Pubdate: Thu, 03 Aug 2000
Source: New Times (CA)
Author: Robert Sharpe


Concealing the dates of drug tests in Templeton Unified School District 
does not change the fact that urinalysis is actually counterproductive when 
it comes to keeping students off drugs, at least in terms of the relative 
dangers of different drugs ["Templeton May Change Drug-testing Policy," New 
Times, July 27]. Drug testing profiteers are quick to list the many drugs 
tested for, but loath to reveal the efficacy of urine tests.

There is only one drug that stays in the human body long enough to make 
urinalysis a deterrent. That drug is marijuana, and the reason its 
metabolites linger beyond a few days is because they are fat soluble. 
Harder drugs like heroin and ecstasy are water soluble and exit the human 
body within 48 hours - sooner if the user chooses to flush his or her 
system with water. If you think students don't know this, think again.

Ironically, the least dangerous recreational drug is the only one whose use 
is discouraged by testing.

Finally, I would like to point out that the most commonly abused drug and 
the one most often associated with violent behavior is almost impossible to 
detect with urinalysis. That drug is alcohol, and it takes far more student 
lives every year than all other drugs combined.

Robert Sharpe, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, Washington, D.C.
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