Pubdate: Wed, 19 Jun 2002
Source: Amarillo Globe-News (TX)
Copyright: 2002 Amarillo Globe-News
Author: Robert Sharpe

Schools Seem Headed In Opposite Direction

In his June 12 column, Brent Biles highlights a fundamental flaw in school 
drug testing.

Simply put, drug testing might 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 days.

Synthetic drugs are water-soluble and exit the body quickly. A student who 
takes Ecstasy, cocaine or meth on Friday night likely will test clean on 
Monday morning.

If you think students don't know this, think again.

Anyone capable of running a search on the Internet can find out how to 
thwart a drug test.

The importance of parental involvement in reducing drug use cannot be 

School-based extracurricular activities also have been shown to reduce drug 
use. They keep kids busy during the hours they're most prone to getting 
into trouble.

Forcing students to undergo degrading drug tests as a prerequisite will 
only discourage such activities.

The most commonly abused drug and the one most associated with violence is 
almost impossible to detect with urinalysis. That drug is alcohol, and it 
takes far more lives every year than all illegal drugs combined.

Instead of wasting money on counterproductive drug tests, schools should 
invest in reality-based drug education.

Robert Sharpe

Program Officer

Drug Policy Alliance

Washington, D.C.
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