Drug Testing Policies

Drug testing programs have increasingly been used to justify discriminatory policies against people who use drugs or have addictions. Since the 1980s, when the Reagan administration began to heavily promote workplace drug testing, it has proliferated from safety-sensitive jobs to non-safety sensitive jobs to pre-employment job testing to suspicionless drug testing of public high school students to mandatory drug testing of applicants for public benefits. People on parole and probation must submit to drug testing as a condition of their release from prison, even if they have no history of drug use and have never been convicted of a drug crime. We believe drug testing programs are invasive, unproven and expensive, and DPA has been involved in various legal challenges to mandatory drug testing as a condition of eligibility for employment, school-based extracurricular activities, and unemployment benefits.
Informing students about the risks and potential consequences of substance use requires an interactive learning environment where students feel comfortable asking questions and seeking advice. Random drug testing violates students’ privacy and can cause irreparable damage to the delicate relationships between teenagers, their parents and their teachers. DPA supports ending random student drug testing programs and providing young people with reality-based drug education that takes an honest approach to drug use and its consequences.