D.A.R.E To Do Something


Lauren Teixeira, Editorial Editor

When student athletes step onto their respective fields, courts, or arenas, they are representatives their school, therefore they should personify the values of their school, none of which include meddling with illegal substances.

Student athletes are supposed to be looked upon as role models for their communities. Children are influenced by these athletes. They go to high school or college athletic events and want to be just like the players they see on the field. I for one, don’t want a child to see an athlete smoking a blunt and think it is cool.

It’s time we made drug test mandatory for all students who participate in school sports.

Drugs have become such a prevalent issue today, so our country should be actively trying to prevent use — especially by people who children think of as gods.

Only about 18% of schools in the United States drug test student athletes. And sure, many schools participate in “Red Ribbon Week” and host anti-drug speakers, however the impact of those events are minute compared to those changes that can be made through the use of drug tests.

By drug testing student athletes, schools will encourage students to resist desire to try drugs. The tests will show students that there are consequences for their actions, especially when those actions involve illegal substances.

Not only will drug testing encourage a drug-free lifestyle, but it will also allow students who test positive for drugs to get the help they need. The students caught doing drugs through testing can get the treatment they need to live a healthy lifestyle without the lasting effects of drug abuse.

Drugs are harmful substances that have drastic long- and short-term effects including poor judgement, mood changes (such as depression, anxiety, paranoia, psychosis), drop in academics, and/or social problems.

The earlier teens begin involvement with harmful substances such as drugs or alcohol, the more inclined they are to become an addict. If student athletes do become entangled in the dangerous web of drug abuse, testing for substances can help prevent a substance use disorder later in life.

Some schools have alleged that the price of the tests are out of their budgets, but that’s an exaggeration. Prevention Not Punishment, a pro-drug testing organization, reports that tests only cost around $10-20 per test, which averages out to $5,000-$10,000 annually if 50% percent of student athletes are tested throughout their respective athletic seasons.

The claim has also been made that subjecting student athletes to drug tests is a complete violation of privacy. Sorry to disappoint those who see it that way, but the Supreme Court ruled it constitutional to test individuals who are seen as role models to their communities, which is a category that includes student athletes.

Drug testing can save students years of struggle against addiction, prevent a widespread temptation to try drugs, and help students who are abusing illegal substances to seek treatment. If the deceptiveness of cost and legitimacy of testing have been deterrents for schools not wanting to participate in such measures, let those issues be no more! Schools should require drug tests for student athletes because healthy and safe role models are what today’s youth need.