Pubdate: Tue, 08 May 2001
Source: Globe and Mail (Canada)
Copyright: 2001, The Globe and Mail Company
Author: Robert Sharpe
Bookmark: (Drug Testing)


Washington -- Regarding John Ibbitson's excellent May 5 column on 
Premier Mike Harris's misguided welfare proposal (Little Sense Behind 
Drug Tests For Welfare Users), the plan to coerce welfare recipients 
into drug treatment will have the perverse effect of forcing addicts 
to suffer in silence.

Would alcoholics seek treatment if doing so were tantamount to 
confessing to criminal activity? Welfare recipients who voluntarily 
seek drug treatment would risk homelessness in the event of a 
relapse, a common occurrence among recovering alcoholics and drug 
users. Driving drug use underground only compounds the problem.

By relying on drug tests, Mr. Harris's policy may actually encourage 
the use of hard drugs. Marijuana is the only drug that stays in the 
body long enough to make urinalysis a deterrent. Harder drugs exit 
the human body within 48 hours. If you think drug users don't know 
this, think again. Anyone capable of running an Internet search can 
find out how to thwart a drug test.

Drug war profiteers and opportunistic "tough on drugs" politicians do 
not readily volunteer this information, for obvious reasons.

ROBERT SHARPE, program officer, The Lindesmith Center Drug Policy Foundation
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