So the question of the day over on parentdish is “Should there be random drug testing in middle school?” They offer a point and counterpoint, both of which are idiotic, but clearly influenced by the sheer lunacy of our policies and conventional wisdom about drugs.

Dori Hartley takes the “con” side. She reasonably insists that subjecting children to the indignity and paranoia of random drug tests is outrageous. Then she goes on to insist that her mighty wrath, tough love, and fear mongering will prevent her daughter from ever doing drugs:

I don’t want my kid drug tested. She won’t be doing drugs because I won’t let that happen. Think that’s not a possibility? Think I’m being naive? Watch me.

Because, drugs, like cigarettes, are not something I will tolerate on any level. And, should my child even try, she will see what anger really looks like.

And the wrath of Mom? That won’t be random.

Jessica Samakow takes the pro side with the strange argument that it will be a relief to children to pee in a cup for a grown up because then they won’t feel as much peer pressure to do drugs.

Besides curiosity, kids often try drugs because of peer pressure. As the joint is passed their way at a party, friends encourage them to take a puff. “Everyone is doing it,” they say. And, if you don’t inhale, you’re a wimp. A loser.

In response, some kids might ask, “But what if I get caught?”

“Oh, no worries,” their peers will try to convince them. “You won’t, as long as you’re careful.”

But here’s the thing: If those kids knew they had to face random drug testing at school, the concerns of hesitant kids are suddenly totally valid.

As one teacher explains to CBS, it gives them an easy way out.

It doesn’t occur to either one of these writers that an alternative to Freaking The Hell Out is to scale back the Refer Madness, and direct our attention toward creating actual reality-based education and teaching children practical life skills.

What’s so infuriating to me about our Refer Madness culture is that practical solutions are impossible for no other reason than that they don’t appear tough or zero-tolerance or punitive enough. For instance, we can’t sentence people to the Sinclair Method, because it allows drinking. It may have an actual success rate; it may be practical; it may work… But we’ll stick with the program that is proven to be completely ineffectual, and perhaps even worse than nothing, because it looks better.

  • AndyM

    Would they be randomly dope testing the teaching and other staff too? If not, why not?

  • AndyM

    What action would be taken anyway on the basis of a positive result? Would kids be branded addicts or deliquents on the basis of a test that showed that they had some remaining trace from having had a puff on a joint at some recent time? Would they be removed from school and sent to some kind of boot camp or what?

  • eddy

    My fear is not of drug testing but the type of abuse, 12 step treatment, that these young people could incur as a result of a postive testing.

  • the school nurse called my mom when i was 14. i had smoked pot literally–six eff-ing times. my mom was seriously researching straight, inc. dumb see you next tuesday "parent" that she was/is. this is a bad deal for these kiddies, let me tell you.

  • DeConstructor

    isn't stright inc part of the hare kristnas? It seemed like they had some really weird connections somewhere along the line….

  • Gunthar2000
  • Oh god, yes… exactly. These peepants adults are debating the merits of different ineffectual, authoritarian approaches to preventing drug use, and both will surely result in more business for the Tough Love outfits.

    Of course, we can't have education. That's just too reasonable. How about not telling your kids that they will drop dead the first time they smoke pot? It may be the truth, but we can't SAY that! ZOMG! How about some serious life skills that go beyond "just say no"? Well, we can't make it appear that we condone half measures… Appearances are more important that effectiveness and reality.

  • The entire process seems to be flawed. The kids are forced to go to school and if they do not, they are guilty of being "truant" and it is the parents who are fined for it and the school children are forced into different programs. In the State of California you can read about the fines and programs the kids and parents are sent to in this link:

    If children are found with drugs drugs in their system at school it may only be a few steps away that the child and parents have to go to some sort of Drug Abuse Program. The student may be suspended, kicked out of school or sent to "Special" schools. The fourth amendment of the Constitution of the United States protects against this type of abuse without probable cause. You can read about it here:

    The list is extensive on the problems with this program will have if done to all children in public schools.

    1. The 4th amendment does not condone it without probable cause. The school will be telling everyone "We don't trust you" every time it tests someone.

    2. The children may be forced to go to 12 Step Programs such as NA.

    3. The children may be put in separate teaching facilities filled with all the children that test positive and this may not be the best teaching atmosphere. It will be a hot bed of "Drug Culture learning" for the child. This could be very detrimental if the child is just experimenting with drugs and would eventually grow out of it. Again "We don't trust you".

    4. Once put in "Specialized classes" for children with Substance Abuse problems it may be a black hole that they can not crawl their way out of.

    5. The parents may be fined for the infraction.

    6. The parents may be forced to go to an "Alanon" type program because of this.

    7. Children of public school age have a tendency to rebel and this may trigger a major rebellion.

    From my own experience I remember a very sweet young girl who was know by everyone as a "Goody Two Shoes". She made the mistake of drinking beer one night and her parents found out about it. They were extremely Religious and immediately took her out of school and sent her into a "Scared Straight" program. When she emerged she had met many people who were doing drugs and Alcohol and became friends with them. She rebelled when she came out and became a hard core Druggie. I saw her a few years later and I could barely recognize her, she was living on the street. She was definitely college material when she went into the program, this had all disappeared. If she had not gone into this program I am confident she would not have learned all of the bad habits she did because she did not have any of these types of friends before.

  • DeConstructor

    There is another issue involved that those of us who have been through the rehab/spin dry. We have a notation in our medical history that we suffer from the incurable disease of alcoholism.

    This has serious ramifications regarding the procurement of health or life insurance. It does not matter whether or not we agree with the faulty disease model of addiction, or if we deny that we were ever an alcoholic, because the AA faith has marketed the progressive, terminal, and incurable disease fallacy to the point of society's acceptance. This gives an insurance company an excuse to charge higher rates, or outright deny a policy, whether justified or not.

    It would be a very bad thing to strap these poor kids with that permanent stigma on their medical history at such a young age, and really without any substantial evidence.

    It would be like slapping a bankruptcy on a middle schoolers credit report.

  • Primrose

    Couldn't agree more Decon. The very first thing you need to do to be accepted into this cult is to identify oneself as 'alcoholic'. Which is difficult to unsay. Having this on one's medical records has all sorts of ramifications. From another forum, I note that one's local doctor is obliged to tell the school of the 'alcoholic's' children.

  • speedy0314


    perhaps there is another way, grasshopper. perhaps the pee-pants adults are proposing this kind of testing to ENSURE THAT THEIR CHILDREN ARE ON DRUGS (e.g., if they 'fail' testing then they are immediately forced to eat a hit of Ecstasy or [snark] Belladonna [/snark].

    you want the kids to "hit bottom" and find the "spiritual' path 20 minutes after puberty hits. otherwise, they're all just dry teen & pre-teen drunks.

    snatch the pebble from my head,


  • johnny crash

    Kids get high and go out of control cause mommy and daddy are too busy working 4 jobs or they are to busy getting loaded themselves screw drug testing throw bad kids OUT of school … periode… when they get in trouble THROW them in JAIL they will be ok there are meetings in JAIL … a good kid gets rewarded a bad kid should be BUM FLUNG … not given more attention the parents dont like it too bad … thats the problem today giving carrots out for shit behavior … I dont want my tax dollars going for this

  • What happens in the case when the drug test is a false positive, or the child didn't realize they were given drugs? What happens if the child eats a poppy seed bagel the morning of the test and tests positive for opiates? What happens if the child was given a Tylenol 3 by accident because of a headache? What happens if some druggie puts something in the punch being served at a function the child is at ,and they just think they got food poisoning?

    I think throwing them out of school is a little harsh. I also think that labeling them at this early age will cost much MORE TAX MONEY. If they can not get a job because of a lack of education they will probably end up on Food Stamps and Public Assistance of some sort. The last time I looked it up the average cost to send someone to jail was around $100 a day or about $36,500 a year.

    So let me see… kick them out if school so that they have to go on Public Assistance, for a TAX COST of about $12,00 a year… Wait for them be put in Jail at a TAX COST of $36,500 a year… yeah kicking them out of school sure does sounds to me like it is going to save Tax money (that was sarcasm). We could just be like a 3rd world country and stone them to death (this is real sarcasm) that way it doesn't cost anything to execute them.

    Whats next? I guess we could test the DNA of everyone at birth, and if they have the gene that shows they are likely to have substance abuse problems, we can just start the process of making sure they are failures early without the benefit of a chance. I think that mandatory Drug Testing starts a slippery slope that could snowball into all kinds of other things. I think it is just a bad idea.

  • I agree DeConstructor, but remember we are talking about middle school children –

    I was just throwing out some quick numbers on what the tax payers cost would be if they kicked everyone out of public school that failed a drug test. They haven't started a job yet, do not pay taxes, and do not have a family to support. At that age the parents of the child are responsible for their bills. It will most likely put the family unit on a downward spiral that will be a substantial burden on society that I also did not mention.

  • i am wondering, overall who on this site has been through straight or other rehabs of this ilk.? nosy, i guess. fuck, i was only an "almost." i got sent to a cushy boarding school where i got to sneak out and blow my bf in the boy's dorm. for realz, i feel lucky. really, just now i got um, gratitude. but the straight, inc. thing makes me fucking insane anywayz. the threat of it, so eff-ing unjustified coulpled with knowing a few people who went there and got broken from the experience…

  • DeConstructor

    Well Violet-

    I spent 32 days at this place.

  • DeConstructor


    Those numbers are far too low for incarcerations costs. This includes the money spent on the actual incarceration, which includes feeding, clothing, housing, educating, and medicating the inmate, not to mention footing his or her legal bill, and appeals. That inmate is no longer a taxpayer.

    Not that many of them are career minded individuals, however, they do have families, that those families become the responsibility of the state with the loss of a breadwinner.

    So just so the bean counters get it right, there is the cost of incarceration, the cost of losing a taxpaper in becoming a ward of the state, and finally the added costs of supporting their offspring through foster care etc.

    I doubt $100 a day is even close, and that is why so many courts opt for treatment, or mandated AA attendance, on the account it could be a real money saver for the taxpayer. Unfortunately, this dumping rarely works, and actually creates more havoc by introducing like minded criminals to each other (cons networking), subjects responsible members of society to this criminal element (and in a weird way offers justifaction and reasoning for their criminal behavior) and also indoctrinates these people will never actually recover.

    That is why our work is so important, as the unearned admiration and the undeserved credibility given to the AA faith and the recovery industry cartel desparately needs a reality check by society.

  • DeConstructor


    I have also been to a bankruptcy court. It was a fresh start and I was thankful for it. Today is 100% different, but I am not sure it would be for these kids.

    Off the top of my head, I think about them trying to join the military a few years later. During peacetime, this would really stick out, not to mention other careers that would would require disclosure of "medical" records.

    There kids are granted growing room by the justuce system. They will not be by the recovery industry who will eagerly slap an alleged lifelong "disease" and the corresponding misinformation that goes with it.

    This is a very bad idea.

  • hulahoop

    It would be like slapping a bankruptcy on a middle schoolers credit report.

    Decon, I agree with what you say, but don’t be so harsh on bankruptcy. At least bankruptcy only lasts ten years and it does lead to a fresh start. I know because I’ve been there. Not to due to drinking or addiction. Just bad, hard times.

    I wish there was a dedicated space on ths forum so people could speak about their time in recovery. I didn’t go there but I am fascinated with it in a morbid way. I watched a friend’s twenty-eight days in recovery center totally change him. Seriously. It fucked him up to the point where I do recognize him now. Truthfully, I liked him better when he drank because at least he had a mind of his own and he didn’t say bullshit to me that makes no sense.

    I am totally blown away and stunned and disgusted when I see the fees rehab facilities charge. I have to ask, “Okay, I can’t afford that. You say you want to help people. Will you help me based on what I might achieve after the program?” I doubt it. It is all about the cash $$$$$ or the insurance. At least I can get help at an emergency room if I really need it and don’t have insurance. None of those rehabs will do that for me because I have “spriritual problem.” According to them it is life threatening when I have the ability to pay or when my insurance ponies up to pay the bill. It isn’t so damn life threatening when you don’t have cash, the ability (or desire) to finance the treatment, or your insurance does not foot the bill.

  • Well it appears that mandatory school drug testing is starting to grow and florida has gotten into the act. It’s not for everyone, just students doing extracurricular like sports and maybe even the chess club? It doesn’t really say which activities.

    Wednesday, January 19 2011, 12:21 AM EST

    “ESCAMBIA COUNTY – The Escambia School Board took a big step towards taking a roll that is usually handled by parents.”

    “The board moved forward with a plan to start drug testing students involved in extracurricular activities.

    “It is unfortunate that we are having to step more and more into the parental realm and help the parents with these issues.”

    Gerald Boone/School Board Member: “And we do have to take the roll of parent in a lot that we do.”


  • Don Greenspan

    Jessica Samakow needs to read the U.S. Constitution, something that must have been overlooked when she was in school, not that long ago. Besides this opinion, I just read her opinion about the school teacher who may be fired for what she wrote on her private blog.

    Jessica, you don’t have to read the whole thing, as short as it is. Just the First Amendment, called Freedom of Religion, Press. And the 4th one prohibiting un lawful search and seizure. In fact, since they are only a few words each, I’ve reproduced them below since uoy apparently don’t have the time to find them yourself.

    It appears you have chosen to be a journalist. Maybe you should also do some research on the First Amendment and journalists. It might wake you up as to why this country is what it is, unlike China, where you would probably be languishing in prison right now just for some minor comments you’ve made.

    Wake up!! You live in a Democratic society with an amendment (the very first one so the Founding Fathers must have felt it was important) to its constitution guaranteeing free speech and another guaranteeing the right to be secure in our persons–something you seem to have a problem with! So just for you, Jessica, so youn can understand what this country is about, here ar bthe First and Fourth Amendments to the U.S. Constitutiom, part of something called The Bill of Rights (obviously covered on a day you were sick and not at school):

    Amendment 1 – Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression. Ratified 12/15/1791.

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    Amendment 4 – Search and Seizure. Ratified 12/15/1791.

    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.