Pubdate: [Sat, 21 Dec 1996]
Source: Skagit Valley Herald (WA)
Author: Fire

I'm responding to the letter "Teen Drug Use: The testing has worked,"
printed in your Dec.11 newspaper. I understand and agree with
McAnally-Gelatt that there are many problems that can be caused by use of
both legal and illegal substances by teens. But it's only a "horrific
monster" when it actually does damage. Assuming guilt in students until
they prove themselves innocent may well cause more damage in the long run
than substance use itself.

Drug-testing all teens before allowing them to participate in
extracurricular activities may cause some kids to stay clean, but it's just
as likely to alienate others, perhaps barring them from important healthy
interactions. The loss of individual bodily privacy and trust is not a
trivial matter.

I agree that being proactive is most likely the key. But that doesn't
necessitate mandatory drug testing. Stressing education, trust and personal
responsibility would go significantly further towards creating healthy and
responsible adults.

Woodside, Calif.