Pubdate: Wed, 17 Apr 2002
Source: Ada Evening News, The (OK)
Copyright: 2002 The Ada Evening News
Author: Robert Sharpe
Bookmark: (Drug Testing)
Note: Title by mapinc editor


Dear Editor:

I respectfully disagree with your Mar. 25 editorial. 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 the invasive policy. Student involvement in extracurricular 
activities has been shown to reduce drug use. Forcing students to 
undergo degrading drug tests as a prerequisite will only discourage 
such activities. Drug testing may also compel smokers 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 
weeks. Synthetic hard drugs are water-soluble and exit the body 
quickly. A student who takes ecstasy, OxyContin, or meth 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. 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 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

M.P.A. Program Officer Drug Policy Alliance
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