Drug Policy

Are Pee Tests a Drain on Student Morale?


Random drug testing does little to deter student athletes from using drugs, according to a study in the November Journal of Adolescent Health. In the two-year experiment, which was funded by a $3.6 million federal grant, five Oregon high schools were randomly chosen for testing. In four follow-up surveys, student athletes at those schools were just as likely to have used illegal drugs in the previous month as student athletes at six control schools. Self-reported past-year drug use at the schools with testing declined in two out of the four surveys. At the same time, students at the testing schools reported "less athletic competence," "less belief authorities were opposed to drug use," and "greater risk-taking" in all four surveys. In the final follow-up, appropriately enough, they "believed less in testing benefits" and "less that testing was a reason not to use drugs." The lead researcher, Linn Goldberg, told The Oregonian:

It shocked us….It's not that we were proponents or opponents [of drug testing]. We're proponents for kids' health. So we thought it was important to study the issue. Why waste money if it's not going to work?

With an attitude like that, Goldberg may be endangering his prospects of obtaining future government grants. Despite the lack of evidence that student drug testing accomplishes anything positive, the Bush administration has been pushing it for years.

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  1. Are these students being punished for drug use if they come up “hot”? I’ve never been afraid of failing ANY test, but I have been afraid of the consequences for failing.

  2. Of course morale goes down. Would you be motivated if you felt your athletic participation placed you at risk for being nailed for drug use? I’m assuming these tests weren’t limited to steroids. You’d be afraid that you’ll get nailed for taking a few hits off that joint at the party last Friday. Hell, I’d quit the team.

  3. This pisses me off.

    (Someone had to say it.)

  4. Why waste money if it’s not going to work?

    That is a question that thinking people have been asking about the WOD for decades.

    With an attitude like that, Goldberg may be endangering his prospects of obtaining future government grants.

    Why look for facts. What the government really seeks is justification for it’s policies? In statist minds, dissent is the equivalent of disloyalty.

  5. I am surprised to learn that competitive sports, presumably involving physical contact between participants, are allowed in the state of Oregon.

    It shouldn’t surprise anyone that kids resent being treated like criminals in order to do something that they presumably enjoy and which takes up their free time. I mean, people on parole also get random drug tests, don’t they? So what kind of message does that send to the student athletes?

  6. I’m a little more sanguine about this… DARE has been largely discredited. Mayhaps these results will stick.

  7. So, what, condoms in schools are right out, but “water sports” are allowed????

    *looks around for someone to blame*

  8. Why waste money if it’s not going to work?

    Because, if I may channel John Edwards, it sends the right message to young people.

    How “you have no privacy and no right to enjoy yourselves except in ways approved by your Masters” is the right message, I’m not sure.

  9. There’s nothing like the feeling that your guilty until proven innocent to lift your spirits!

  10. Some of this is just counter-intuitive.

    How would drug testing decrease the feeling of athletic competence? Sure, steroids would be one factor, but it seems they were testing more for recreational drugs and alcohol.

  11. Like students answer these surveys truthfully in the first place.

  12. I’d think if you really wanted to keep kids off of drugs then it would be better to compel those kids who fail the tests to play sports (or participate in any other extracurricular activity), as opposed to keeping those who fail off the teams. Kids who already play sports and fail the tests? Two-a-days.

    “Sorry, we don’t want you to use drugs, so you’re off the team. Now go home and hang out in your basement with nothing to do.”

    For the love of God, please don’t anyone think I’m actually advocating compelled sports participation or anti-drug policy or whatever. Just pointing out a contradiction between the policy and its goal.

  13. If the drug tests are to end, we need more stories like this to hit the news:



    “Martina Hingis said Thursday she has been accused of testing positive for cocaine at Wimbledon, and then announced her retirement from professional tennis….

    …Hingis, a five-time Grand Slam champion and former Wimbledon winner, denied using cocaine.

    “I find this accusation so horrendous, so monstrous that I’ve decided to confront it head on by talking to the press,” she said. “I am frustrated and angry. I believe that I am absolutely 100 percent innocent.”

    The nannystate /, what would the children think if… / rehab industrial complex is freakin’ out of control and it must be stopped.

    If only people would stop selling out for that job and draw the line by not cooperating with the war on some drugs. Sure, you may not get that sweet $100,000 / year gig, but at least you will have a little dignity and help put a stop to the 21st Century Inquisition.

    People signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that their very signatures associated with that document placed their very lives in jeopardy. Are we so weak as to roll over and pee on demand, for a job which could be outsourced or downsized?

    We are all drops of water behind a dam which is built on a faulty foundation.

    \\Nobody expects the Inquisition.

    \\Couldn’t help it.

  14. “Are we so weak as to roll over and pee on demand, for a job which could be outsourced or downsized?”

    Why, yes, of course we are.

    We’re a bunch of rabbits in a government and corporate constructed hutch. We belong to them, as do our offspring.

  15. Your job or education is not the only thing you can piss away. I predict that in the near future, YOU will be pissing for; drivers lic., bank loan, passport,housing rental, etc. Just about anything you can name that is NOBODY ELSES BUSINESS.Unless…

  16. To claim that a study involving random testing at FIVE whole schools indicates that drug testing doesn’t work is absolutely ridiculous. That is akin to polling 50 people and then stating the results are an accurate predictor for who will be elected president.

  17. If the testing was given in five schools or five thousand ,”some drugs” testing does not work because it pisses off the students. It’s easy to discern who will be the next president without polling. The next head honcho will be whomever has spent the most money on the campaign,and promised the best deals to those in power.

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