Pubdate: Wed, 27 Mar 2002
Source: Northwest Florida Daily News (FL)
Copyright: 2002 Northwest Florida Daily News
Author: Robert Sharpe


Your March 23 editorial ("School drug tests and student rights") argued 
that constitutional protections do not necessarily apply to children. The 
U.S. Supreme Court will review the Tecumseh Public School District's 
drug-testing policy on constitutional grounds, but there are compelling 
health reasons to oppose the invasive policy as well.

Student involvement in extracurricular activities reduces drug use. Forcing 
students to undergo degrading drug tests as a prerequisite will only 
discourage such activities.

Drug testing may also compel marijuana smokers to switch to harder drugs to 
avoid testing positive.

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. Harder drugs like cocaine and methamphetamines are 
water-soluble and exit the 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 partly a result 
of drug testing. A student who takes ecstasy Friday night will likely test 
clean Monday morning. Ironically, the least dangerous recreational drug 
(marijuana) is the only one whose use is discouraged by testing. Drug-test 
profiteers do not volunteer this information, for obvious reasons.


Program Officer

Drug Policy Alliance

Washington, D.C.
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