High school students who are subject to drug testing while participating in extracurricular activities use drugs less than those who aren’t tested, says a study by the Institute of Education Sciences, part of the U.S. Department of Education, reports the Memphis Commercial Appeal. The study said that 16 percent of students subject to drug testing reported using banned substances in the past 30 days, compared with 22 percent of sudents who aren’t tested at school. However, random testing didn’t change students’ plans for drug use in the future. Of the students subject to testing, 34 percent said they “definitely will” or “probably will” use substances in the next year, compared to 33 percent who aren’t tested.
Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen recently signed a bill that allows school districts to decide if they want to require drug testing for students participating in extracurricular activities. Germantown High School started doing random drug tests on students involved in extracurricular activities in the early 1990s, said principal Mike McIntyre. “The biggest reason we did it was to educate our students and community,” McIntyre said. “We never did it for punishment.” Every year, the school tests more than 600 students who are involved in athletics, cheerleading, band and fine arts. They don’t know when they’ll be tested and it’s not always during the season. McIntyre said students “are bombed with peer pressure” to use drugs. He tells them to use the drug testing rule as a reason to say “no.”