Drug-testing school kids ‘ineffective’ – Breaking News – National – Breaking News
Testing school students for drugs has been dismissed in a new report as an expensive and ineffective way of reining in Australia’s teenage drug problem.
The expert report, released by the federal government’s peak advisory body on drug policy, says saliva or urine testing of all students would cost more than $300 million a year with only limited accuracy and unproven benefits.
It would also create a culture of mistrust between students and teachers, and would do nothing to stem problems with the most widely used and destructive drug, alcohol, says the Australian National Council on Drugs.
There was also no evidence that testing deterred students from taking drugs and increasing proof that screening distressed and angered students, especially those receiving false positive results.
Illicit drugs in schools has also declined in the past decade, with less than four per cent now smoking cannabis and less then one per using other drugs. This makes detection a technically challenging task, the report states.
Alcohol is the major drug issue facing teenagers, with figures showing one in five regularly binge drink to harmful levels.
The findings have been welcomed by the Australian Secondary Principals Association and the Australian Drug Foundation but judged “disappointing” by the pro-testing lobby group Drug Free Australia.
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