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Drug Testing in Schools

All you need to know about Random School Drug Testing

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An overview of random drugs testing in schools: A survey recently published by the News of the World on Sunday showed that 82% of parents and 66% of children support school drug testing.

Drug use amongst young people is on the increase, but fortunately so is the awareness of the whole issue. Despite this, such testing takes place quite rarely in the UK (mainly in Public / Private Schools), although it is a more common practice in the USA.

The average starting age for heroin abuse in many towns and cities in the UK is currently just 15, and a survey of over 20,000 UK school children showed that 9% of 13 year olds and over a quarter (27%) of 15 year olds had used an illegal drug at some stage in their lives. So there is obviously a need for more assertive intervention at an early age.

Parents face the growing concern that their teenager may already be taking drugs, or that they are in an environment where they are exposed to those who will offer them drugs, especially Cannabis / Marijuana. The frightening reality is that based on the statistics, this environment may well be their school.

In order to learn more about drug use (and in particular Cannabis / Marijuana supply and young people), 182 young people who were Cannabis / Marijuana users aged between 11 and 19 years old were interviewed for a study published in January 2008 by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. The sample included both city dwellers and young people living in rural villages.

The study discovered that half of the young people had taken Cannabis / Marijuana into school or college and 43 per cent admitted that they used Cannabis / Marijuana whilst at school or college. It is clear from the report that the majority of these young people purchase Cannabis from their friends or relatives and in turn supply their friends in a new wave of ‘social’ and ‘not-for-profit’ drug taking which is a departure from the typical dealer-user scenario. One young interviewee told the researchers that the people who sold her Cannabis / Marijuana included ‘friends from school’ and shows how combining drug-use with normal social networking is having the effect of normalising the act of taking drugs.

Whilst the institutions we supply school drug test kits to are benefiting from a reduction in drug use amongst their students / pupils, not everyone is in favour of random drug testing in schools.

A recent study by Neil McKeganey, Professor of Drug Misuse Research at Glasgow University, argues that random drug testing in schools is perhaps a more complex and controversial issue than one would at first consider. Questions arise over matters including cost, ethical issues (such as what would happen in the event that a pupil tested positive for drugs and what ‘punishment’ or deterrent would be appropriate), concerns that pupils may switch from easily detectable drugs to more harmful drugs in order to avoid detection, and the probability that a trusting relationship between staff and pupil would be damaged and encourage a culture of concealment. Furthermore, some may argue that it is possible that enforcing random drug testing of pupils would conflict with the UN Charter on the Rights of the Child or the European Charter on Human Rights. 

Certainly, accident / incident / suspicion based testing is treated differently to random testing as you are only taking action on a case by case basis when there is an apparent need for further investigation.  Combine this with earlier awareness and prevention strategies and we should be closer to finding a solution to this growing problem.

Results from an ICM Research poll which appeared in the News of the World on Sunday demonstrated that 82% of parents and 66% of children support drug testing in schools and of the 1,000 parents surveyed, 96% said they would want to know if their son or daughter was taking drugs, so the public perception is that there is a need for action.

So what can be done?

Types of School Drug Testing:

For Schools / Colleges / Universities, please find more information on drug testing and the products and services we have to offer on our drug testing page.

  • On-site Urine Drug Testing

  • Laboratory Urine Drug Testing

  • Hair Drug Tests

  • Oral / Saliva Drug Tests

  • Surface Drug Detection Wipes

We also offer drug and alcohol policy development / review consultancy services and drug awareness training.

For parents:

In the absence of a random drug screening programme at school or college, anxious parents, guardians or caregivers who have concerns about teenagers or young people using drugs are able to conduct a drug test in the privacy of the home. These home drug test kits are used daily by professionals in the healthcare industry and one test can provide easy to read results in minutes for a variety of different drugs. This includes the most common drugs, such as Cannabis / Marijuana, Cocaine, Amphetamines, Benzodiazepines, Opiates, Methadone and Methamphetamines (including ecstasy).

Drug-Aware Ltd is considered by many to be a UK authority on drug and alcohol awareness, information and testing. Visit our drugs and alcohol information page for more information on the signs, symptoms and effects of the most common drugs or our home drug tests frequently asked questions page to answer your questions on carrying out testing in the home or to buy drug testing kits online.


So why choose Drug-Aware for your Drug Testing requirements?

At Drug-Aware, we pride ourselves on providing a comprehensive solution when it comes to drug testing:

Take a look at all of the additional extras we add as standard!


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    Please contact us today for free product samples and assistance from a friendly expert on School Drug Testing. We even offer Saliva Drug Tests / Oral Fluid Drug Testing for non invasive testing.

    For technical information on various drugs and more information relevant to drug screening in schools, please visit our technical drug information section.

    For more information on the literature and accessories that we can provide to support our drug and alcohol testing products, please visit our drug testing accessories page.

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