School Drug Testing Policy Draws Controversy

pillsSchools throughout the country have realized that they have a responsibility to their students and community to do their part in fighting against teen substance abuse. While the notion isn’t new, the ways that they have gone about it have changed over the years. As part of this push to prevent teenagers from experimenting with and abusing drugs, some schools have instituted new policies regarding drug testing.

Currently, most schools don’t have drug testing policies, but more of them are starting to adopt mandatory random drug testing for extracurricular activities. Some people look at this as a form of punishment or threat, but it can also be viewed as more of an incentive not to use drugs.

“This policy is a step forward in my mind in assisting families and children, not to catch them, not to get them in trouble, not to harm them, but because we love them,” commented Tracie West, Auburn City School Board Vice President. The issue was passed unanimously by the school board, despite some parents’ objections regarding the new policy. Some people were concerned that the new policy would invade the privacy of the children. Others were worried about the cost of the drug tests and administering the tests, while others insisted that the new policy would not do much to handle potential drug problems.

Acknowledging that teenagers and children are often in situations where drug and alcohol use is present, even at school, is important for teachers and parents to understand. Chances are likely that more schools will continue to implement similar policies.

Some experts believe that the more tools and systems we have in place to help protect our children from substance abuse issues, the better off we are, but those must include effective education programs so that they choose not to engage in the behavior on their own.

Another Lesser Known Effect of Casual Drug Use

Most experts would agree that the best way to reverse the pattern of addiction in our nation is to do a better job of drug education and prevention. While there are some great programs available for people of all ages, many of them leave out the extended reach of the consequences caused by illegal drug use.

Many casual users, especially young adults like college students, are completely unaware of what they’re promoting when they occasionally use marijuana, cocaine, heroin and other drugs. Socially conscious and aware people understand that the drug trade fuels violence, both in our country and others, especially Mexico. However, few make the link that their joint or bump is funding cartels that are committing murder daily on both sides of the border.

About 90 percent of the cocaine abused in the United States reportedly traveled through Mexico before it was packaged and sold to people around the country. In order to get the cocaine from Mexico and into the U.S., cartels employ many different methods, but one outcome has always been the destruction they leave in their wake.

Despite what many believe, many Mexicans and residents in other South American countries that are affected by the cartels and drug routes, do not want anything to do with illegal drugs. Unfortunately, they often have little choice but to get involved, or they will become subjected to the violence. The drug cartels often force people to smuggle drugs into the U.S. by kidnapping them, threatening their families or by charging such extreme tolls on common routes into the U.S. that people have no choice but to agree to smuggle in drugs.

The violence that is associated with cartels is nothing new, but it continues to be terrifying and used as a method to frighten and manipulate. Those that speak out against the cartels or refuse to join or will not help smuggle drugs into the U.S. are in real danger of physical retaliation and likely death. Families of those that resist the cartels are also in danger – many are killed when a loved one will not comply with the cartels. These drug lords have also targeted local media and frightened them into staying away from reporting their activities.

The only reason why this violence and torture is allowed to exist is because the demand for drugs like marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine are so strong in the United States. Our country consumes a large portion of the illegal drugs in the world, despite having a relatively small population in comparison to other major nations.

While some say the answer is to simply legalize the drugs, they’re also being naive and irresponsible, as a nation full of drug users means increased violence, crime, accidents and injuries here as well. The answer, then, really does seem to come around to more effective drug education and prevention practices to reduce the demand, but it goes well beyond that. We must work to solve societal problems that generate the desire in individuals to seek out relief through these chemicals.