Pubdate: Thu, 15 Nov 2001
Source: Daily Independent, The (KY)
Copyright: 2001 The Daily Independent, Inc.
Author: Robert Sharpe, M.P.A. Lindesmith Center-Drug Policy Foundation 
Washington, D.C.


The Nov. 9 story  on a pending U.S. Supreme Court case regarding drug 
testing mentioned that local schools could be impacted by the decision. The 
U.S. Supreme Court will review an Oregon school district's drug testing 
policy on constitutional grounds, but there are practical reasons to oppose 
the invasive policy as well.

Student involvement in extracurricular activities has been shown to reduce 
drug use. Forcing students to undergo degrading drug tests as a 
prerequisite will only discourage extracurricular activity. It may also 
compel users of relatively harmless marijuana to switch to harder drugs to 
avoid testing positive.

Despite a short-lived high, marijuana is the only drug that stays in the 
human body long enough to make urinalysis a deterrent. Marijuana's organic 
metabolites are fat-soluble and can linger for weeks. Synthetic drugs like 
meth and OxyContin are water-soluble and exit the human body within a few days.

Why is this relevant? Because the growing use of Ecstasy is in part a 
result of drug testing. A student who takes Ecstasy on Friday night will 
likely test clean on Monday morning. Ironically, the least dangerous 
recreational drug (marijuana) is the only one whose use is discouraged by 

Finally, I point out that the most commonly abused drug and the one most 
often associated with violent behavior 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, M.P.A. Lindesmith Center-Drug Policy Foundation Washington, D.C. 
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