One School’s Attempt to Fight Teen Alcohol Abuse: Random Alcohol Tests

Teen drinking poses a serious problem across the United States, and one Illinois school has decided to take drastic measures to try to mitigate the issue. St. Viator High School has implemented random alcohol tests among students by collecting hair samples. According to a Newsroom article, St. Viator High School has been randomly drug testing their students since 2007. All students are tested at the start of the school year and then randomly selected by a computerized system throughout the year to be tested again.

However, this is the first year that alcohol testing will be added. The company that manages the school’s testing, Psychemedics Corp. of Acton, MA, says that the new alcohol test requires 50 milligrams of hair, which is about the size of a stick of pencil lead. The company started offering the alcohol test only a month prior to St. Viator’s decision to utilize the test. The test has the ability to pick up low levels of alcohol consumption (i.e., two to three drinks a week on average for up to three months).

Why Test for Alcohol?

The high school says they are taking the opportunity to help their students who might be struggling with alcohol abuse or dependence. The school says they will provide services to those students that test positive for alcohol. The first time a student tests positive, they will be given counseling and will be required to submit to another test in 90 days. However, disciplinary action will be taken if the student tests positive again.

How can they do this? St. Viator is allowed to test their students because they are a private school. Public schools are only allowed to drug test students who are involved in extracurricular activities. However, neither public nor private schools have a legal obligation to report their findings to authorities.

Binge Drinking

Many high school students binge drink, which is consuming five or more alcoholic drinks in a row. A new study shows that some high school students are now involved in extreme binge drinking, which involves consuming as many as ten to fifteen drinks in one session. Binge drinking and extreme binge drinking are very dangerous for both teens and adults and can lead to:

  • Injuries
  • Accidents
  • Alcohol poisoning
  • Impaired driving ability
  • Increased risk of liver damage
  • Increased risk of dependence

While binge drinking appears to be a serious problem among teenagers, it is important to remember that many treatment services are designed to address these specific issues.

Find Help Today

If your son is struggling with substance abuse of any kind, we can help at Muir Wood. Our teen-specific rehabilitation program for boys is designed to help kids struggling with drug and alcohol issues as well as behavioral problems and other challenges that may be blocking their path to success. Call now for more information.