White House Pushes Controversial Student Drug Testing Agenda at Summit in Indianapolis on February 19

Press Release February 14, 2008
Media Contact

Jennifer Kern at (415) 373-7694 or Claudia Pena Porretti at (317) 635-4059

The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) is conducting a series of regional summits designed to convince local educators to start drug testing students — randomly and without cause. This policy is unsupported by the available science and opposed by leading experts in adolescent health. The final summit of 2008 takes place on Tuesday, February 19 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel & Conference Center at Historic Union Station at 8:30 a.m.

The Drug Policy Alliance and American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana are providing attendees with copies of the Drug Policy Alliance’s booklet Making Sense of Student Drug Testing: Why Educators Are Saying No, which summarizes research showing that such testing is ineffective and provides resources for evidence-based alternatives.

Studies have found that suspicionless drug testing is ineffective in deterring student drug use. The first large-scale national study on student drug testing, which was published by researchers at the University of Michigan in 2003, found no difference in rates of student drug use between schools that have drug testing programs and those that do not. A two-year randomized experimental trial published last November in the Journal of Adolescent Health concluded random drug testing targeting student athletes did not reliably reduce past month drug use and, in fact, produced attitudinal changes among students that indicate new risk factors for future substance use.

“Drug testing breaks down relationships of trust,” said Jennifer Kern, Drug Testing Fails Our Youth Campaign Coordinator at the Drug Policy Alliance. “All credible research on substance abuse prevention points to eliminating, rather than creating, sources of alienation and conflict between young people, their parents and schools.”

A group of concerned citizens will also attend to provide educators with important information missing from the summit, such as the objections of the American Academy of Pediatrics, National Education Association, the Association of Addiction Professionals and the National Association of Social Workers to testing. These organizations believe random testing programs erect counter-productive obstacles to student participation in extracurricular activities, marginalize at-risk students and make open communication more difficult.

“The irony of drug testing programs is that they alienate students from the very activities that are most effective in keeping kids out of trouble,” said Claudia Pe

A young woman holds a sign that says "End the Drug War."

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