Pubdate: Sat, 01 Apr 2000
Date: 04/01/2000
Source: Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)
Author: Robert Sharpe

I hope St Andrews Cathedral School bothered to educate itself on drug
testing before opting for random urine tests.

Urinalysis is counterproductive when it comes to keeping drug users
off drugs, at least in terms of the relative dangers of different drugs.

There is only one drug that stays in the human body long enough to
make urinalysis a deterrent.

That drug is marijuana, and the reason its metabolites linger beyond a
few days is because they are fat soluble. Hard drugs such as cocaine,
heroin and ecstasy are water soluble and exit the human body within 48

Drug users are very much aware of this fact.

Why is this relevant?

Because the current heroin epidemic in America is, in part, a result
of drug testing.

A student who takes a potentially deadly drug such as heroin on Friday
night will test clean on Monday morning.

The same applies to ecstasy or cocaine.

Ironically, the least dangerous drug is the only one whose use is
discouraged by testing. Australians need to know this before buying
into an invasive policy that encourages the use of hard drugs.

Finally, I would like to point out that the most commonly abused drug
and the one most often associated with violent behaviour is almost
impossible to detect with urinalysis. That drug is alcohol, and it
takes far more student lives every year than all other drugs combined.

Robert Sharpe

Note: Robert Sharpe belongs to Students for Sensible Drug Policy, George
Washington University, Washington, DC