random drug testing have had mixed results, the article notes. While one study found a short-term reduction in teens' self-reported drug use at a school with random drug testing, the study was relatively brief, and did not include alcohol.

"It's possible that you do get some prevention out of these programs, but on the other hand it seems very expensive, very invasive, and has pretty limited results," Sharon Levy, lead author of the policy statement, told Reuters.

She noted that since teen drug use is usually sporadic, many teens who use drugs could pass an annual drug test, and then use drugs the rest of the year.

For teens who have been diagnosed with substance use disorders, drug testing does have a place as part of a treatment program, according to Levy. Many teens who test positive for drugs at school face punishment, instead of treatment, she said.

The negative consequences of random drug testing include deterioration in the student-school relationship, potential breaches in the confidentiality of students' medical records, and mistakes in interpreting drug tests that can result in false-positive results, the AAP noted.

 

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Monday, 10 December 2018
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