Pubdate: Thu, 19 Jun 2003
Source: Intelligencer Journal (PA)
Copyright: 2003 Lancaster Newspapers, Inc.
Author: Robert E. Field
Bookmark: (Drug Testing)


There is one more piece of important information to be added to Jeff
Hawkes's informative column:  Drug tests:  Pass or fail?

For almost all practical purposes, the only substance that the tests
are likely to find is marijuana because cannabinoid metabolite can
remain detectable for up to 27 days for daily users; even a single use
of cannabis (marijuana) can remain detectable for up to three days.

According to medical and law enforcement sources amphetamine /
methamphetamine remains detectable for up to 48 hours;  cocaine for
two to three days; opiates (heroin) for only 48 hours.  And of course,
probably the widest used and among the most dangerous drugs, alcohol
and nicotine, are not detected at all!

The federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
estimates that 91.1 million Americans (41.7 percent of the U. S.
population age 12 or over) have used an illicit drug at least once.

Obviously, only a modest portion continues to use drugs beyond
experimentation and, of those repeaters, only a tiny fraction
encounter a serious problem. Do we want to randomly trap kids engaging
in common experimentation and potentially mar their lives?

As a concerned parent of five and grandparent of four, I suggest the
best preventive measure is to keep youngsters busy with studies, after
school activities and other constructive undertakings; observe them
carefully; and interact with them continually.

If they seem to be slackening off in their work and interests and
discussion doesn't seem to be working, then let's take them for a
visit to our personal physician on a Monday morning to produce a urine
specimen.  Let's deal with drug experimentation as responsible parents
and, if it becomes necessary, seek the advice and guidance of experts.

Robert E. Field,

Common Sense for Drug Policy,

Lancaster, PA
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