USA Today Takes Firm Stance on Student Drug Testing: Neutral

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The editors at USA Today attempt to tackle student drug testing on the Opinion page, only to become hopelessly confused and fail to form an opinion:
Advocates of testing say it gives students a powerful reason to say no to peer pressure…

Critics are just as passionate, arguing that the tests are invasive and expensive, and that studies show testing doesn't deter drug use. In truth, data conflict, and both sides can point to studies that back their position.

What's missing is definitive research that would allow schools to make confident decisions balancing costs against benefits.
In truth, the debate over drug testing research is utterly fake and contrived. When the largest study ever on student drug testing -- funded by NIDA -- found that it didn’t work, drug testing proponents/profiteers (they're often the same) fired back, criticizing the methodology. Under attack from the very people who hired them, the authors responded with further research and achieved the same result.

USA Today's arbitrary dismissal of authoritative data is frustrating, but they're equally skeptical of smaller studies cited by drug testing proponents. One wonders, then, why they're calling for more research when they're already overwhelmed by the data.

Moreover, the practice of collecting urine from students on a massive scale is itself so objectionable that great weight should be given to any indication that the program's value is dubious. To place the burden of proof on those who oppose visually-monitored urination is absurd.

Update: After writing this but before posting it, I noticed this excellent piece by Marsha Rosenbaum, which ran in the same edition. If USA Today's editorial can be understood as an attempt to debate her, they've certainly done so without much conviction.
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Marsha Rosenbaum comments

I thought Marsha Rosenbaum gave a pretty accurate assessment of the urine testing controversy in USA Today. Very convincing, actually. Would that more MSM people could be so truthful.


She makes similar points to mine, but her command of the issue is incomparable. Given the overwhelming evidenciary and practical problems with student drug testing, it's a wonder that we're still struggling to illustrate these issues for the MSM.

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