By Wil Elder
Preparing students for morally centered lives built on the principles of lifelong learning, testament to their faith, and resilience in the face of adversity might be considered common core values of the faith-based educator. Especially today, with societal shifts creating daily moral challenges, the importance of instilling those core values in students is amplified.
It is no surprise that faith-based schools seek out those who share the tenets of the Christian faith. Consequently, it may seem paradoxical to test applicants or staff for the use of drugs-of-abuse. In truth, drug testing recognizes that humans are flawed. Those flaws might be manifested in anyone and, as a result, when the priority is a safe learning environment drug testing is a necessary tool.
Societal shifts raise drug use risks.
The editorial staff of American Addiction Center estimates nearly 250,000 teachers have used drugs in any 30 days. Additionally, statistics pointing to dramatic increases in cocaine and psychostimulant use are evidence that self-medication may have emerged as a coping tactic during the pandemic. Educators are not immune. More relaxed attitudes toward drug usage by young adults and increasing acceptance of marijuana usage by legislators creates a perfect storm for some very human flaws to take hold.
What is a hair drug test?
A drug test using hair analysis is just that and has been proven effective over 30 years by thousands of organizations. With a small sample of hair, approximately 1.5 inches long and the size of a toothpick, a 90-day record of drug use can be established. Unlike fluids tests, which measure usage for the 2-3 days prior to the test, a hair test identifies longer term patterns of use, crucial to identifying chronic users.
A hair drug test is a deterrent to usage.
A hair test’s superior detection of all types of drugs, 6 to 10 times that of fluids testing, is why most organizations use it. Beyond that, a hair test’s certainty of detection is a deterrent; drug users tend to change behaviors or change jobs. In either case, the objective of a drug-free staff is achieved.
Though the temptation may be to trust that an educator in a faith-based institution will be drug-free, experience tells us that, sadly, our trust has occasionally been misplaced. And with a mission of shaping young lives, tempering that trust with the validation that drug testing brings is likely a very good, and moral, choice to make.
Wil Elder is the director of schools and colleges for Psychemedics Corporation, a world leader in testing for drugs of abuse with hair, www.psychemedics.com.