The Mahoning Valley Manufacturers Coalition and the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber of Commerce are sending letters to local school systems in Columbiana, Mahoning and Trumbull counties.
The letters ask for the schools to give closer consideration to forcing students to take drug tests.
While many schools already have drug-test policies for students involved in sports or other extracurricular activities, these businesses want all students to pass the drug test.
According to a Supreme Court ruling from 2012, schools are allowed to randomly drug test any student who participates in extracurricular activities, but the businesses don’t believe that’s enough.
Coalition president Brian Benyo said all students need to be drug-tested for their own well-being.
“The manufacturers coalition, and the members of that coalition, all spoke to the need to do everything we can to discourage early drug use and early poor choices by the youth in our community,” Benyo told the Huffington Post.
He went on to say that students will be wasting their time if they bother to enroll in vocational training programs only to emerge with serious drug problems.
“There’s no sense it does anybody any good to come out of one of these training programs … with a drug issue that’s going to limit their ability to seek gainful employment,” he added.
Benyo, who owns a manufacturing company called Brilex Industries, says he has many applicants who can’t get the job because they failed the drug tests.
Requiring students to take drug tests has become more popular in recent years.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 30 percent of school districts with middle schools and high schools had some sort of drug-testing policy in 2012.
Of course, not all of those policies required all students to take the tests.
Benyo and the rest of the members of the coalition are convinced the drug tests can only lead to brighter futures for students, but other organizations are already speaking up against the idea.
Betty Aldworth, director of Students for Sensible Drug Policy, believes the mandatory drug tests could lead to serious trouble and actually encourage students to try more serious drugs.
“Mandatory drug-testing for students is deeply problematic on a number of different levels,” she told HuffPost.
She went on to explain that more serious drugs are actually harder to detect in drug tests as opposed to drugs like marijuana.
This could encourage some students to experiment with those more dangerous drugs.
According to Aldworth, the solution to drug issues within the younger community is not through mandatory testing.
“If we want to see a shift in the way young people interact with drugs, we have to take new approaches that are based in science and compassion,” Aldworth said.