Pubdate: Fri, 04 Aug 2006
Source: Belleville News-Democrat (IL)
Copyright: 2006 Belleville News-Democrat
Author: Robert Sharpe
Bookmark: (Drug Test)
Bookmark: (Youth)


COLLINSVILLE school board members need to educate themselves on the
downside of drug testing. 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 participation. Drug testing may also compel marijuana users
to switch to harder drugs to avoid testing positive.

Despite a short-lived high, marijuana is the only illegal drug that
stays in the human body long enough to make urinalysis a deterrent.
Marijuana's organic metabolites are fat-soluble and can linger for
days. More dangerous synthetic drugs such as methamphetamine are
water-soluble and exit the body quickly. If you think drug users 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, MPA

Policy analyst, Common Sense for Drug Policy,

Washington, D.C.
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