Pubdate: Tue, 02 Apr 2002
Source: El Paso Times (TX)
Copyright: 2002 El Paso Times
Author: Robert Sharpe
Bookmark: (Drug Testing)


In response to Ramnath Subramanian's March 28 column, "Testing students for 
drugs has its place," the U.S. Supreme Court will review an Oklahoma school 
district's drug-testing policy on constitutional grounds, but there are 
compelling health reasons to oppose drug testing.

Student involvement in extracurricular activities has been shown to reduce 
drug use. In my opinion, forcing students to undergo degrading drug tests 
as a prerequisite will discourage such activities. Drug testing may also 
compel smokers of 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 hard drugs 
are water-soluble and exit the body quickly.

If you think students don't know this, think again.

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 I believe it takes far more lives every year than all 
illegal drugs combined.

Instead of wasting money on counterproductive drug tests, schools should 
invest in reality-based drug education.

Robert Sharpe

Program officer, Drug Policy Alliance, Washington, D.C.
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