Pubdate: Fri, 22 Dec 2000
Source: Amarillo Globe-News (TX)
Copyright: 2000 Amarillo Globe-News
Contact:  P.O. Box 2091, Amarillo, TX 79166
Fax: (806) 373-0810
Author: Robert Sharpe


The decision of Tulia Independent School District board members to resume 
drug testing as a prerequisite for extracurricular activities may backfire.

Student involvement in extracurricular activities has been shown to reduce 
drug use. Forcing students to undergo degrading drug tests as a 
prerequisite will only discourage extracurricular activity. It may also 
compel users of relatively harmless marijuana to switch to harder drugs to 
avoid positive drug tests.

Marijuana is the only drug that stays in the human body long enough to make 
urinalysis a deterrent. Because marijuana metabolites are fat-soluble, they 
can linger for weeks.

Harder drugs like Ecstasy and heroin are water-soluble and exit the human 
body within a few days - sooner if the user chooses to flush his or her 
system with water.

If you think students don't know this, think again. Anyone capable of 
running a search on the Internet can find out how to thwart a drug test.

Why is this relevant? Because the growing use of Ecstasy in America is in 
part a result of drug testing. A student who takes Ecstasy on Friday night 
will likely test clean on Monday morning.

Ironically, the least dangerous recreational drug is the only one whose use 
is discouraged by testing. Drug testing profiteers do not readily volunteer 
this information, for obvious reasons.

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.


Program Officer

The Lindesmith Center-Drug Policy Foundation

Washington, D.C.
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