Pubdate: Sat, 31 Mar 2007
Source: Courier-Post (Cherry Hill, NJ)
Copyright: 2007 Courier-Post
Author: Robert Sharpe


The Moorestown school board needs to educate itself on the limitations
of student drug testing. Student involvement in after-school
activities, such as sports, has been shown to reduce drug use. These
activities 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

Common Sense for Drug Policy

Washington, D.C.