Pubdate: Mon, 26 Jul 2010
Source: Birmingham News, The (AL)
Copyright: 2010 Stefan G. Kertesz, M.D.
Author: Stefan G. Kertesz, M.D.


Drug use poses a major risk to the health, well-being and academic
performance of young adults. Together, parents, teachers and law
enforcement share in the responsibility to offer preventive education,
guidance and intervention to adolescents.

However, that responsibility is not well-served by the decision of the
Trussville Board of Education to promote school-based drug testing for
students. The American Academy of Pediatrics formally opposed such
testing in its 2007 statement for several reasons.

First, school-based testing programs are not ready to administer such
tests in a secure fashion. For the results to be valid, each student
will need to be personally observed while urinating. It is not clear
that school personnel can or should undertake this task.

There is significant risk of students testing positive without having
used drugs. Other drugs will be missed because the student used drugs
more than 72 hours before the test.

To date, research on school-based testing has not consistently shown
that it reduces drug use. One study showed it resulted in students
regarding drug use as more acceptable, and having greater distrust of
the school.

There is a risk of harm to the parent-child relationship and the
relationship between children and schools.

Given the limited resources with which to protect the health of
children, this is an unfortunate choice.

Stefan G. Kertesz, M.D.

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