It’s hard to know how to take the fact that in four years of random drug tests, the Commerce School System has had but one student test positive for illegal drugs.
It’s not that anyone should expect a lot of drug activity in the middle and high schools, but with about 100 random tests conducted in a year, only one positive result over four years seems a little optimistic. We like to think and are inclined to believe that drug use among students is lower in Commerce than at many other schools — but just one positive test? You know what they say: if it seems too good to be true, it’s too good to be true.
It may be time for officials to look more closely at the capabilities of the testing method being used. If a student smokes marijuana Thursday, and is tested at lunch Friday and gets a negative response when the swabs are analyzed, the tests are of little value to the school system and to parents.
The point of the tests is to increase awareness, not to punish offenders. The process calls for parental involvement and student counseling — not punishment or discipline — when drug use is indicated. But if the tests cannot adequately indicate drug use, they serve no purpose and may, in fact, give parents and administrators a very false sense of security.
Maybe Commerce kids just don’t use illegal drugs. Maybe the current test is ineffective. Either way, just one positive test for drugs in four years indicates that there’s little use in continuing the current drug testing procedure.
The reason for the tests is obvious. It gives the Commerce school system a chance to say we don't have a drug problem. I wish this were true, but we all know it is not. The most dangerous drug used by teenagers is alcohol. The test does not screen for that even though you have to be 21 to legally buy and posses alcohol. Even the best football players held back a year or two for the good of the team aren't that old. Hypocrisy is a vice that erases virtues.
Well-steeped in drug testing
12/06/08 at 10:26 AM
If a student smokes marijuana one day and is tested the next, he will most likely show positive for use of thc. If this testing is to indicate an increased awareness of the potential for negative ramifications from drug use, the tests should be given to each student.
Why not? If Commerce kids don't have a drug problem, what would be the harm in doing everything possible to prove it?
I question the accuracy of this swab method. What ever happened to the time-tested pee in a cup method? I'm sure there are plenty of people out there that would have opted for the swabs if given an option. Instead, the cup they produced told on them.
Tried Tested and True
12/08/08 at 03:54 PM
Sounds like the Commerce kids are pretty smart; they've learned how to beat the test. There is only one true way to have accurate results - a urine analysis, unannounced, with monitors. Try that once and see if there is a variation. Any other test is just a waste of time and money.