Pubdate: Wed, 27 Sep 2006
Source: St. Petersburg Times (FL)
Copyright: 2006 St. Petersburg Times
Author: Robert Sharpe
Note: Printed in Hernando Times regional opinion section


Re: School drug testing sounds like witch hunt, Sept. 24 Times editorial:

The Hernando County School Board needs to educate itself on the
limitations of student drug testing. Student involvement in
afterschool activities like sports 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. The invasive tests
also may 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 like methamphetamine are
water-soluble and exit the body quickly. 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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