Mandating drug testing

For more information about health effects, see our Commonly Abused Drugs Charts.

Breathalyzers, oral fluid tests, and urine tests can only detect use within the past few hours.The cut-off is usually detection of the presence of alcohol for the equivalent of a blood alcohol content greater than 0.02 percent (20mg/1d L).Usually, samples are divided so that if an initial test is positive, a confirmation test can be conducted.Federal guidelines are in place to ensure accuracy and fairness in drug-testing programs.Teens with substance use problems often engage in polydrug use (they use more than one drug), so identifying a problem with an illicit or prescription drug may also suggest an alcohol problem.

The accuracy of drug tests from a certified lab is very high, and confirmation tests can help to rule out any false positives.

Schools can determine their needs and choose the method that best suits their requirements, as long as the testing kits are from a reliable source.

Various testing methods normally test for a "panel" of five to 10 different drugs.

If a student tests positive for drugs, schools can respond to the individual situation.

If a student tests positive for drug use but has not yet progressed to addiction, the school can require counseling and follow-up testing.

Communities interested in starting student drug testing programs should become familiar with the law in their respective states to ensure proper compliance.