Substance abuse and young adults remains an issue in the United States and the world. Young adults continue to abuse drugs and alcohol to the point of ruining their futures. It is incredibly sad to image that young adults are falling victim to substance abuse at such a young age. Drug abuse and addiction can happen to anyone; addiction does not discriminate. Parents and governments are working tirelessly to reduce the amount of substance use and abuse, but it is a problem that persists. The D.A.R.E. program and “this is your brain on drugs” programs have proven to be ineffective. Is there an answer to the continued problem with substance abuse and drug experimentation? Mandatory drug testing is another initiative that schools are implementing to reduce student drug abuse, but is it working?

Is it Worth the Cost?

Mandatory drug testing is currently running in one out of five schools. In most of these schools the mandatory drug testing is used only for school sports or extracurricular activities. It is no secret that schools, like every other part of government, is fighting small and continuously shrinking budgets with increasing costs. Mandatory drug testing is an expensive process for an already small school budget. There have also been a number of lawsuits against schools who require drug testing. These cases have sided with the schools, but only by a narrow margin. The increased cost both direct and indirect make it difficult for schools to continue to provide mandatory drug tests. These tests are difficult to justify because of the increased cost, but even more so if they are not producing any positive results.

Advocates Lack Evidence of Results

The advocates of mandatory drug testing argue that this is a program that must be used to decrease the amount of drug use and abuse in high schools. Sadly, the truth is that these tests are not reducing the amount of student drug use and abuse. Recent surveys and studies have shown that these mandatory drugs tests are not producing the results to which they are striving. Studies have shown that mandatory drug testing, at best, produce lower rates of student substance use and abuse in the short term. There is a lower percentage of student abusing marijuana, but not in those who are not being tested. Additionally, drug use and abuse in the long term is not affected by mandatory drug testing. Although, the results show a better school climate with reduced smoking and marijuana use.

Alcohol Not Tested

The opponents to the mandatory drug testing programs argue that the real problem with student substance abuse is alcohol use. These tests do not help fight against alcohol abuse, which is widely known to be the most used drug by high schoolers. It is associated with lower test scores, productivity, health problems and safety concerns. Many schools require students to take alcohol tests before entering school functions like Prom, but there is a number of added hurdles that the schools must face. School districts have been sued for testing students’ blood alcohol levels, but these cases have sided with the schools.


Are mandatory drug testing in schools actually preventing substance abuse? The statistical information of student drug prevention shows that mandatory drug tests do not produce results. At best, mandatory drug tests prevent drug use and abuse in the short term. Over the long term students continue to abuse drugs and alcohol. Alcohol is not tested and is still the popular drug of choice for young adults. Mandatory drug testing only affects those that must or are willing to take the tests, which excludes the majority of students.