Zero Tolerance Drug Policies

Most high schools in the United States address student drug use with a zero tolerance drug policy that may include expulsion, suspension and exclusion from extracurricular activities.  Proponents of these zero tolerance policies argue that firm punishment will deter most youth from engaging in forbidden activities, but national drug surveys show us each year that harsh disciplinary policies have failed to reduce rates of tobacco, alcohol or illicit drug use among students.  The Drug Policy Alliance supports replacing failed zero tolerance policies with honest, reality-based drug education and programs to assist students exhibiting patterns of substance misuse.