School-imposed drug tests do little to deter marijuana use among teenagers, says a new study on drug prevention reported by the Christian Science Monitor. The overall tone of a school's climate may play a bigger role in prevention than any punitive measures, the authors say. Some, 20 percent of U.S. private and public schools use drug testing. Some limit the tests to students suspected of abusing drugs while others require all students participating in sports or other extracurricular activities submit to a urine test.
The study in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs concludes that “some universal school drug-prevention efforts, which aim to improve the knowledge and encourage students to 'say no,' have shown disappointing results; however, other approaches that provide social life-skill training have shown positive effects.” Life-skill training programs aim to prevent destructive behavior among students by establishing “good relations between teachers, students, and parents – the triad of communication,” says Dan Romer of the Adolescent Communication Institute at the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg School of Public Policy and a lead author of the study. Researchers from the University of Haifa in Israel also took part.