Is it Acceptable to Drug Testing Student Athletes?

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It has been over so many years than drugs play a role in high schools. That is why random drug testing is becoming more frequent in schools, but mostly for the student athletes. Being a student athlete, a significantly greater responsibility is instantly discovered in their education and career. Playing a sport is just a privilege, drugs should not be a major issue. When an athlete joins a team, they make a commitment to everything about that team such as the protocols for the school.

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There are a substantial number of problems with athletes doing drugs in the past. That is the reason, that the question of whether schools should have the right to drug test student athletes is at issue today.

Advocates of schools being able to drug test student athletes claim that schools offer drug test to students because it is an intricate measure to ensure that athletes do not violate their privilege. While, opponents claim that it appears to violate their privacy rights, and that these drug tests are cost and time. Regarding their own morals and views, both sides are correct and make compelling arguments. Though, a compromise to this conflict will be achievable if both sides are willing to make exceptions.

Advocates of Schools Decision

One side of the dispute considers that schools should drug test their student athletes. They take the position that schools can protect athletes from harming their bodies. Advocates also think that the drug test would prevent them from using any drugs. In Lisa A. Brady’s article “Why We Test Students for Drugs,” she claims that most students began to stop dealing drugs when they find out about the random drug testing. She had carried out a study to overcome the negative factors that might hurt students. She states that “Random student drug testing cannot be effective as a stand-alone cure- all in the absence of good curriculum, educational prevention programs, parent outreach, and substance abuse counseling.”(Brady). Brady expanded her claim by adding that the random drug testing is only effective if the students who are involved, get support and strategies that helps them get better.

Some other aspect of the argument is explained by Goldberg and his colleagues’ article “Drug Testing Athletes to Prevent Substance Abuse: Background and Pilot Study Results of the SATURN (Student Athlete Testing Using Random Notification).” They claim that the drug testing will prevent substance abuse for student athletes. According to Goldberg, they conducted a study to notice the association between the amount of random drug testing spent trying to reduce illicit substance use. they claimed that athletes who did the study had decreased their use of substance after the drug testing. Stating that “there was no significant difference between the groups in their perceived positive consequences of drug use” (Goldberg et al). Goldberg includes that depending on the number of drugs that was being used influenced the number of athletes that were removed from the sports.

Another advocate, Craig Pittman, talks about expanding the drug tests for teens expanded in his article “Drug Tests for Teens Expanded.” He claims that drug testing should not be only for student athletes. Overall, Pittman is open to the drug test. He points out, however, that most people disagree with this issue, but still gives reasons why it should be considered. Pittman argues that, contrary to his views, if schools could undergo drug testing, they would have to worry about the cost and the real purpose of doing it. He believes that these drug tests should not only be for the athletes, but it should be throughout the school. He also implies, “If you have a child in possession of a drug, put him where he can get help” (Pittman). Pittman also believes that if schools begin random testing, peer pressure would be decrease and provide students with good reasons to decrease their use of drugs. In summary, advocates for allowing school drug testing to believe that the drug test serves multiple important roles. The roles include the health of the students, and protecting them.

Opponents of Schools Decision

Just as there are those who support the school decision, there are also those who do not. Someone on the other side of this argument believe that schools should not be able to test student athletes for drugs because although there are solutions, they are not effective, and they are a waste of effort and expense. They also point out that the money used to pay for these can be used for many other things, such as new uniforms and equipment. Sifferlin believes that “random testing can damage relationships between students and their schools”.

She claims in her article “Pediatrics Group Says Schools Shouldn’t Drug Test” that drug test should not be used in schools because it is no evidence that it will be effective. However, she feels that drug testing in school stops students from experimenting with drugs, but that is not the only problem. Sifferlin suggests that it is not a good idea to do the drug tests because there is no telling the test are reliable. She claims that, instead of the drug tests, the pediatrics group recommend using different strategies like “school-based prevention and intervention programs, education, other screening methods” (Sifferlin).

Comparable to that of Sifferlin’s belief, parents of students are alleged to have refused to sign a permission slip for random drug testing. This has been stated in the article “School drug tests: right or wrong? Many schools could start athlete drug tests after the Supreme Court ruling.” The writer describes a recent court ruling on how the lower court ruling was reversed, agreeing that student athletes’ random drug testing violated the Fourth Amendment. Also recalls that the Supreme Court’s decision could make American schools safer, American children healthier, and high school athletics fairer (qtd. In Arkansas Democrat-Gazette). The article writer contends that some administrators are more concerned about how schools would react if a student-athlete failed to take a drug test. Some people disagree with drug testing at random.

Common Ground

It appears that both sides of this argument have a fair share of differences after looking at both sides. Although, minor similarities tend to be shared. The parties recognize that school drug testing athletes are not the best option. This means that school advocates do not violate the privacy of their students. Doing so means it will cost money and time for school opponents. They also seem to agree mildly that if athletes take the drug test, they should receive more treatment. Their belief that more programs and solutions need to be put in place to help the students is another similarity. Both supporters and opponents know that the programs and solutions are not doing enough now to help their student athletes or non-student athletes.


Although they seem to have more differences than similarities, the similarities they do share are enough to come to a sensible compromise. The first part would be to only allow schools to drug test student athletes as a defensive measure and provide students with a reason to resist the peer pressure to take drugs. This would provide all students and athletes with a level of protection because they still want their privacy rights. The wide range of adverse effects on their behavior and health would also be eliminated. In theory, this would appeal to both sides because if adolescents stay away from drugs during high school, they are less likely to become addicted later in life. It would also appeal to addicted students, parents and school administrators to refer them to effective drug treatment programs to start recovery.

It would require the second part of this compromise drug testing can identify adolescents who have started to use illegal drugs and benefit from early detection. This would be accomplished by identifying the students who already have problems with drugs and need to be referred to treatment. In order to maintain the safety of the students, schools could educate and deliver a productive and healthy lifestyle for students. This would satisfy the opponents because the animals would no longer be confined to drug testing and were perceived as accusing people living up to the notion that anyone who undergoes any type of sport is using drugs while leaving the same perception to the people around them. This would also satisfy the advocates as they would still be able to evaluate and address substance and drug abuse problems among school students.

The last component of this compromise, school drug testing helps law enforcement to maintain “clean” environments. This would mean that there would be additional protection and safety at school, but it would also mean that there would be a second chance for the students to live life in a normal way and to become productive people in the future, satisfying both sides objectives. This part of the compromise would also require the schools to focus more on ways to help further research tell if the advantages of school drug testing solutions and programs outweigh the negative. More and more schools are pursuing a random drug screening policy, hoping to change the life of a child. With that said, for this compromise, both sides would be giving up some things. That they would both gain the most important thing they both claim to be.

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Is It Acceptable to Drug Testing Student Athletes?. (2019, Aug 30). Retrieved from