White House Pushes Nationwide Student Drug Testing Agenda At Four Regional Summits

Press Release March 14, 2004
Media Contact

Tony Newman at (646) 335-5384

March 15, 2004– The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) will conduct a series of summits promoting student drug testing, beginning this Tuesday, March 16, in Chicago, Illinois. Three more summits will follow in Fresno (March 18), Atlanta (March 25), and Denver (April 8).

Although the Bush administration has been busy promoting student drug testing for the last year and a half, the largest ever study on the effectiveness of such testing found no difference in drug use among students who were tested and those who were not. The federally funded study, released in 2003, included 76,000 students from across the country.

“Drug testing is humiliating, costly and ineffective, but it’s an easy anti-drug soundbite for the White House,” said Judy Appel, Deputy Director of Legal Affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance. “The people and educators across the country who make serious decisions about young people’s safety won’t find the information they need at these propaganda-filled summits. They need the actual research, not slogans and junk science.”

A 24-page booklet published by the ACLU and the Drug Policy Alliance, Making Sense of Student Drug Testing: Why Educators Are Saying No, provides the latest scientific research on student drug testing. Already distributed to over 17,000 school officials, the booklet covers the legal implications and responsibilities associated with student drug testing, analyzes the costs of implementing such policies, and provides further resources for educators interested in addressing drug abuse among young people.

Local educators and drug testing industry representatives have been invited to attend the summits, where the drug czar’s office will continue to tout student drug testing as a “silver bullet” to address teen drug use. But participants in the summit won’t be told that student drug testing not only doesn’t work, it may in fact deter young people from participating in the very extracurricular activities that have proven to decrease drug use. Educators will also be informed about the federal government’s enlarged grant program for schools that want to implement student drug testing.

“They like to pretend that random drug testing is about responding to local concerns and helping young people,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. “But in reality they’re pushing this from Washington, ignoring the leading science, and using soft rhetoric to cover their real agenda — punishment.”

Making Sense of Student Drug Testing: Why Educators are Saying No can be found online at www.drugtestingfails.org or at www.aclu.org/drugpolicy.

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

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