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Drug Testing in the School System

drug testing in schools

Drug Testing in Schools: Over the years, drug use in teenagers has seen an upward trend. In fact, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports almost 50 percent of 12th graders have used illicit drugs at least once in their lifetime [1].

With this, many high schools have instituted mandatory random drug screens in order to deter students from drug use and identify those who would benefit from treatment and counseling [2].

Most often it is student-athletes who must undergo mandatory-random drug testing, but schools may also test students they suspect are using illicit drugs. If they choose to do so, each school district develops its own policies on drug testing students using urinalysis kits for alcohol and illicit substances.

When Did Drug Testing Start in Schools?

The idea of consistent drug testing in schools was brought forward by President George W. Bush on May 10, 2001. He set a goal to reduce youth drug use by 10 percent over the next two years, then further reduce it by 25 percent in five years [3]. Because drug testing in schools became more common, the United States Supreme Court has presided over two court cases involving drug testing students. In 1995 and again in 2002, the Supreme Court ruled that it was constitutional to require all student-athletes and those who participate in extracurricular activities to submit a urinalysis drug test [3].

When Did Drug Testing Start in Schools?

Why Test for Drugs in Schools?

Schools perform drug tests on students for many reasons, whether on student-athletes who represent their school, random yearly tests or if a student is suspected of using illicit drugs.

Drug use is illegal on school campuses, and it can be used to deter students from bringing dangerous substances into an educational space. In the 2004 to 2005 school year, it was reported that 14 percent of public school districts in the U.S. performed random drug tests on students; a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2016 found that this has increased to 37 percent [4]. To protect students, discourage drug use and foster a safe learning environment, school districts will perform mandatory-random required drug testing on students for commonly used drugs, including [1]:


Students who use marijuana are more likely to have lower grades and drop out of high school compared to those who do not use it . It also impairs the ability to drive and increases the likelihood of getting into a car accident; high school seniors who use marijuana are twice as likely to be pulled over while driving and 65 percent more likely to get into a car accident compared to other teen drivers. Over 40 percent of 12th graders have reported using marijuana in their lifetime .


Alcohol can have lasting effects on the teenage brain because it is still developing. Students who consume alcohol can have impaired information learning and processing and are at a higher risk for developing alcohol use disorder late in their lives. Alcohol also impairs judgment, can lead to accidents and injuries, problems at school, and is associated with using other drugs. Over 60 percent of 12th graders have reported using alcohol in their lifetime.


Cocaine is a stimulant that can damage the brain’s reward system and lead to repeated use. While its effects are short-lived, cocaine can become addictive and lead to an inability to sleep, weight loss, high blood pressure, and organ damage [8]. Four percent of 12th graders have reported using cocaine in their lifetime .


MDMA (also known as molly or ecstasy) is a party drug used to get high. Even weeks after use, it is possible to experience negative side effects such as depression, anxiety, confusion, and problems sleeping. Almost four percent of 12th graders have reported using MDMA in their lifetime.


Amphetamines, also known as prescription stimulants, are often misused by high school students. Drugs such as Adderall and Ritalin are commonly used to get high or improve focus for better grades. However, they can become addictive and cause paranoia, psychosis, heart problems, and weight loss. Just over seven percent of 12th graders have reported using amphetamines in their lifetime [1].


Tranquilizers, such as barbiturates, benzodiazepines, and sleep medication, are used to treat people with anxiety and insomnia. However, they can be used by young people to get high, and they can become dangerous when mixed with alcohol or other commonly used drugs. Seven percent of 12th graders have reported using tranquilizers in their lifetime.

Where Can I Buy a Drug Test Kit?

Where Can I Buy a Drug Test Kit?

12 Panel Now offers a variety of drugs test kits such as urine drug test kits and drug test pee cups. Several of the drug tests sold by 12 Panel Now, such as the 14 Panel Drug Test Cup with EtG and FYL possess the ability to test for alcohol use. Additionally, cheating drug tests is made even harder with the 12 Panel Drug Test Cup, which detects adulterants and manipulations of urine samples.


School districts are often on tight budgets and have many students, requiring them to buy supplies in bulk. 12 Panel Now offers the most affordable drug testing supplies in the country, making it easier for districts to implement mandatory random drug testing programs.

Time Efficient

Traditionally, blood, urine, or saliva are collected and sent to a laboratory for analysis. Test results are then reported back to the district. This process can take some time and the disciplinary action against the student can be delayed. With 12 Panel Now, urine cup drug test results are available on the spot after just a few minutes of wait time. No laboratory is required for results analysis.


The CLIA-waived drug test cups are easily performed without the supervision of clinicians or laboratory technicians.

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