Random student drug testing as a school-based drug prevention strategy
Article first published online: 20 AUG 2012
© 2012 The Authors, Addiction © 2012 Society for the Study of Addiction
Volume 108, Issue 5, pages 839–845, May 2013
How to Cite
DuPont, R. L., Merlo, L. J., Arria, A. M. and Shea, C. L. (2013), Random student drug testing as a school-based drug prevention strategy. Addiction, 108: 839–845. doi: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2012.03978.x
- Issue published online: 15 APR 2013
- Article first published online: 20 AUG 2012
- Manuscript Accepted: 11 JUN 2012
- Manuscript Revised: 30 JAN 2012
- Manuscript Received: 26 AUG 2011
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. Grant Numbers: R01-DA14845, P50-DA027841
- drug tests;
- school-based programs;
This paper describes the goals and current practice of school-based random student drug testing (RSDT) as part of an overall drug prevention strategy, briefly explores the available literature evaluating its effectiveness and discusses the controversies related to RSDT.
The authors describe the rationale for RSDT programs and the prevalence of RSDT and other drug testing programs in schools. Eight major criticisms and controversies in RSDT are discussed, including those related to acceptance of RSDT, program effectiveness, costs, legality and effects of drug testing on students. The limitations of the current literature are explored.
Although there is limited empirical evidence to support or refute the efficacy of RSDT in schools, there remains substantial opposition to such programs, which may contribute to the paucity of empirical studies of RSDT.
Rigorous long-term evaluations are needed to evaluate the effectiveness of various versions of RSDT programs to prevent drug use and identify students in need of assistance to become and stay drug-free.