Mandatory Drug Testing of Dental Students: To Test or Not to Test: Viewpoint 1: Drug Testing of Dental Students Should Be Mandatory for the Benefit of Students, Institutions, Patients, and the Profession and Viewpoint 2: Mandatory Drug Testing of Dental Students Carries Costs and Risks for Institutions and Students and Has Unproven Benefits

Tanya Marie Gibson, Maria A. Loza-Herrero, Juan F. Yepes, Hera Kim-Berman, Deborah A. Dilbone, Herminio Perez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


An educational institution's decision to test or not test its students for drug use is controversial and complex. Although negative consequences of substance use disorder are well known, the consumption of prohibited substances continues to increase in young adults. Given the awareness of increasing drug use on college campuses and the potential impact on future health care professionals, issues associated with mandatory drug testing of dental students warrant investigation. The purpose of this Point/Counterpoint article is to present opposing viewpoints on whether mandatory student drug testing (MSDT) should be implemented for dental students. Viewpoint 1 affirms that MSDT is legal, ensures public safety, is recognized as a need in health care education, promotes professional and ethical responsibility, and is cost-effective. Viewpoint 2 asserts that MSDT has not been proven to be an effective deterrent for student drug use and it poses risks and costs for both institutions and students, ranging from potential violation of students' civil liberties to the consequences of false positive tests. This article's presentation of the recent literature on both sides of this issue provides dental educators with pertinent information for considering implementation of MSDT in their institutions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)924-934
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of dental education
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2019



  • civil liberties
  • dental education
  • dental students
  • mandatory drug testing
  • student rights
  • substance use disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Dentistry(all)

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