Pubdate: Fri, 05 Jul 2002
Source: Racine Journal Times, The (WI)
Copyright: 2002, The Racine Journal Times
Author: Robert Sharpe


Your July 1st editorial was right on target. Student involvement in 
extracurricular activities like sports has been shown to reduce drug use. 
They keep kids busy during the hours they are most likely to get into 
trouble. Forcing students to undergo degrading urine tests as a 
prerequisite will only discourage such activities. Drug testing 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 days.

Synthetic drugs are water-soluble and exit the body quickly. A student who 
takes ecstasy, cocaine or heroin on Friday night will likely 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. Drug-testing profiteers do not readily volunteer this 
information, for obvious reasons. The most commonly abused drug and the one 
most closely 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 illegal drugs combined. Instead of wasting money 
on counterproductive drug tests, schools should invest in reality-based 
drug education.

Robert Sharpe, M.P.A.

Program Officer, Drug Policy Alliance (

Washington, D.C.
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