Pubdate: Tue, 27 Aug 2002
Source: Courier News (NJ)
Copyright: 2002 IN Jersey.
Author: Robert Sharpe, M.P.A.


Your Aug. 17 editorial on the Supreme Court's latest drug war exemption to 
the Constitution was right on target. 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 degrading 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 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.


Program Officer

Drug Policy Alliance

Washington, D.C.
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