Dan Romer, director of APPC’s Adolescent Health and Communication Institutes, reviews the evidence on ways to prevent drug abuse in middle and high school youth, focusing on mandatory random drug testing. Since the 1990s, interest has been growing in the use of such tests to deter drug use among teenagers.

The review finds that mandatory random drug tests have had limited effectiveness, may encourage the use of drugs not as readily detected through urinalysis, and are unlikely to target the students most likely to be using drugs.

The issue brief concludes that if schools are concerned about drug use among students, they should consider other approaches that have been found to be effective, notably promoting a “good climate” that is respectful, safer, and more hospitable for students.

“In sum, the evidence does not support the use of MRDT over other interventions,” the report says.

To read the issue brief, click here.

For more information, contact Dan Romer at 215-898-6776 or dromer@asc.upenn.edu.