Schools to drug-test for nicotine (e.g. e-cigarettes & vapes)
A Nebraska school district is going to start drug-testing their student athletes and those in clubs for nicotine to combat what the superintendent calls a “widespread epidemic.” Unfortunately, the United States has seen a huge increase in e-cigarettes, nicotine, and tobacco use in our youths, especially in high schools and middle schools.” The Fairbury Nebraska school district is attempting to address this by drug-testing their students who are involved with extracurricular activities.
Unfortunately, the United States has seen a huge increase in e-cigarettes, nicotine, and tobacco use in our youth, especially in high schools and middle schools.” The Fairbury Nebraska school district is attempting to address this by drug-testing their students who are involved with extracurricular activities.
A school responds
Students who are involved with sports or clubs are already required to agree to random drug tests for illegal, or performance-enhancing drugs at any time. With the new increase in e-cigarette use, the Fairbury school district will include nicotine-specific drug-testing as a prohibited substance. The school board approved this measure last month, and it will go into effect this fall in response to what district officials called a “tipping point.” Stephen Grizzle, the district superintendent, stated, “It has been something that has been on our mind for a while because we have seen a drastic increase in students that are vaping.” It’s become a national concern, with the U.S. Surgeon General issuing a statement last December saying that e-cigarette use by young people has reached epidemic proportions.
As a speaker, I have talked with plenty of principals who say it is difficult to fight this trend because it’s not just one type of student who use vapes. We’ve had principals say, “It’s not just the jocks, or the art kids, or the loners, it’s every type of kid, and not that every single kid is vaping, but it’s kids from every social group.”
Giving youth a reason to say, “No”
If kids who are involved with extracurricular activities were drug tested, it could deter them from using nicotine products so that they can continue to play sports or be in clubs. Grizzle said, “We really want this to be a preventive, proactive measure. We don’t want to punish kids. We are wanting to give them a reason to say no.” I think this is really important because when a student is offered anything that they know they should not do, whether it’s alcohol, weed, or vape, it can be difficult to say no. When my kids were growing up, I made sure to help them come up with reasons to say no. Being able to say “No, I can’t vape, the football team is going to drug test,” could be a great deterrent for kids.
How you can adopt similar “no-use” policies
The Surgeon General encourages parents to adopt tobacco-free rules, including e-cigarettes, in the home or car. He also suggests schools develop, implement, and enforce tobacco-free school policies and prevention programs, including e-cigarettes. Health professionals are encouraged to ask about e-cigarettes and educate patients about the risks of all forms of tobacco product use, including e-cigarettes for youth people. Read the full Surgeon General’s report HERE.
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