Drug Testing

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Real Time Death Toll as of

Home Drug Tests Popular with Parents, Thwarted by Teens
Parents Would Drug-Test Kids, Survey Says
Sales of Home Drug-Test Kits Soar Despite Warnings from Experts
What You Need to Know About Starting a Student Drug-Testing Program
North Carolina Drug Tested Welfare Recipients And The Results Are Surprising
What 7 States Discovered After Spending More Than $1 Million Drug Testing Welfare Recipients
The call to legalize all illicit drugs
Newsbytes

 

Sales of Home Drug-Test Kits Soar Despite Warnings from Experts


The number of parents buying home drug-test kits has increased dramatically despite warnings from treatment professionals and government officials that home-testing adolescents is not a good idea, the Denver Post reported.

Since the kits were first approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1997, sales have soared, with industry leader Phamatech Inc. reaching sales of $27 million last year. The San Diego company's sales included 431,000 marijuana test kits.

This industry is booming despite medical and government leaders cautioning against home testing. The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) does not encourage home testing, but supports random drug testing at schools, arguing that school officials are better-equipped to handle counseling and referrals.

"By the time a parent tests, it's already far down the road," said ONDCP Deputy Director for Demand Reduction Bertha Madras. "If they get a positive result, then what? Parents may or may not have the skill to proceed."

The American Academy of Pediatrics issued in March a policy statement opposing both home testing and involuntary drug testing in schools. The professional group points to the possibility of error or tampering. Others point to the erosion of trust at a time when many teens are already pulling away.

"Parents are motivated by the best of intentions," said Dr. Sharon Levy, a childhood addiction specialist at Children's Hospital in Boston. "They are told by marketers that this is a good thing to do. But drug testing is basically a threat. And while it might have some short-term behavioral changes, I don't think it's a good long-term prevention method."
Source: www.jointogether.org/news/headlines/inthenews/2007/sales-of-home-drug-test-kits.html

What You Need to Know About Starting a Student Drug-Testing Program


This assumes that you, as a school administrator, staff member, or parent involved in the decision, have considered all the issues, weighed the pros and cons, collected data, and are now ready to put together a plan for starting a drug testing program in your school.

The booklet reviews the steps you need to take before implementing a testing program, such as conducting a needs assessment, consulting legal counsel, enlisting the support of both the school and the local community, developing a written policy, and providing access to student assistance.

It offers guidance on how to find funding for your program, and it also includes a discussion of how some schools select students for testing and what types of tests they use.

A list of resources includes websites and contact information for agencies and other organizations that can answer any further questions you may have about student drug testing.

This booklet is meant to complement and build on the information provided in an earlier ONDCP publication, What You Need to Know About Drug Testing in Schools.

What You Need to Know About Starting a Student Drug Testing Program is available online or as a PDF. Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), Executive Office of the President, 750 17th Street, NW, Washington, dc 20500 or 202-395-6732 or www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov or ondcp@ncjrs.org or www.jointogether.org/resources/what-you-need-to-know-about-1.html
Source: www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/publications/student_drug_testing/

Home Drug Tests Popular with Parents, Thwarted by Teens


While a growing number of websites are selling home drug-test kits to parents, some of the same sites are also selling products that help teens mask their drug use, USA Today reported.

"It's a classic cat-and-mouse game," said Allen St. Pierre of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). "A drug test comes out, it's thwarted, then it's re-engineered, and it goes on and on."

The home drug-test kits range from drip-strip urine tests to hair analysis. The options to fool the drug tests include herbal cleaners and additives.

Sharon Levy, who specializes in childhood addiction at Children's Hospital in Boston, Mass., said products to beat drug tests "absolutely" work. Levy is against home testing because she says could lead to a breakdown in the parent-child relationship and keep teens from going to their doctor, where they can get help for a drug addiction.

"The first thing you should do is talk to the child," said Levy. She said if a drug test is needed, the physician should do it. "I'm sure I can do a better job with it than a parent can do at home."

But Sue Roche, president of the drug-prevention group National Families in Action, said the home drug-test kits help frustrated parents. Often, said Roche, pediatricians won't test teens for drugs, or if they do, they keep the results from the parents.
Source: www.jointogether.org/news/headlines/inthenews/2004/home-drug-tests-popular-with.html

Parents Would Drug-Test Kids, Survey Says


The drug-prevention group NotMyKid has released a new survey finding that two-thirds of parents say they would drug-test their teenage children, Reuters reported.

The survey of 2,064 parents also found that 86 percent of respondents said they speak to their kids about the dangers of drug use on a monthly or weekly basis. About half of parents said they discussed prescription-drug abuse with their children.

NotMyKid recently received a $1-million donation from a drug-test maker, First Check Diagnostics, for its Project 7th Grade prevention program. The drug-testing firm also advertises on the group's website.

"This survey underscores that parents realize the importance of early communications with their children and are open to the use of a home drug test to keep their children safe and drug free," stated NotMyKid cofounder Debbie Moak. "We believe that fostering greater communication between parents and their children coupled with utilization of a home drug test are the keys to preventing drug abuse and addiction."
Source: www.jointogether.org/news/headlines/inthenews/2006/parents-would-drug-test-kids.html

Newsbytes


Teens say testing no check on drug use


OHSU - Survey results from teen athletes at 11 Oregon schools shock researchers

A controversial study about drug testing of high school athletes found that such testing does not deter drug use.

In fact, the mere presence of drug testing could increase risk factors for future substance use, the study by an Oregon Health & Science University doctor found.

"It shocked us," said Dr. Linn Goldberg, who oversaw the study and heads the Division of Health Promotion and Sports Medicine at OHSU.

The study, conducted at 11 high schools in Oregon, is the first randomized clinical trial to assess the deterrent effects of drug and alcohol testing on high school athletes. The results could have far-reaching implications at high schools and in districts that have embraced drug testing as a way to discourage teenage drug use.

"It's not that we were proponents or opponents (of drug testing)," Goldberg said. "We're proponents for kids' health. So we thought it was important to study the issue. Why waste money if it's not going to work?"

Oregon does not conduct statewide drug testing of athletes, but the 11 schools agreed to require their athletes to undergo random drug tests -- conducted 15 times during the academic year at each school -- as part of the study.

When athletes tested positive for drugs or alcohol, their parents were informed, and they were sent to mandatory counseling. If they refused counseling, they were held out of play. They were not otherwise punished.

The study based its conclusions on surveys of athletes, not on actual drug-test results. It showed that reported drug and alcohol use of drug-tested students during the month leading up to the test did not differ from athletes at schools in a control group who were not tested for drugs.

The two-year study also showed a decline in acceptance of drug testing. Participants were asked to rate their agreement with statements on a scale from 1 to 7, with 1 meaning "strongly disagree" and 7 meaning "strongly agree."

When asked their "belief in testing as a reason not to use drugs," the control group showed a decline in average agreement from 4.5 to 4.1. The drug-tested group's agreement with the statement declined more steeply, from an average score of 4.5 to 3.5, meaning they believed less after the study in drug testing as a deterrent.

The findings of the study, which included about 1,400 athletes, will be released today in the Journal of Adolescent Health. They arrive amid the growth of drug-testing programs in high schools nationwide.

Last year, New Jersey began the nation's first statewide random steroid testing program for high school athletes. Florida followed suit, and Texas recently adopted drug testing as part of a two-year, $6 million legislative mandate.

But even as states and schools have enacted such policies, little evidence exists that they work.

Drug testing might even have a negative effect on athletes, according to the OHSU study, dubbed SATURN (Student Athlete Testing Using Random Notification). The study found that students who were tested for drugs felt less athletically competent, saw school authorities as less opposed to drug use and believed less in the benefits of drug testing.

Oregon has jumped to the center of the national drug-testing debate twice in recent years. In 1995 the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of drug testing of athletes at Vernonia High School, 45 miles northwest of Portland.

In 2002, two years after the SATURN study began, students and parents complained they were being forced to participate. Students at Dallas High, about 15 miles west of Salem, filed a federal lawsuit. The Office for Human Research Protections stopped the study, which was funded by a $3.6 million federal grant.

Goldberg said the study was nearly complete when it was halted and that he didn't think the controversy affected athletes' survey answers.

"I think they were pretty insulated from it," he said.

Larry Lockett was in his first year as principal at Astoria High when drug testing began under the SATURN program. He said he and others thought drug testing wouldn't change student behavior.

"Obviously, we had no evidence of that, but it was a belief that was held by many faculty members, including myself," Lockett said. Still, he said, "I always believed that it was worth finding out the answers to those questions."

Drug testing of high school students has risen in recent years, even as drug use among teenagers has been on a 10-year decline, according to a 2006 study by the University of Michigan.

Goldberg and his fellow researchers, who included four other OHSU officials and three researchers from Arizona State University, recommended further study of drug and alcohol testing policies.

"I would be very leery about putting in a drug-testing program unless you are actively evaluating it with surveys," Goldberg said. "Otherwise, you really don't know what you're doing."

Source: Rachel Bachman: 503-221-4373; rachelbachman@ news.oregonian.com, www.oregonlive.com/education/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/news/119267791396220.xml&coll=7

The hows and whys of the OHSU study


What's significant about the study?

It's the first randomized, clinical trial to measure whether drug testing among high school athletes deters drug use.

Did the study measure drug use?

Not exactly. Though athletes were drug tested, the study's results are based on surveys of athletes, not on their actual drug-test results.

Which drugs were included in tests?

Randomly selected athletes were tested for marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, opiates (including heroin), PCP, bensodiazepines (such as Valium), barbiturates, LSD and alcohol. They also were tested for anabolic-androgenic steroids, but only on every other sample because of the expense of steroid tests.

Which high schools did the study include?

Schools that had drug testing included Astoria, Dallas, Scio, Creswell and Monroe. Schools in the control group -- where students completed surveys but were not drug tested -- were Warrenton, Gervais, Silverton, Philomath, Sherman and Santiam.

What happened to athletes who tested positive?

Positive results were reported to parents or guardians, and the athlete was required to receive drug counseling. Only if an athlete refused counseling would he or she be held out of play.

Why was the study controversial?

Some athletes at schools involved with the study were required to participate in drug testing, and a few said they felt forced. Some students at Dallas High School filed a federal lawsuit, which was settled for $90,000 in legal fees. The federal Office of Human Research Protections stopped the two-year study a few months before its scheduled completion.

Source: Rachel Bachman, www.oregonlive.com/oregonian/factbox/index.ssf?/base/factboxes/1192674306318700.xml

Walters Outlines Strategy for Fighting Methamphetamine


More funding for addiction treatment, border patrols, and school drug testing are all part of drug czar John Walters' plan to combat methamphetamine use, the Associated Press reported.

"Today we have to learn that meth is both a problem on the preventative side and the supply side," said Walters, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP).

Walters said border security is important because Mexican superlabs are producing meth to supply markets where laws regulating precursor chemicals have curtailed local, small-scale meth labs.

Walters added that voluntary drug testing of students would help prevent meth addiction. "We can change this problem in a durable way for years and years by reducing exposure to young people," said Walters.
Source: www.jointogether.org/news/headlines/inthenews/2006/walters-outlines-strategy-for.html

North Carolina Drug Tested Welfare Recipients And The Results Are Surprising


Republicans must be shocked. And taxpayers should be pissed.

Republicans were so sure that welfare recipients are on drugs, that they desperately tried to humiliate poor people by quickly passing a bill forcing applicants to take a drug test in order to get government aid.

The governor vetoed the legislation but Republicans refused to be denied their chance to persecute poor people, so they overturned the veto.

The process of testing so many applicants, of course, took awhile because more than 7,600 people needed to be screened.

The results are finally in and Republicans are not going to like the numbers.

Despite being so convinced that welfare recipients must be drug addicts that they were willing to use taxpayer money to institute a program to prove it, all they got was egg on their face.

As it turns out, only 21 of the people tested positive for drug use. That’s 0.3 percent of those tested, which is far below the national average of 8 percent.

North Carolina Democratic state Senator Gladys Robinson blasted the GOP for wasting time and money.

“They found very few applicants. Plus, the process is already in place in terms of asking questions and making those referrals. So, we just wasted state dollars, in terms of that piece of legislation and in terms of the time and staff all across the state."

Taxpayers should be furious at Republicans right now for wasting money attacking the poor instead of using it to help lift people out of poverty in the first place so that less people have to rely on the government to get by.

Perhaps they should be forced to take a mandatory drug test to continue being an elected official. Because they had to be high on something when they insisted that part of the population who pay their own ridiculous salaries were abusing the system.
Source:
www.addictinginfo.org/2016/02/20/north-carolina-drug-tested-welfare-recipients-and-the-results-are-surprising/

What 7 States Discovered After Spending More Than $1 Million Drug Testing Welfare Recipients


As state legislatures convene across the country, proposals keep cropping up to drug test applicants to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, or welfare. Bills have been introduced so far in Montana, Texas, and West Virginia, with a handful of others also considering such a move. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) has gone further, proposing to drug test applicants for food stamps and unemployment benefits. They follow recent bills put into action in Maine, Michigan, and Mississippi.

Proponents of these bills claim they will save money by getting drug users off the dole and thus reduce spending on benefits. But states that are looking at bills of their own may want to consider the fact that the drug testing programs that are already up and running haven’t seen such results.

According to state data gathered by ThinkProgress, the seven states with existing programs — Arizona, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Utah — are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to ferret out very few drug users. The statistics show that applicants actually test positive at a lower rate than the drug use of the general population. The national drug use rate is 9.4 percent. In these states, however, the rate of positive drug tests to total welfare applicants ranges from 0.002 percent to 8.3 percent, but all except one have a rate below 1 percent. Meanwhile, they’ve collectively spent nearly $1 million on the effort, and millions more may have to be spent in coming years.

Does Drug Testing Welfare Applicants Work?

Lawmakers who push these bills claim that they will cut down on costs by rooting out drug abusers while also helping to refer those users to treatment. But in reality, they come with few, if any, benefits.

“The main impact of it is first…to spend TANF money that could go into other things,” said Elizabeth Lower-Basch, policy coordinator and director of income and work supports at CLASP, a non-profit focused on policy for low-income individuals. While many states told ThinkProgress that the funds don’t necessarily come out of the pot that would go to TANF benefits, it’s still money that could go elsewhere. “The money could certainly be spent on other things if it wasn’t going to drug testing,” she said. “Even if it’s a state where it can’t go to into childcare or cash assistance, it probably comes out of their administration pot, so that’s caseworkers and things like that.”

The other impact is increasing stigma around both welfare and drug use. It can increase the shame people feel around applying for welfare benefits in the first place, which could drive them away from getting assistance they may need to get by. At the same time, it may make drug users less willing to disclose and therefore keep them from connecting with treatment, according to Lower-Basch. “If people are afraid they’ll lose their benefits if they admit to using drugs, it makes it hard for them to say, ‘Hey, actually I have this issue,'” she explained. A study of Florida’s program, which has since been struck down by the courts, found that it didn’t produce any reliable estimates of drug use among welfare recipients.

Even if the policies did unearth drug users in need of help, however, that doesn’t mean states are going to get it to them. Many “don’t guarantee your slot [in treatment facilities] or in some cases pay for it,” she noted. Centers often have long waiting lists, so someone who gets referred may not even be able to get in. Some states used to use TANF money to expand access to drug treatment, but as the money allocated to the program has dropped in real value, those efforts have dried up.

There is one way Lower-Basch thinks drug testing welfare recipients used to be helpful: not to determine eligibility for benefits, but to help them get work. “It was part of the work assessment,” she explained, “what are your barriers to work, what do you need in order to get a job.” If it was a barrier to employment, states could try to help them get what they needed to overcome it.

The High Costs And Few Rewards In Each State

The drug-testing regimes in the seven states all differ slightly, but the lack of effectiveness is widespread.

Missouri:

Cost of testing $336,297
Number of welfare appl;icants tested 3,342
Positive drug tests: 297
November, 2012-2017

In 2011, Missouri adopted a law to require screening and testing for all TANF applicants, and the testing began in March 2013. In 2014, 446 of the state’s 38,970 applicants were tested. Just 48 tested positive.

The budgeted cost for that year’s testing program was $336,297. And, according to numbers provided to ThinkProgress by a Missouri Department of Social Services spokeswoman, the first three years of the program will likely cost the state more than $1.35 million, including start-up costs.

Oklahoma

Cost of testing $385,872
Number of welfare appl;icants tested 38,970
Positive drug tests: 48
January-December, 2014

Oklahoma passed its law in 2012, requiring a screening of all applicants and chemical tests for those for whom there is a “reasonable cause” to believe they are using illegal substances. From November 2012 through November 2014, 3,342 applicants were screened and 2,992 selected for further testing (though those numbers could include some who applied more than once). Two-hundred and ninety-seven tested positive for illegal substances.

A spokesman for the Oklahoma Department of Human Services told ThinkProgress that, not counting personnel and system costs, the state paid $185,219 for the 2013-2017 year for this program, which came out of its TANF and Medicaid budgets.

Utah

Cost of testing $64,566
Number of welfare appl;icants tested 9,552
Positive drug tests: 29
August 2012-July 2014

Utah also enacted its law in 2012, requiring a written screening and a drug test for anyone with a “reasonable likelihood” of having a “substance use disorder.” Between its implementation in August 2012 and July of 2014, 9,552 applicants were screened and 838 were given drug tests. Just 29 tested positive at a cost of more than $64,000, according to a Utah Department of Workforce Services spokesman.

Kansas

Cost of testing $40,000
Number of welfare appl;icants tested 2,783
Positive drug tests: 11
July 1-December 31, 2014

Kansas enacted its drug screening law in 2013, requiring that from 2014 onward, all TANF applicants be tested if a “reasonable suspicion exists” that they might be illegally using “a controlled substance or controlled substance analog.” In the first six months in which the system was in place, Kansas received 2,783 TANF applications.

A spokeswoman for the Kansas Department of Children and Families told ThinkProgress, “The first three months of implementation yielded very few drug tests, as staff became comfortable with the criteria. Referrals have increased since that time. So far, 65 individuals have been referred for suspicion-based drug testing. 11 tested positive [and] 12 failed to appear for their scheduled test appointment.” She estimated that the cost to the department over those six months was about $40,000.

Mississippi

Cost of testing $5,290+
Number of welfare appl;icants tested 3.656
Positive drug tests: 2
August-December, 2014

Last year, Mississippi passed a law requiring all TANF applicants to complete a written questionnaire about drug use and mandating testing for anyone whose questionnaire suggests a “reasonable likelihood” of a “substance use disorder.” The new system went into effect in August 2014.

Over the first five months, 3,656 TANF applicants were screened for use of illegal substances and 38 were referred for drug testing. Just two tested positive.

A Mississippi Department of Human Services spokeswoman told ThinkProgress that the agency “has contracts in place for the screening (SASSI) and any subsequent tests (MedScreens). The cost per SASSI is less than $2.00 per screening. If referred for a drug test the cost per test is $43.00.”

Tennessee

Cost of testing $5,295
Number of welfare appl;icants tested 16,017
Positive drug tests: 37
July-December, 2014

A 2012 Tennessee law was particularly descriptive about its reasoning for TANF drug testing. After observing that “persons who are not under the pernicious influence of illegal drugs [are] less disruptive of the social fabric, persons and neighborhoods around them are safer as well,” that ” tax dollars should go to persons who are trying to better themselves rather than to persons who violate our state and national laws and support a network of illicit purveyors of misery and disappointment,” and that “the public image of TANF recipients will be enhanced by removing the stigma that is too often attached to such recipients that they use government funds to purchase illegal drugs,” the legislature mandated “suspicion-based drug testing for each applicant” otherwise eligible for TANF.

The program went into effect in July 2014 and, between that time and the end of the year, 16,017 applied for Families First, Tennessee’s TANF program. Of those, 279 were given drug tests and 37 failed then. Those tests cost the state $5,295.

In a statement, the Tennessee Department of Human Services told ThinkProgress, “The department is currently in a state of implementing and evaluating the Families First (TANF) drug testing program. The program is still very new. We plan to review comprehensively at the end of first full fiscal year.”

Arizona

Cost of testing $499
Number of welfare appl;icants tested 142,424
Positive drug tests: 3
2010- 2014

In 2009, Arizona’s legislature passed a new requirement to “screen and test each adult recipient who is otherwise eligible for temporary assistance for needy families cash benefits and who the department has reasonable cause to believe engages in the illegal use of controlled substances.” Anyone who tested positive would be ineligible to receive the benefits for a year. Supporters claimed this move would save the state $1.7 million annually.

While the legislature has kept the rule each year since its 2010 implementation, very few people have actually even been referred for drug testing after completing a written drug use statement. Since 2014, more than 140,000 Arizona TANF recipients have been screened by the Arizona Department of Economic Security. Just 42 have been referred for a drug test over that time — of the 19 who completed the test, only three have ever tested positive. An Arizona Department of Economic Security spokeswoman told ThinkProgress those 19 drug tests cost the department $499.06.

The Future

In addition to the seven states with active testing laws, several others have laws that are on hold or still being implemented (and more states are considering similar measures).

In 2011, Florida passed a law to require every single applicant for TANF to pass a urine drug test, at his or her own expense (not just those for whom there was a reasonable suspicion). In four month of implementation,108 out of 4,086 applicants tested positive at a cost of $118,140. Applicants who tested negative would be reimbursed by the state. A federal court stopped the requirement as a violation of the Fourth Amendment’s “unreasonable search and seizures” clause in 2013 — a ruling upheld in December by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. The three-judge panel noted that Florida had “not demonstrated a more prevalent, unique or different drug problem among TANF applicants than in the general population.” A 2012 Georgia law like Florida’s, was revised in 2014 to include a “reasonable suspicion” requirement. A spokeswoman for the Georgia Division of Family and Children’s Services told ThinkProgress that the program is “currently on hold, pending a case in the U.S. District Court.” Its ultimate result could determine the constitutionality of the requirements in other states.

Other states are moving ahead with implementing programs for screening and drug testing based on “reasonable suspicion.” Maine is awaiting a contract with a testing service, North Carolina is working to implement its system, and Alabama’s testing is scheduled to begin in October. A pilot program in three or more counties in Michigan will also soon begin.

And given the similarity of these new programs to the drug-testing regimes now in place, it’s hard to see how they will get any closer to advancing the goal of welfare to “help needy families achieve self-sufficiency.”

The 2015 data tells a similar story.
Source: http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2015/02/26/3624447/tanf-drug-testing-states/

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