Drug Testing Does Not Deter Substance Abuse in High School
Perceived positive school climate may reduce substance use, but not alcohol use
WEDNESDAY, Jan. 15, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The perception of student drug testing does not appear to reduce substance use in high school, according to research published in the January issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.
Sharon R. Sznitman, Ph.D., of the University of Haifa in Israel, and Daniel Romer, Ph.D., of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, analyzed panel data from a sample of 361 high school students, at baseline and one year later. The authors sought to assess the effects of positive school climates and/or student drug testing on youth substance and alcohol use.
The researchers found that perceived student drug testing was not associated with changes in substance use in high school students. Perceived positive school climates at baseline were associated with reductions in initiation of cigarettes and escalation of frequency of cigarette use at one year; reduction in initiation of marijuana use also was observed. No changes in alcohol use were observed.
"Student drug testing appears to be less associated with substance use than positive school climates," the authors write. "Nevertheless, even favorable school climates may not be able to influence the use of alcohol, which appears to be quite normative in this age group."