By Richard Garibay
In recent years there has been talk amongst Federal and State officials on the idea of drug testing college students that apply for financial aid with schools across the country already adopting the practice. Not only is this a ridiculous idea, but it also sends the wrong signal to American college students.
Drug testing students and taking away their financial aid is a form of punishment, and in this situation, punishment is not the course of action that should be taken.
In this country, there is a tendency to treat drug addicts as criminals instead of people who have an illness, which is what they really are. Drugabuse.gov states that, “Addiction is considered a brain disease because drugs change the brain- in structure and in function.” No one punishes smokers that get cancer; they help them treat the sickness.
This is the approach that should be taken with college students who abuse drugs. Instead of doling out punishment, the institution should be offering treatments on campus to these students.
Next, logistics must be considered for this project. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, there were approximately 20.6 million students enrolled in the 2012 academic year and 57 percent of them received financial aid.
Consider the amount of money it would take to give them all two to four drug tests a year. Schools that have to increase tuition to stay afloat would have to further increase it in order to fund these tests that would potentially strip a student of the ability to fund the school, irony at its finest.
Imagine how stressful it would be for the students who do not use drugs. They would be hyperventilating when their financial aid is delayed a couple of weeks because the results of their drug tests are late.
Adding to the idea that colleges would be harming themselves is the loss of income they would incur as a result of taking away financial aid from students, because colleges are businesses that run on students like customers.
A study reported by USA Today found that, in 2005, 36.6 percent of college students admitted they abuse drugs. Imagine a 36.6 percent decrease in tuition payers across the nation, and that’s only the students who willingly admitted to drugs abuse.
Although it may seem like a good idea for schools to demand cups of drug free urine in exchange for financial assistance, closer inspection reveals that this would hinder higher education.