Mandatory Drug Testing for High School Students


The issue about the drug test has been a big deal for the students and the significant roles who are concerned in this matter. A drug test is basically an examination of blood, urine and other, in order to know if the person is taking drugs. Drug testing is regarded as a sensitive case because it somehow relates to one’s personal life.

In retrospect, the mid- 1980’s has prevailed the use of drug testing for employees before they could apply for a job. It served as one of the requirements in order to land for a job that they want. Until now, it is widely used by the companies to know if an applicant fits the position. In addition to, drug testing also entered the schools, specifically the high school students, for a mandatory policy. It is known that drug testing in schools cater to the athletes because of the issues that players use steroids to enhance their game performances. Now, the government has entered the issue and started to implement a tighter policy when it comes to the drug testing of athletes. Accordingly, a positive result would mean punishments like a dismissal from the team and fines or suspension perhaps. Drug testing is regarded as a vital way of controlling the risks in their career and health just because of abusing their performances due to the use of illegal drugs (Pohlman et al., 2005).

However, there are a lot of arguments when it comes to the sense of privacy of the students because it violates the person’s right to maintain his personal life in private. Drug testing can ruin the life of a person because of the consequences that waits if proven positive in drugs (Pohlman et al., 2005). The people who agree with the mandatory drug testing, mostly the educators, say that drug testing is an efficient way of keeping the students away from the use of illegal drugs. The consequences of being suspended and kicked out of school or a corresponding punishment from the parents are seen to be a good disincentive for the high school students.

Though there have been some officials who are proposing that a mandatory drug testing should be done for every students in high school, the consent of the parents is needed in order to implement such drug screening to avoid violation of the privacy rights (Lewin, 2002). However, enough reason is needed before the conducting drug tests for a specific student just like for example having suspicious actions, having red eyes and the like.


The Pros and Cons of mandatory drug testing for high school students

The question is primarily pointed to the parents of the students whether they agree to this mandatory of drug testing their kids. There is still no explicit agreement whether this kind of test should be done in the students because this appears to be a sensitive case. But majority of the opinions are catering to the disagreement of the policy as it violates human right to privacy. It is viewed to be a positive action in the sense of keeping the students away from the illegal drugs but still, a negative action prevails on the side of violating privacy. The issue is focused on the complications of the privacy of a person and the right of the parents to protect the kids from the illegal drugs (Pohlman et al., 2005). However, complexities are met in the issue if disagreements will continuously be discussed. A lot of officials in school provide reports that relates to the performance in school and the guidelines in order to achieve the safety among drug users. The process of drug testing among high school students has been widely adopted by the schools today and treated as an important issue by the educators. Governmental statistics have been provided in order to back up the drug testing which shows an increasing number of teenage drug users per year (Yamaguchi et al., 2003).

But the specific advantages of agreeing to the mandatory drug testing for high school students are seen on the following areas; prevention, early intervention and the ability to reward clean tests. Prevention is the most accepted result of the drug testing as it cures the upcoming dilemmas that illegal drugs attribute. Also, rehabilitation can be avoided if prevention can be done by the parents of the students at home which require much of their attention and guidance. Thus, it will help the positive drug users to live their lives free from drugs.

Early intervention can also be seen as the advantage of drug testing as it detects the substance present in a person as early as possible before it gets serious. Basically, this is to give solution to the possible addiction of a person in drug usage and thus, controls the future serious problem in one’s health. It may track the level of usage of a person which may help the person refrain from being drug dependent. Abusive usage of drug may lead to severe cases of mental health and other risky consequences that are dangerous for a person (Pohlman et al., 2005). Serious problems may be apparent to the rehabilitation of a person and this may cause the delay of having a happy life of a person because recovering from a serious outcome of drug addiction is not a joke. Thus, it must be treated accordingly.

Another advantage is being confident on other drug tests. Being a drug-free person can add to one’s self-esteem and confidence. Taking for example the scenario that happens in schools, if a student is paranoid about drug testing but is sure to be clean, he or she should not hesitate on being under a test because a negative result will surely come out.

Drug testing could define the safety of the students not just through the health aspects but also safety from the dangers of being suspected as a drug user. Drug testing can help maintain a safer environment most especially in schools, assuring that every student is not using drugs and thus living a healthy life. Drug effects can be harmful to the user as well as to the people in the environment because violence can be prevented. For the side of the athletes, drug testing can ensure them that their winning performance is not because of the drug effect and hence it measures their capabilities of playing for a game. It will be better if the natural way of powering up for a game such as maintaining a healthy lifestyle like going to the gym, eating healthy foods and taking extra health tips will be maintained.

In addition to, drug testing can deter the habit of using illegal drugs and can be prevented as soon as possible before it gets worst and know the medical data about the students which is very important to the parents, the school officials; and for the captain of the athletes to know if a person is capable of playing for a team. Above all is to maintain a clean image in the campus which can serve as a good example for other students (Shapiro, 2002).

Considering the detection of positive drug users, it may teach the students a lesson through the corresponding punishments. However, a help is more effective than punishments in order to correct and prevent the use of illegal drugs among high school students. If mandatory drug testing will be widely accepted, a lot of suspected students who are innocent will be freed and stay healthy while those drug users can be helped if the main dilemma will be identified. Thus, drug testing can be minimized in the future if the students are proven to be free from the use of drugs in the present. But still, drug testing is insisted because it is said to be the answer to put off the students from the use of illegal drugs and educate them (Yamaguchi et al., 2003).


On the other hand, disadvantages of mandatory testing are eyed to the fact that the right to privacy is violated. Students can lose out their own life styles if suspected to be in the need of a drug test. Liberty to freely enjoy the life of a high school student may be ruined as this issue becomes widely accepted and may affect one’s social life. Drug testing is not seen as an answer to eliminate the addiction in alcohol and other vices that the students are into, and this may just be ignored and neglected. Implementing the mandatory drug testing can attribute to being a suspect in issues or cases that prevails in the campus or a community perhaps. A false sense of security can also be felt by the students and protection from their own schools, which they regard to be the second home, is dismissed by their second family.

Not just invading the student’s personal life and privacy, it will also bother the parents of the kid obviously because of thinking for the safety of their kids. As privacy of the students will be violated, the confidential information is not guaranteed to be kept secret because corresponding actions shall be made for the positive users and thus records of the students will be ruined. Mandatory drug testing can just create suspicion and does not define the grounds between the casual users and abusers. It is also seen as a disrespectful action and said to be a violation if evidence cannot be provided if a person is really into the drug addiction. Thus, it is regarded as an immoral act if drug testing will be insisted (Pohlman et al., 2005). It should always be put on a note that the kids will be so much affected for the expectations that are thrown on them. It may destroy the future of the student when it comes to the person’s realization and thinking of a rebellion. Also, it may be apparent to the mistrust of the people in the environment which signifies a more complex issue (Kimberling, 2000).

Because of the issues on drug testing, disadvantages like; not having an accurate result, affect the relationship of the kids between their parents, colleagues and other friends may result. Sometimes drug tests are not accurate which can destroy the record of a student. In the sense of being positive in the drug test, this may destroy the relationship of the kid to the parents as well as his or her friends (Kimberling, 2000). This may just lead to the kid’s depression and dismissal of one’s social life. It will not be a good help for the prevention of drug usage and thus it may just worsen the case because of feeling aloof to others will be initiated. What the kid needs is a help and not a punishment. Drug testing may depict punishment for the students and this will just affect their school performances and social life because of the corresponding actions that are needed to take in order to comprehend with the policy of the mandatory drug testing.

The relationship of the kid to the parents can be the biggest threat of drug testing because this may signify suspicion of the school officials to the student and may damage the trust of the parents to their children (Kimberling, 2000). Sometimes, unreasonable outcomes should be anticipated as this issue is treated as a sensitive case. The drug tests could just find out the positive users of drugs but not totally stop the use of drugs. This will just make the students think of something more rebellious as their right to privacy is being invaded.

The people who are against the mandatory drug testing strongly say that it is violation of privacy to require the students to take the test. Mandatory drug testing may depict abuse for the privacy of a person and in some instances; students are randomly searched and are discovered to be in possession of a drug. However, these students are those who do well in school and not those who bring problems; sometimes a set up is just the reason why some students are found to have drug paraphernalia. This scenario is prevalent among the students who try to protect themselves and thus they use other people to cover up for themselves. This is one of the disparities seen on drug testing and sometimes particular issues like racism and the like can be associated to it (Shamoo and Tauer, 2002).


Generally, mandatory drug testing has its own pros and cons which should be considered first in order to come up with a decision of implementing the policy. Drug testing is a good idea to eliminate and prevent the use of drugs among high school students which are mostly teens, but this policy should take necessary considerations like seeking for the consent of the parents and no exceptions should be made in testing the students. All students though should be tested in order to maintain fairness. If drug testing will not be made, it might cause severe cases in the future and might ruin the life of a student. As to the discussions above with regard to the advantage and disadvantage of drug testing, what is just important to be considered is the permission of the parents and the assurance that no one will be exempted for the controversies. But, if a person is really confident of being free from drug, hesitations should not occur and fear of being tested is senseless.


Pohlman, K., Schwab N., and Roach, C.A. (2005). What Are the Odds? Random Drug Testing of Students: Two Perspectives, The Journal of School Nursing, 2005; vol. 21: pp. 176.

Lewin, T. (2002). With court nod, parents debate school drug tests. New York Times, pp. 1-1.

Yamaguchi, R., Johnston, L.D. and O’Malley, P.M. 2003. Relationship between student illicit drug use and school drug-testing policies. Journal of School Health 73:159–67.

Shapiro, W. (2002). Student privacy just a specimen for profit politics. USA Today, p. 4A.

Kimberling, G. 2000. Taft High parent joins protest over student drug testing. The News-Times, A1.

Shamoo, A. E., and Tauer, C.A. 2002. Ethically questionable research with children—The fenuramine study. Accountability in Research 9(3/4):143–66.

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