Education

Nebraska School District Uses Drug Tests To Combat Teen Vaping

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John Hasson Contributor

A Nebraska school district is implementing random drug tests as part of an effort to crack down on underage vaping on school property.

Fairbury School District approved a motion on June 10 that adds nicotine to the list of drugs for which the school district will randomly test its students, according to News Channel Nebraska.

Every month, drug tests will be assigned at random to 10% of Fairbury students involved in extracurricular activities, per the Lincoln Journal Star.

Fairbury Public Schools Superintendent Stephen Grizzle defended the decision, claiming that smoking and vaping among teens has reached ”epidemic proportions” in an interview with the Lincoln Journal Star.

Fairbury joins a growing number of school districts, as well as individual high schools, across the country forcing students to sign a form consenting to random drug tests in order to have privileges such as driving themselves to school, privileged parking spots or participating in school athletic programs.

Although many schools already have drug testing initiatives which screen for drugs like heroin, cocaine or marijuana, nicotine is becoming increasingly present on schools’ illicit drugs lists.

Schools in Illinois, Ohio, Texas and Indiana have implemented similar programs, with maximum punishments ranging from “parental notification” to students being stripped of participation in all extracurricular activities.

Underage vaping has become a popular national topic since reports surfaced indicating E-cigarette use among teenagers has recently reached record levels, prompting the FDA to explore stricter regulations for E-cigarettes. (RELATED: FDA Goes After Vaping Companies That Paid Social Media ‘Influencers’)

JUUL Labs Inc, a dominant company which holds 68% of the E-cigarette market, has faced particular scrutiny due to its compact design resembling a flash drive.

Critics are concerned about Juul’s minimalist design, which resembles a flash drive, make their devices easier for teenagers to hide them from parents and school officials.  A 2018 New York Times article questioned whether or not Juul specifically targeted teenagers with sweet flavors and the high nicotine levels that make them so addictive. (RELATED: JUUL To Cooperate With Congressional Investigation)

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