Pubdate: Mon, 22 Jul 2002
Source: Beaufort Gazette, The (SC)
Copyright: 2002 The Beaufort Gazette
Source: Beaufort Gazette (SC)
Author: Robert Sharpe


Beaufort County schools are to be commended for not adopting a drug testing 
policy modeled after the Supreme Court's latest drug war exemption to the 
Constitution. Student involvement in after-school 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 urine tests as a 
prerequisite will only discourage participation in extracurricular 
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 Friday night will likely test clean 
Monday morning. If you think students don't know this, think again. 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 drug education.

Robert Sharpe, Drug Policy Alliance, Arlington, Va.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Keith Brilhart