Pubdate: Sat, 01 Apr 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: Robert Sharpe
Note: Robert Sharpe belongs to Students for Sensible Drug Policy, George Washington
University, Washington, DC 


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 hours. 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.
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