Pubdate: Wed, 06 Feb 2002
Source: Baytown Sun, The (TX)
Copyright: 2002sBaytown Sun
Author: Robert Sharpe


The Barber's Hill School District would be wise to educate itself on the 
limitations of drug testing before imposing the invasive policy on 
students. Student involvement in extracurricular activities, like sports, 
has been shown to reduce drug use.

Forcing students to undergo degrading drug tests as a prerequisite will 
only discourage extracurricular activity. It may also compel users of 
relatively harmless marijuana to switch to harder drugs to avoid testing 

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 weeks. Synthetic drugs like 
meth and OxyContin are water-soluble and exit the human body within a few 
days.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.

Why is this relevant? Because the growing use of Ecstasy is in part a 
result of drug testing. A student who takes Ecstasy on Friday night will 
likely test clean on Monday morning. Ironically, the least dangerous 
recreational drug (marijuana) is the only one whose use is discouraged by 
testing. Drug testing profiteers do not readily volunteer this information, 
for obvious reasons.

Finally, I would like to point out that the most commonly abused drug and 
the one most often 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 other drugs combined. Alcohol may be legal, but 
it's still the number one drug problem. Instead of wasting money on 
counterproductive drug tests, the Barbers Hill school board should invest 
in reality-based drug education.

Robert Sharpe, M.P.A.

Program Officer

Drug Policy Alliance

Washington, D.C.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Beth