Pubdate: Wed, 20 Nov 2002
Source: Intelligencer Journal (PA)
Copyright: 2002 Lancaster Newspapers, Inc.
Author: Robert E. Field
Bookmark: (Drug Testing)


To The Editor:

Concerning "Hempfield to explore student drug screening", when the
school board studies whether it should implement a random-drug testing
policy for students involved in extracurricular activities, it should
consider the following questions and facts:

1) Since marijuana remains detectable for as long as a month (while
alcohol, heroin and cocaine are detectable for only a day or two),
testing will encourage students to switch to more dangerous drugs,
both legal and illegal.  Can there be a more disastrous outcome?

2) Studies show the most effective method of preventing adolescent
drug use is keeping kids active and learning after school when many
parents are working and youngsters are not supervised.  What sense
does it make to put up barriers to kids participating in after-school

3) The most effective schools put in place a student assistance
program that allows youngsters to anonymously seek or be referred to
counseling if they show signs of problems.  Shouldn't student perceive
school administrators as their mentors rather than an extension of the

4) Based on the 9% of schools that have some form of drug testing, the
National Research Council reports: "There is no scientific evidence
regarding the effects of these programs, either on drug use or on the
learning environment."

5) One school system rejected testing when it found it would cost $106
per student tested.

Let's keep our kids constructively busy, monitor their performances
and, above all else, communicate with them.

Robert E. Field,

Co-Chair, Common Sense for Drug Policy,

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