Why is Student Drug and Alcohol Testing so Controversial?

Student drug and alcohol testing is extremely controversial in some parts of Canada and the United States, but why are some people against this idea? Early education and prevention programs have been shown to greatly lower the risk of future substance abuse, so for many people the idea of schools requiring student drug and alcohol testing just makes sense. Some people are concerned about privacy issues though, or they worry that student drug and alcohol testing sends a message to kids that we do not trust them. Some schools test athletes and those in other extracurricular activities but not the entire student body. Other schools may require random drug and alcohol screens but these are typically private schools that are not funded by the government.

Many schools do not engage in any student drug and alcohol testing in the younger grades, but this may change as students hit middle and high school levels. Institutions in larger cities and more metropolitan areas seem to engage in student drug and alcohol testing more often, and this is also true of early education and prevention programs. One possible reason for this is the fact that this screening can be costly when hundreds of students are involved, and smaller schools and districts may not have discretionary funding available for this type of testing. What is not controversial are the benefits that early education and prevention programs can have. Student drug and alcohol testing can help identify high risk students and focus limited resources where these can be most beneficial.



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