Pee For Recreation, Not For Education

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ONDCP's abhorrent traveling drug testing show made its first stop of the year in Charleston, SC this week. As usual, the push to implement student drug testing in schools around the country was met with serious opposition from drug policy reformers.

Still, no matter how logical and scientific our arguments may be, there are always those who fail to recognize what's at stake. From The Charleston Post and Courier:

Senior Antwan Edwards plays four sports at North Charleston High and is captain of the football and wrestling teams. Random testing would be a good way to keep some students from using drugs, he said.

It also would prepare students for life after high school by starting those tests now, he said.

If life after high school means having your urine collected by agents of the state and inspected for molecular evidence of unapproved conduct, who wants to grow up? The idea of drug testing as a form of socialization reeks of dystopian fascism. But you can't blame Antwan Edwards, who was probably off giving urine samples when the 4th Amendment was being taught.

"If you don't have anything to hide, why not take the test?" he said.

Oh, there are so many answers to this question. In Antwan Edwards' case, I'd worry that a false positive drug test could be exactly what it takes to ruin his otherwise promising future. And there are plenty of easy ways to get a false positive. They don't happen a lot, but when they do, no one believes you except your mom.

Some students don't care about their privacy, or having newer books instead of urine collection programs, or being presumed innocent, or the fact that their peers may switch to more-dangerous less-detectible drugs, or the evidence that these programs don't work.

Sadly, some students don’t care about these things. But they should care about false positives. They should be terrified. The companies that manufacture these tests claim that there are no false positives, so imagine trying to convince them that there's been a mistake.

If you don't have anything to gain, why take the test?

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Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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