Drug abuse not only interferes with a student's ability to learn, but it can also disrupt the teaching environment, affecting other students as well. Drug testing is one of several tools that schools can use as part of a comprehensive drug prevention effort. Administrators in schools with a student drug testing program view testing as a deterrent and believe that it gives students a reason to resist peer pressure to use drugs.
Drug testing can identify students who have started using drugs so that interventions can occur early or identify students who already have drug problems, and refer them for assessment and treatment. Schools have the option of randomly testing specific groups of students. Such groups typically include student athletes, students involved in extracurricular competitive activities, and students who, along with their parents, provide written consent to be voluntarily tested.