Over the past 30 years, a wide range of prevention efforts have been developed to reduce substance use by adolescents.
One strategy used by schools is mandatory-random drug testing of students enrolled in school-sponsored, competitive, extracurricular activities. As part of mandatory-random drug testing, students and their parents give consent to random testing as a condition for participation in extracurricular activities. In 2006 the Office for Safe and Drug-Free Schools awarded the Mid-Del Public Schools a research grant to develop and implement a school-based drug testing program. The goals of this program are to identify students who are in need of counseling or treatment, to reduce current drug use, and to prevent future use.
About the Study:
In September 2006 the U.S. Department of Education contracted with RMC Research Corporation, and its subcontractors, Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. and COSMOS Corporation, to carry out the National Impact Evaluation of Mandatory-Random Student Drug Testing. The purpose of the study is to rigorously assess the effectiveness of school-based mandatory-random drug testing programs.
This evaluation will address three major questions:
· Do high school students who are subject to mandatory-random drug testing report less use of alcohol, tobacco, and illicit substances than comparable students in high schools without mandatory-random drug testing policies?
· Do students in high schools with mandatory-random drug testing policies who are not subject to such testing (i.e., students who do not participate in competitive extracurricular activities) report less use of alcohol, tobacco, and illicit substances than comparable students in high schools without mandatory-random drug testing policies?
· What are the characteristics of the drug testing policies implemented by participating treatment schools? What type of other strategies are control schools using to reduce substance use among students?
To address these questions, the study team will RANDOMLY assign schools within each grantee to two groups: 1) a treatment group consisting of schools that will implement mandatory-random drug testing upon completion of the baseline student survey in Spring 2007, and 2) a control group consisting of schools that WILL NOT implement such a policy until after the Spring 2008 student survey. Random assignment ensures that students in treatment schools are similar to students in control schools. Thus, we can determine the effects of the drug testing policy by comparing the levels of drug use in the two groups.
Following the Spring, 2007 student survey the following school assignments are:
· Treatment Groups - The treatment groups randomly selected to begin student random drug testing in the Fall of 2007 are: Carl Albert High School and Del City High School
· Control Group - The control group randomly selected will implement student random drug testing at a later date:
The student survey is extremely important as it will examine the effect of school policies and procedures on student activities and experiences. Parents of randomly selected students will soon be receiving a packet that contains a letter from the Superintendent and the Principal explaining the study. Parents will check whether they give approval for their child to participate and will then return the form in a self-addressed stamped envelope. The success of the next survey administration (in Spring 2008) requires a high rate of return of parent consent forms. The return rate is very important because it affects the study team's ability to draw conclusions from the study. Consent will be sought from the parents of students sampled in Spring 2007 who did not return the consent form and the parents of students who will be sampled in the 2007-2008 school year.
Participation in the study is completely VOLUNTARY and will not affect your child's grades, standing in school, or eligibility for extracurricular activities.