Pubdate: Wed, 23 Jan 2008
Source: Belleville News-Democrat (IL)
Copyright: 2008 Belleville News-Democrat
Author: Mark Godwin


Robert Sharpe's argument to drop drug testing sounds like the 
reasoning that only makes sense inside the D.C. Beltway.

While education is the best deterrent to student drug use, how would 
he propose to measure the success of any program without empirical 

We would have to rely on self reporting, but one of the problems here 
is the ability to hide and deny the truth. Users can deny they have a 
problem as long as they can hide it.

His argument that screening will compel marijuana users to switch to 
harder-to-detect drugs does not fly. Pot users switch when the pot no 
longer works for them, hence the reason it is known as the gateway drug.

Because it is harder to detect some drugs is no excuse to abandon 
testing. Each user has a drug of preference. Users may switch for a 
time but they always go back to what they love the best. Screeners 
may miss it on one test but random testing increases the chances of 
detection. No one not in recovery stays clean for long.

Degrading? If we are serious about preparing young people for life in 
the real world, one of those realities is random drug tests at work 
just as we have metal detectors at schools and airports.

After 20-plus years working with substance abusers, I can say drug 
testing is a valuable tool. You cannot beat the cup for long; just 
having it and a Breathalyzer in the office can extract the truth 
without even breaking the seal.

What was that Russian proverb? "Trust but verify."

Mark Godwin

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