Pubdate: Wed, 23 Jan 2008
Source: Herald-Dispatch, The (Huntington, WV)
Copyright: 2008 The Herald-Dispatch
Author: Robert Sharpe


The Putnam County school board needs to educate itself on the downside
of student drug testing. 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

Marijuana's organic metabolites are fat-soluble and can linger for
days. More dangerous synthetic drugs such as 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.
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