Drug testing N.J. youth keeps them out of trouble, study says

A six-year study finds that random drug testing of middle school students in New Jersey can help prevent substance abuse.

The study by the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey and Fairleigh Dickinson University indicates drug use by students in grades 6-8 is relatively rare.

University political science professor Dan Cassino says middle school students who were randomly tested for drugs are less likely to use them in later years.

“We still see a spike around the junior year of high school. Once the kids get a car and get a job, all bets are off, and the rates of drug and alcohol use go though the roof; but that spike is much smaller among students who actually were randomly drug tested at some point.”

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

Cassino says the middle school kids who were tested, realize drug use can get them in trouble, something they’d rather avoid.

While random testing might be effective, Cassino says expanding it would be costly, and school districts have to consider whether it’s worth the expense.

WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal