Saving Adolescents Through Drug Testing

Nowadays, middle schoolers are more likely than ever to use drugs recreationaly. To remind you, students in middle school range from 12-14. Yes, you read that correctly. Students as young as 12 are using drugs recreationaly. This is partly because students can access drugs in ways that schools can’t prevent. Drug testing can’t prevent students from buying the drugs, but it can prevent students from using the drugs, at least on a consistent basis. While it won’t solve the problem completely, drug testing is an efficient way for schools to know if their students are using drugs.

Drug testing, also known as toxicology screening, is a way for schools to analyze just how many students are consuming illegal substances. The main substances that schools look for are alcohol, tobacco, and cannabis. According to an article written in 2014 by the National Institute of Drug Abuse,

Alcohol and tobacco are the drugs most commonly abused by adolescents, followed by marijuana.

Adolescents are more likely to use these substances, in part, because they are much easier to find.

The drug tests are relatively simple, consisting of urine samples being exposed to certain substances to see the reaction. For example, when a student has cannabis in their system, to find this out, the testers would add a substance called Duquenois-Levine reagent. This substance will turn the testing solution from white to red. This is because the Duquenois-Levine reagent has a chemical reaction with Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which causes the color of the solution to change. The process is equally simple for tobacco and alcohol as well.

Furthermore, drug testing could exponentially lower the recreational use of drugs by adolescents. In this article, written by Sober Living By the Sea (a drug abuse treatment center), the author refers to cannabis, non-prescription cough medicine, and inhalants. The article states,

About 15 percent of students report having tried these substances.  Other drugs used by smaller percentages of middle school students include Vicodin, OxyContin and other prescription drugs.

There are more than 7.2 million students in middle schools today. This means nearly 1,080,000 middle schoolers in the United States have tried or are currently using illicit substances. Drug tests can lower this number without a doubt. Even if drug tests stop 1 kid from consuming drugs, that’s a whole life that has been curbed from the negative consequences of a young and immature mind consuming mind altering substances. Toxicology screening is a viable and ready solution to adolescent drug abuse.

Some would say drug testing is not the correct path to take for middleschoolers. However, the effectiveness of drug screening has already been laid out. According to an article written in 2018 by the Food and Drug Association,

The at-home testing part of this test is fairly sensitive to the presence of drugs in the urine. This means that if drugs are present, you will usually get a preliminary (or presumptive) positive test result.

The concept of drug testing is not only beneficial to the safety of schools, but the health of students as well. If a student knows they will be drug tested, they will lay off drug use to avoid consequences, which also leads to better health overall. Drug testing has also been proven effective, which is necessary for schools. As one can see, drug tests are what will save middle school students from drug abuse.

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