Pubdate: Wed, 25 Jul 2001
Source: Hill, The (US DC)
Copyright: 2001 The Hill
Authors: Ellen Komp, Tom O'Connell, William D. McColl
Note: While the referenced column from this source didn't make it to the 
MAP archives, it did from other sources. Here is one


To the Editor:

Dick Morris' suggestion that George Bush pursue mandatory drug testing
for all high school students is unlikely to work politically or

Even if every school used federally certified labs, the best testing
schemes only have an accuracy of about 99 percent. More than 135,000
high school students would falsely test positive and suffer
devastating consequences. This doesn't even include the results for
the 6.7 million college students who would be subjected to monthly
testing. The plan would likely drive many students to drop out of
school or to use more dangerous drugs such as LSD, which are less
detectible by testing. The least costly plan would cost billions.

Politically, almost 75 percent of the public understands that the war
on drugs is a failure and they are now ready to accept bold measures
to reduce both the harm from drugs and from drug laws. For example,
Californians voted 61 percent to 39 percent in favor of treatment as
an alternative to incarceration over the well-publicized objections of
President Clinton and his drug czar, California Gov. Gray Davis and
two former presidents. In the last five years, 17 of 19 drug reform
initiatives have passed in various states. The public's knowledge that
the current drug war does not promote actual safety for children is
driving citizens who vote on drug reform initiatives to push for new

A bolder suggestion would be for President Bush to take on the mantle
of reforming the war on drugs. New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson has shown
the power of this route. Although initially attacked for his views, he
routinely has high approval ratings. The decriminalization of
marijuana now attracts 65 percent of the state's voters.

It is no longer true that "get tough" policies show political results
regardless of their practical consequences. Americans know that this
thinking puts politicians first, and the public health and the public
interest last.

William D. McColl

Director of Legislative Affairs

Lindesmith Center - Drug Policy Foundation

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To the Editor:

It's hard to know whether Dick Morris is applying for a job with
George W. or working secretly for some high-ranking Democrat; it
depends on how serious he is with his cockamamie proposal to urine
test the nation's high school students for drugs ("Cut drug use - the
issue Bush needs," July 18).

As an advocate of the dreaded "legalization" of all drugs, I certainly
hope Bush is dumb enough to take that suggestion seriously; it would
finally generate the public debate our disgraceful policy of drug
prohibition has been so assiduously protected from ever since the drug
war was declared; actually - long before that, as anyone who knows
some history would well understand.

Tom O'Connell

San Mateo, Calif.

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To the Editor:

Dick Morris is right. We need to forget civil liberties and become a
totalitarian state to stamp out consensual crimes like drugs and
prostitution. Oops - I guess Morris means just the consensual crimes
in which he does not participate.

Ellen Komp

Mill Valley, Calif.
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake