Pubdate: Sat, 20 Jul 2002
Source: Observer, The (NM)
Contact:  2002 Rio Rancho Observer.
Author: Robert Sharpe, M.P.A.


Mary Beth King's July 13th column on the Supreme Court's latest drug war 
'Exemption to the Constitution' was right on target. Student involvement in 
extracurricular activities 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 participation in 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, LSD 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, DC 20005
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