Pubdate: Thu, 01 Dec 2005
Source: Hattiesburg American (MS)
Copyright: 2005 Hattiesburg American
Author: Robert Sharpe


Regarding Paul Varnado's thoughtful column ("'Just say no' to student
drug testing," Nov. 23), the U.S. Supreme Court made a terrible
mistake when it ruled that drug testing students in extracurricular
activities is constitutional.

Student involvement in after-school activities has been shown to
reduce drug use. They keep kids busy during the hours they are most
likely to get into trouble. Forcing students to undergo degrading
urine tests as a prerequisite will only discourage

Drug testing may also compel marijuana users to switch to harder
synthetic drugs such as methamphetamine to avoid testing positive.
Despite a short-lived high, organic marijuana is the only illegal drug
that stays in the human body long enough to make urinalysis a
deterrent. If you think students don't know this, think again.

Anyone capable of running an Internet search can find out how to
thwart a drug test.

Drug-testing profiteers do not readily volunteer this information, for
obvious reasons. 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
student lives each year than all illegal drugs combined.

Instead of wasting money on counterproductive drug tests, schools
should invest in reality-based drug education.

Robert Sharpe, policy analyst, Common Sense for Drug Policy,
Washington, D.C. 
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