Pubdate: Mon, 11 Dec 2006
Source: Fayetteville Observer (NC)
Copyright: 2006 Fayetteville Observer
Author: Robert Sharpe


The Cumberland County Board of Education needs to educate itself on 
the limitations of student drug testing. Student involvement in 
after-school 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. 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 like methamphetamine and 
prescription pharmaceuticals 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

Policy analyst for Common Sense for Drug Policy

Washington, D.C.
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