Feb. 15, 2008 -- The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) is conducting a series of regional summits designed to convince local educators to start drug testing students - randomly and without cause. This policy is unsupported by the available science and opposed by leading experts in adolescent health. The final summit of 2008 takes place on Tuesday, February 19, 2008, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel & Conference Center at Historic Union Station, at 8:30 a.m., downtown Indianapolis.

The Drug Policy Alliance and American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana are providing attendees with copies of the Drug Policy Alliance's booklet Making Sense of Student Drug Testing: Why Educators Are Saying No, which summarizes research showing that such testing is ineffective and provides resources for evidence-based alternatives.

Studies have found that suspicionless drug testing is ineffective in deterring student drug use. The first large-scale national study on student drug testing, which was published by researchers at the University of Michigan in 2003, found no difference in rates of student drug use between schools that have drug testing programs and those that do not. A two-year randomized experimental trial published last November in the Journal of Adolescent Health concluded random drug testing targeting student athletes did not reliably reduce past month drug use and, in fact, produced attitudinal changes among students that indicate new risk factors for future substance use.

"Drug testing breaks down relationships of trust," said Jennifer Kern, Drug Testing Fails Our Youth Campaign Coordinator at the Drug Policy Alliance. "All credible research on substance abuse prevention points to eliminating, rather than creating, sources of alienation and conflict between young people, their parents and schools."

A group of concerned citizens will also attend to provide educators with important information missing from the summit, such as the objections of the American Academy of Pediatrics, National Education Association, the Association of Addiction Professionals and the National Association of Social Workers to testing. These organizations believe random testing programs erect counter-productive obstacles to student participation in extracurricular activities, marginalize at-risk students and make open communication more difficult.

"The irony of drug testing programs is that they alienate students from the very activities that are most effective in keeping kids out of trouble," said Claudia Pena Porretti, Executive Director of the ACLU of Indiana. "They drive students away from programs like athletics that have been shown to build character and set students on positive life paths. Schools would be wise to reject drug testing and spend their limited resources on new or expanded extracurricular programs instead."

A December 2007 policy statement by the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Substance Abuse and Council of School Health reaffirmed their opposition to student drug testing, holding: "Physicians should not support drug testing in schools ... [because] it has not yet been established that drug testing does not cause harm.

Making Sense of Student Drug Testing: Why Educators are Saying No published by the Drug Policy Alliance and the American Civil Liberties Union can be found online at www.safety1st.org. An excerpt from the booklet is included below:

Comprehensive, rigorous and respected research shows there are many reasons why random student drug testing is not good policy:

* Drug testing is not effective in deterring drug use among young people;
* Drug testing is expensive, taking away scarce dollars from other, more effective programs that keep young people out of trouble with drugs;
* Drug testing can be legally risky, exposing schools to potentially costly litigation;
* Drug testing may drive students away from extracurricular activities, which are a proven means of helping students stay out of trouble with drugs;
* Drug testing can undermine trust between students and teachers, and between parents and children;
* Drug testing can result in false positives, leading to the punishment of innocent students;
* Drug testing does not effectively identify students who have serious problems with drugs; and
* Drug testing may lead to unintended consequences, such as students using drugs (like alcohol) that are more dangerous but less detectable by a drug test.

For more information

Jennifer Kern, Drug Policy Alliance, (415) 373-7694
Claudia Pena Porretti, ACLU of Indiana, (317) 635-4059, ext. 239