Professor to speak on random student drug testing

Topic: Teachers College

June 15, 2007

Joseph McKinney
Joseph McKinney
Ball State professor and Department of Educational Leadership chair Joe McKinney will head to the nation's capital this month to speak at the "Prevention Not Punishment" conference June 25-26 at the Cosmos Club in Washington, D.C.

McKinney will present his latest findings from a current study on random student drug testing (RSDT) he began in 2006 for the Winston-Salem school district in North Carolina. He has been conducting research on the legality and effectiveness of RSDT since 1999 and frequently presents his findings on behalf of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP).

"The data collected from random student drug testing research can play a vital role in helping to decrease alcohol and drug use among our youth," McKinney said. "It's important to remember that these programs are preventative in nature, not punitive. These programs do help save lives."

McKinney says some of his findings from the Winston-Salem study may surprise critics of RSDT programs.

"One of the things I'm learning is that regardless of whether students are in the drug testing program or not, they overwhelmingly believe the program is there to help them," he said.

McKinney also states his study shows a large majority of the students who participate in the RSDT program say the drug test was "not as bad as they thought it would be."

White House ONDCP director John Walters, also known as America's drug czar, will be the "Prevention Not Punishment" keynote speaker. The conference, which is sponsored by the Institute for Behavior and Health, will focus on RSDT in schools. Educators from around the country will have the opportunity to share experiences of implementing such programs, strategize for the future as well as learn from leading researchers how effective the testing can be. Organizers expect to hold the conference annually.

Some of McKinney's latest research on the effectiveness of RSDT programs in Indiana was recently highlighted on the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy Web site and in its newsletter. To read the article, visit www.randomstudentdrugtesting.org/newsletter/fall_winter_06/page1.html.

For more on the Institute for Behavior and Health or the "Prevention Not Punishment" conference, visit www.ibhinc.org.

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