But in reality, they come with few, if any, benefits.
Substance abuse prevention can and should be viewed as a common concern of employers, employees and students.
Most people do not engage in illicit drug use or want to deal with the complications of working or studying with drug abusers.
When misunderstandings about the testing process are clarified, drug testing has been proven a deterrent to illegal drug use and a way for workplaces and schools to be proactive in substance abuse prevention.
Bills have been introduced so far in Montana, Texas, and West Virginia, with a handful of others also considering such a move. Scott Walker (R) has gone further, proposing to drug test applicants for food stamps and unemployment benefits.
They follow recent bills put into action in Maine, Michigan, and Mississippi.
Proponents of drug testing worry that people on public assistance will use taxpayer dollars to purchase illegal drugs.
They say removing drug users from public assistance programs saves public money.
“We shouldn’t treat students seeking to better their lives through education with immediate suspicion,” said ACLU of Missouri Legal Director Tony Rothert.
The districts volunteered to be in the program and were spread across seven states.
Because these were districts committed to adopting such programs and they were clustered in mostly Southern states, the study results cannot be generalized to all high schools nationally.
Students were surveyed before and after the program started about: their participation in school activities; their attitudes about school and knowledge of school policy; their attitudes about substance use and awareness of drug testing; and their report of substance use in the past month, in the past six months and their lifetime.
Researchers focused primarily on students who participated in activities that would make them subject to the random drug testing, but also examined the impacts on other students.