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ERIC Number: ED529134
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2003
Pages: 52
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 30
Drug Testing in Schools: Policies, Practices, and Association with Student Drug Use. YES Occasional Papers. Paper 2
Yamaguchi, Ryoko; Johnston, Lloyd D.; O'Malley, Patrick M.
Institute for Social Research
Despite considerable recent public and judicial attention to the issue of drug testing, little empirical research has focused on the relationship between drug testing in schools and the actual use of illicit drugs by students. To explore this issue, we use school-level survey data about drug testing from the Youth, Education, and Society study and student-level survey data from the same schools participating in the Monitoring the Future study. Using cross-sectional data, we examine how the presence of drug testing relates to 12-month use of marijuana and 12-month use of any other illicit drugs by students. We addressed this topic in a recently published article in the "Journal of School Health" (Yamaguchi, Johnston, & O'Malley, 2003); this occasional paper extends those analyses by adding another year (2002) of student and school data to the analyses. In a further extension, we examine schools that use random drug testing in which "all" students in the school are subject to testing; this type of drug testing seems most likely to have the intended effects of deterring use. The extended findings continue to show that (a) relatively few schools report testing students for drug use, (b) there is little evidence of a time trend in the prevalence of student drug testing in American schools between 1998 and 2002, (c) more high schools than middle schools reported the use of drug testing, and (d) most schools that test students report that the testing is "for cause." Of most importance, drug testing still is found not to be associated with students' reported illicit drug use--even random testing that potentially subjects the entire student body. Testing was not found to have significant association with the prevalence of drug use among the entire student body nor the prevalence of use among experienced marijuana users. Analyses of male high school athletes found that drug testing of athletes in the school was not associated with any appreciably different levels of marijuana or other illicit drug use. Cross-sectional data were of necessity used in these analyses. However, we believe the findings to be buttressed considerably by the fact that statistical controls were used for a number of known important risk factors for drug use, which should control for most pre-existing differences; and still no statistically significant differences emerged. Nevertheless, prospective studies would make a stronger case. Policy implications are discussed. (Contains 11 tables, 4 figures and 2 footnotes.)
Institute for Social Research. University of Michigan, P.O. Box 1248, 426 Thompson Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 734-764-8354; Fax: 734-647- 4575; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Authoring Institution: Institute for Social Research