Drug and Alcohol Testing In Schools

The use of illicit drugs and alcohol interferes with the student’s ability to learn and is often found to be a disruption to teachers and other students. Schools, both public and private, continue to investigate the benefits of randomly testing students for drug and alcohol use. Following models established in the workplace, some schools have established testing programs that allow them to perform random testing as well as reasonable suspicion testing.


Schools that adopt random testing for drugs and alcohol seek to decrease substance misuse among its student populations by serving as a deterrent, giving students a reason to resist peer pressure. Random testing may also identify students who have recently started using illicit drugs or alcohol. These students may well benefit from early intervention. Those found to be chronic users may also be able to be identified and referred for treatment. The primary purpose of substance of abuse testing in schools is not to punish students, but rather to identify users and get them the assistance they may need.


Schools adopting reasonable suspicion testing should have clearly identified policies and training of staff and administration to identify symptoms of substance misuse through direct observation of a properly trained staff member. Without clearly identified policies and staff training, schools may find themselves subject to liability or claims of discrimination.


Depending on the individual school’s program and policies, the type of specimens being tested can range from urine, hair follicle or saliva. The types of substance and the length of time the substances can be detected vary from specimen to specimen.


Having a qualified expert in the drug and alcohol testing processes is critical in making informed decisions. Carolina Testing is happy to work with schools and school districts in providing information, options and services as needed to make these important decisions.