Pubdate: Fri, 26 Jul 2002
Source: Bakersfield Californian, The (CA)
Copyright: 2002, The Bakersfield Californian
Author: Glenn Backes
Note: The writer is Director, Health Policy, Drug Policy Alliance, Sacramento
Bookmark: (Drug Testing)
Bookmark: (Youth)


This is regarding the article, "KHSD may say no to random drug tests." I 
agree with the principals of Kern High School District that drug testing 
kids who wish to participate in extra curricular activities is too 
expensive to undertake.

Beyond that, it is just plain bad policy to deter kids who might be at-risk 
of drug use from taking part in safe, productive activities that will keep 
them busy and away from drugs.

Consider this: Your kid just spent the last few months working her first 
summer job, met some new friends and started smoking marijuana socially. By 
the end of summer she is smoking pot three or four times a week. School 
rolls around and she wants to try out for the school play, or sports, or 4-H.

Do you want her at school, learning new skills in a safe and structured 
environment, or do you want her to hang out from 3:30 to 6 -- perhaps 
seeking mind-expanding challenges of a more dangerous and illegal sort?

Easy answer: You want her somewhere safe. We should want that for all kids. 
In addition to popular after-school programs, we should add programs that 
appeal to kids who don't currently participate, who are at the greatest 
risk of drop-out, delinquency, sex or drug use. We should encourage kids, 
even those who have previously broken the law or violated a social taboo, 
to become more engaged with their schools and their communities, not less.

Plain and simple, drug-testing school kids is one of the worst ideas to 
come down the pipe in decades.

GLENN BACKES, Director, Health Policy, Drug Policy Alliance, Sacramento
- ---
MAP posted-by: Larry Stevens