Pubdate: Thu, 24 Aug 2000
Source: Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)
Copyright: 2000 The Sydney Morning Herald
Contact:  GPO Box 3771, Sydney NSW 2001
Fax: +61-(0)2-9282 3492
Author: Andrew Byrne


The proposal to test schoolchildren for drugs poses unacceptable risks, with
little likelihood of benefits. The message that it will send to young people
is that "We do not trust you".

How do we handle those with positive tests? Will nicotine and alcohol be
included? Up to 50 per cent of children could fall into this category at
some time. Why not test teachers as well?

Drug testing has never been shown to reduce drug use. As on the sports
field, mistakes occur, definitions are blurred and drug use continues
without any supervision, research or a logical control framework. Testing
makes money for pathologists and lawyers.

Meanwhile, only the blinkered still trust in bans to solve drug problems;
there is no evidence for this ever happening. There are much more logical
ways of addressing drug problems in schools than by drug testing.

Dr Andrew Byrne, Redfern
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