Pubdate: Sat, 01 Feb 2003
Source: Florida Today (FL)
Copyright: 2003 Florida Today
Author: Jodi James


By Jodi James, Melbourne

Those in favor of drug-testing of students in order to assure they remain 
drug-free should be aware of possible unintended consequences.

Use of any substance, including alcohol and tobacco, is illegal for those 
who are under age, yet most current testing methods exclude these substances.

Anyone can look on the Internet to find out how long a given substance 
stays in the body. For example, cannabis stays for up to 45 days while 
cocaine is undetectable after four days or less. Ecstasy remains in the 
system from five to seven days. A young person intent on doing drugs can 
buy whatever substance he or she wants.

One study of the government drug-testing program concluded it spent $85,000 
per positive result. Kits are available on the Internet that advertise that 
they mask positive results for as little as $20.

Rather than keeping our youth drug free, these testing policies could 
encourage our children to use drugs that leave the body quickly or to learn 
to produce fake negative results.

The choice to remain drug free is based on self-esteem and education.

Our education dollars are better spent on teachers and curriculums than 
urine tests with questionable results.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jo-D