Pubdate: Sun, 26 Jan 2003
Source: Honolulu Advertiser (HI)
Copyright: 2003 The Honolulu Advertiser, a division of Gannett Co. Inc.
Author: Donald M. Topping
Bookmark: (Drug Testing)
Bookmark: (Youth)


Of all the fuzzy-headed proposals to come from our state legislators -- and
there have been plenty -- none is fuzzier than Senate President Robert
Bunda's proposal to start drug-testing Hawai'i's students.

While adolescent drug use is to be discouraged by all reasonable means,
random drug testing is not one of them.

Random drug testing does not discourage use, and may encourage use of more
dangerous drugs that cannot be readily detected by drug tests, e.g. alcohol.

It also creates an environment of distrust between students and adults,
thereby erecting a barrier to those who might wish to seek help concerning
drug use from a trusted adult. Through random drug testing, we are telling
students that we assume you are guilty until proven otherwise, which goes
against all principles of ethics, trust and democratic values. On the
contrary, it smacks of the ever-growing presence of a police state.

I would suggest that a better approach would be to offer honest, fact-based
drug education to students, which is not currently found in our public
schools, and to provide assistance to those kids who are obviously in
trouble with substance abuse. They are not hard to spot.

Donald M. Topping

President, Drug Policy Forum of Hawai'i
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