The Effectiveness of Mandatory-Random Student Drug Testing

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This report has found that although drug testing of high school students has a slight positive impact on their past-month drug use, it has an insignificant effect on their intentions to use drugs in the future.

After evaluating the effect of mandatory-random student drug testing (MRSDT) at several high schools, the Department of Education also found that there were no “spillover effects” on the substance use of students not subjected to testing, and no groups were particularly dissuaded from future substance use either.

The authors of the report contend that the prevalence of illicit drug use among youths is high and warrants closer attention.  Consequences of drug use during adolescence include low academic outcomes, delinquent behavior and unsafe sexual behaviors, the report stated.

The MRSDT programs were evaluated based on a logic model that assumed the programs could reduce student substance abuse by deterring the use through fear of being tested, detecting the use through testing and, as a result, deter nonparticipants from using substances.

Free, 328 pages. http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/pubs/20104025/pdf/20104025.pdf.