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RESULTS OF SCHOOL TESTING PROGRAMS

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A study conducted by the Institute for Behavior and Health, Inc. and published in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Substance Abuse shows students in schools with RSDT programs who knew they were subject to random testing and expected to be tested in the coming school year reported significantly less marijuana and other illegal drug use than students who knew they were not subject to testing. Study Summary. Journal Abstract.

There are hundreds of schools with student drug testing programs. Below are some examples of model programs. Each program is specific to its school; however, they each have a written policy and evaluation procedure.

Check.Hunterdon Central Regional High School, NJ
Mandatory Program Tested Athletes, Extracurricular Activity Participants, Drivers
 
Check.Autauga County School System, AL
Voluntary Program in 13 Public Schools
 
Check.Midwest Public Suburban School
Mandatory Program Tested Athletes, Extracurricular Activity Participants, Drivers
 
Check.Southern Private Urban School
Mandatory Program Tested All Students

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Eastern Public High School - Hunterdon Central Regional High School, New Jersey

Before Program Implementation

  • School anonymously surveyed its high school students in 2001 in which students reported lifetime use of the following:
    • 45% of all students had used marijuana
    • 70% of all students had used alcohol
    • Over 10% of all students had used hallucinogens
    • 13% of seniors had used cocaine
    • 38% of seniors reported that heroin was "readily available"

Program Description

  • Random Mandatory Student Drug Testing Program implemented in 1997
  • Type of Test: Urinalysis
  • Drug Test Panel: Marijuana, cocaine, heroin/codeine, amphetamine/methamphetamine, PCP, steroids, alcohol
  • Students Tested: Athletes only
  • Policy Summary: If test was confirmed positive,
    • School notified parents and set up a meeting between student and school counselor to discuss positive test result
    • Student attended a mandatory 4-week drug education course and was suspended from athletic activity until subsequent test showed drug use stopped
    • If student could not produce a valid sample when tested, it was considered a positive test
  • Changes to Program:
    • Type of Test: Added oral fluid test to standard urinalysis
    • Students Tested: Added extracurricular/club participants and student drivers to testing pool
    • A lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union suspended all random drug testing claiming a violation of Fourth Amendment Rights

Results of Program Implementation

  • In 1999, after two years of the successful testing program, an anonymous survey of all students showed that of the 28 categories of drug use evaluated by the survey, drug use went down in 20 categories
  • Rates of drug use of "Multi-Drug Users" were as follows:
    • 9th Grade - 57% decrease
    • 10th Grade - 100% decrease
    • 11th Grade - 14% decrease
    • 12th Grade - 52% decrease
  • In 2002, following a 3 year suspension of the random drug testing program, anonymous survey results showed drug use was up in 18 of the 28 categories
  • In the high risk category of "Multi-Drug Users" the rates went up:
    • 9th Grade--316% increase
    • 10th Grade--100% increase
    • 11th Grade--52% increase
    • 12th Grade--209% increase
  • Following a victory over the legal challenge to the program, in 2003, the testing program was reinstated and continued using urinalysis and oral fluid tests.

2007 Updates to Program

  • The testing frequency increased to 20% of eligible students every year. The testing pool also increased to 2,000 students out of total student population of 3,135.
  • Hunterdon returned to only using urinalysis because of concern about shorter detection window for marijuana with oral fluid tests.
  • The school began randomly testing students for alcohol using a breath test at school activities including prom and other dances.
  • Hunterdon also began randomly testing students on both local and international school-funded trips.

From Office of National Drug Control Policy. (2002). What You Need to Know About Drug Testing in Schools. [Booklet] U.S. Government Printing Office: Washington, D.C.
Update provided by Lisa Brady, school Superintendent October, 2008.

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Southern Public High School - Autauga County School System (13 Schools), Alabama

Before Program Implementation

  • Schools had an existing student drug testing program for 7th graders
  • Schools anonymously surveyed 8th graders in 2001 using PRIDE Surveys which showed past 30 day use:
    • 35.9% of 8th grade students reported use of nicotine
    • 39.9% reported use of alcohol
    • 18.5% reported use of marijuana

Program Description

  • In 2001-2002, school implemented a Random Voluntary Student Drug Testing Program
  • Type of Test: Urinalysis
  • Testing Frequency: Twice per year
  • Drug Test Panel: Marijuana, cocaine, amphetamine, opiates and PCP
  • Students Tested: 8th graders added to 7th grad testing pool
  • Policy Summary:
    • If test is negative, students received a picture ID that entitled them to special deals at more than 55 participating restaurants and stores.
    • If test is positive, students relinquished ID cards and special privileges. The school counselor notified parents and treatment options discussed if needed.

Results of Program Implementation

  • In 2002, school anonymously surveyed 8th graders again after the first year of the drug testing program
  • A decrease was seen in the following rates of past 30 day use for 8th graders:
    • 24.4% reported use of nicotine - a decrease of 11.5%
    • 30% reported use of alcohol - a decrease of 9.9%
    • 11.8% reported use of marijuana - a decrease of 6.7%

From Office of National Drug Control Policy. (2002). What You Need to Know About Drug Testing in Schools. [Booklet] U.S. Government Printing Office: Washington, D.C.

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Midwest Public School - Suburban

Program Description

  • Mandatory Random Student Drug Testing Program tested athletes, extracurricular activity participants and student drivers
  • Type of Test: Urinalysis
  • Testing Frequency: 16% of eligible students tested each year
  • Drug Test Panel: Marijuana, cocaine, heroin/codeine amphetamine/methamphetamine, opiates, PCP and alcohol
  • Junior High School Policy Summary (7th and 8th grades)
    • Any positive test: parents notified of test result
  • High School Policy Summary (9th, 10th, 11th, 12th grades)
    • 1st positive test: student lost privilege of participating in athletics, extracurricular activity, or student driving until random follow-up drug test is completed with negative results
    • 2nd positive test: student prohibited from participating for 1 year and may be required to continue participating in random testing
    • 3rd positive test, student prohibited from participating in athletics, extracurricular activity, or driving for remainder of tenure in school district
  • Changes to Program: In 2000-2001 academic year, the program was suspended due to court case elsewhere in state. State Supreme Court ruled school drug testing is constitutional

Results of Program Implementation

  • In 1999-2000, the full school year of testing before the program was suspended, 4% of positive tests were for positive for marijuana
  • After reinstating the drug testing program after it was suspended, 15% of positive tests were positive for marijuana showing a significant increase in the use of the drug
  • The next full academic year of testing, the rate of positive drug tests decreased and the number of suspicion-based tests decreased

From DuPont, Campbell, and Mazza. "Report of a Preliminary Study: Elements of a Successful School-Based Student Drug Testing Program." US Dept. of Education Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, Safe and Drug-Free Schools Program, 2002.

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Southern Private Co-Ed School - Urban

Before Program Implementation

  • School anonymously surveyed its student population using the Youth Risk Behavior Survey and determined that some of the students had used alcohol, marijuana and/or cocaine.
  • The program was developed in 1997-1998 and was supported by administrators, faculty, parents, religious organizations and law enforcement. Students were neutral or expressed mixed feelings for the program.

Program Description

  • Mandatory Student Drug Testing Program tested all students (730 in grades 8-12) at least once during the academic school year
  • Type of Test: Hair
  • Testing Frequency: All students tested at least one time, 20% were tested another day during the school year
  • Drug Test Panel: Marijuana, cocaine, heroin/codeine, amphetamine/methamphetamine, PCP and ecstasy/MDMA
  • Policy Summary:
    • 1st positive test: family was contacted by Dean of Students and conference was scheduled; drug education and follow-up testing occurred
    • 2nd positive test: parents were notified to withdraw student from school

Results of Program Implementation

  • After the first year of testing:
    • When testing began, the positive testing rate was 3.4%
    • All students who initially tested positive had a follow-up drug test; of those students, 10% tested positive a second time
  • After the second year of testing:
    • The positive testing rate dropped to 2.1%
    • Of all follow-up drug tests, 5% tested positive a second time
    • Detentions for fighting reduced by 85%
    • Disruptive behavior decreased by 65%
  • The positive rate has fluctuated over the years but has continued to stay below the initial positive rate of 3.4%

From DuPont, Campbell, and Mazza. "Report of a Preliminary Study: Elements of a Successful School-Based Student Drug Testing Program." US Dept. of Education Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, Safe and Drug-Free Schools Program, 2002.

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