Pubdate: Wed, 19 Dec 2007
Source: Belleville News-Democrat (IL)
Copyright: 2007 Belleville News-Democrat
Author: Robert Sharpe


Regarding your editorial Dec. 6 titled "A valuable test for 
students," 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 in extracurricular programs.

Drug testing may also compel marijuana users to switch to harder 
drugs to avoid testing positive. This is one of the reasons the 
American Academy of Pediatrics opposes student drug testing. 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 narcotics 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.

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.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom