Pubdate: Tue, 16 Jul 2002
Source: Daily Advertiser, The (LA)
Copyright: 2002 South Louisiana Publishing
Author: Robert Sharpe


Your July 12 editorial on the Supreme Court's latest drug war exemption to 
the Constitution 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, meth, 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

Program Officer

Drug Policy Alliance

Washington, D.C.
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