AAP: School-Based Drug Testing Lacks “Solid Evidence For Their Effectiveness”

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The American Academy of Pediatrics said Monday that, although school drug testing has hypothetical benefits, it opposes the widespread implementation of schools drug testing students.

The AAP, in an updated policy statement and technical report published Monday, encourages and supports the efforts of schools to identify and address substance use and abuse among students, but says school-based drug testing lacks “solid evidence for their effectiveness.”

Furthermore, the AAP said that despite one study’s findings that drug testing results lower rates of marijuana and other illicit drug use, a number of questions surround the drug testing. Previous tests had ambiguous findings and others cited no change.

Also, what the AAP called a “substantial concern,” the test doesn’t include the substance most commonly used by students—alcohol.

The AAP questions, with no hard facts to prove the effectiveness of school-based drug testing, if it is the “best use of limited school resources.”

Another study, according to the AAP, found that brief professional advice resulted in significantly lower rates of the initial and continued consumption of alcohol.

Also concerning, according to the AAP, the tests could include potential for breach of privacy. Example being when a student is on prescribed medications that are picked up on drug tests. Findings could lead the suspension or expulsion for these students. Also some students, in fear of failing the drug tests, may dropout or increase the use of drugs that are not easily detectable, according to the AAP.

To prevent substance abuse among students, the AAP recommends that pediatricians advocate for substance abuse prevention programs in schools, also that schools include services for students with substance use disorders.

When choosing to use school-based drug testing, the AAP says it’s important to monitor the program for any adverse effects; including decreased participation in sports, breach of confidentiality, increase in use of substances not detected on the test, and any increase in students facing disciplinary action.

To read the full policy statement, click here.

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