Study: Positive school climate helps deter drug use

Matthew Zalaznick's picture
Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Making sure schools foster a positive environment is more likely to deter students from smoking cigarettes and marijuana than using drug testing, according to a new study from the University of Pennsylvania.

Drug testing policies are a fairly common tactic in schools as a way to discourage students from abusing drugs and alcohol. About 20 percent of high schools in the United States have drug testing policies, and of the 361 students interviewed for the UPenn study, one-third said their schools had a drug testing policy.

But the study -- led by Daniel Romer, associate director of the university's Annenberg Public Policy Center -- found over the next year, students in schools with drug testing policies were no less likely than other students to try marijuana, cigarettes or alcohol. Climate, the researchers found, is the overriding factor.

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