Pubdate: Fri, 18 Apr 2003
Source: Intelligencer Journal (PA)
Copyright: 2003 Lancaster Newspapers, Inc.
Bookmark: (Drug Testing)


I read in the paper that Hempfield Area School District is considering 
using drug screen testing kits with a 95 percent accuracy rate.

To put this in perspective, the district employs about 800 people. Let's 
select 40 of them and tell them their drug tests are positive, or go to 
Park City and arrest 5 out of every 100 people who walk through the door. 
They'll have their day in court to prove they are innocent.

Of course, for the student that was wrongly accused of using drugs and 
becomes so distraught that he commits suicide before the lab test results 
are completed, this is of little value. All will be left with the social 
stigma of failing the drug test.

The article mentioned the district is planning to expand drug testing to 
include other drugs beyond marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, opiates or 
PCP. What the article failed to mention is that the accuracy testing rate 
for these drugs drops below 95 percent, and the confirmation lab test also 
is not as accurate!

What is the procedure if the student is unable to produce a urine sample? 
What training has the collector received? What does the collector do if the 
student returns with a sample that appears to have been adulterated? Is an 
observed collection then required?

I have extensive experience with the drug and alcohol testing program 
implemented by the Federal Department of Transportation.  For the Federal 
Transit Administration I've conducted drug and alcohol compliance audits in 
more than 30 states, and I teach a drug and alcohol "best practices" 
seminar. I'm presenting a seminar in Philadelphia on April 24 and in Fort 
Worth, Texas, on May 13.  The school board members should attend an 
educational seminar and not rely entirely on information provided by the 
drug testing kit supplier. The school board and the administration needs to 
learn more about how to properly conduct drug testing before they ruin a 
child's life.

If the district wants to institute drug testing, they should spend the 
money necessary to have the testing done by certified individuals, and the 
procedure should be audited by an independent outside company. If the 
district proceeds with a poorly planned and executed drug testing program, 
I am available as an expert witness for the 5 percent-plus of all students 
tested that will have a false positive test result.

Rodney Sams, Lancaster
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MAP posted-by: Terry Liittschwager