Student Drug Testing Remains Hot Topic

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Drug testing in America's schools viewed as infringement of rights by some and an effective deterrent and screening tool by others.

In last year's State of the Union Address, President Bush proposed offering $23 million for school-based drug testing. In his speech he said, "One of the worst decisions our children can make is to gamble their lives and futures on drugs. Our government is helping parents confront this problem, with aggressive education, treatment, and law enforcement."

The President later added, "The aim here is not to punish children, but to send them this message: We love you, and we don't want to lose you."

Fast-forward one year and it is the week of his inauguration for his second term in office and overall teen drug use has reportedly dropped by some 17 percent over the last three years, according to the Monitoring the Future Study conducted by the University of Michigan.

Drug testing in America's schools has been used or seriously considered in districts throughout the country, mostly for student athletes wishing to participate in extra-curricular activities.

Fought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Drug Policy Alliance, the Supreme Court first ruled in favor of testing student athletes in 1995. Studies have shown positive and negative results, but the jury is still out regarding overall effectiveness of such practices.

An article in the Boston Globe last week highlighted a Salem, MA Superintendent's urge to implement random drug testing for the entire school, coming after he found out his own son was addicted to the prescription painkiller Oxycontin. Currently there is not a single school in America that requires random testing for all students and the local ACLU threatened to sue if that district becomes the first.

Whether or not drug testing is effective by itself, it is clear that a comprehensive approach to drug education and prevention is necessary to continuing the trend of declining teen drug use.

Surveys conducted by the Narconon® Drug Prevention Program of several hundred thousand students across the country show that it is the type of information and the manner in which it's presented that determines the best results.

Many prevention programs in schools talk about consequences of drug use, use scare tactics or show samples of drugs that only peak students' interest in 'learning more' about them. While these approaches may work for some, the majority of students don't feel that they are very real to them.

J.T. Daily is a Prevention Specialist for Narconon Arrowhead, the nation's largest and most successful private rehabilitation and education facility, which uses the drug-free rehabilitation methodology developed by L. Ron Hubbard. Daily has recently worked in several states with students and adults, including Demand Reduction Coordinators with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

Narconon Arrowhead's prevention program uses effective two-way communication with a lot of energy and interest between the presenter and the students. Combined with information that isn't normally taught and the fact that many of the presenters are former drug addicts that have been able to successfully get their lives back, students are able

to get the toughest questions answered in a way that satisfies their curiosity without having to try drugs for themselves.

Call Narconon Arrowhead today at 1-800-468-6933 or log on to http://www.stopaddiction.com to book a drug education presentation in your area or to get help for a loved one in need of effective rehabilitation.

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Luke Catton