Pubdate: Mon, 14 Feb 2000
Source: Munster Times (IN)
Copyright: 2000 The Munster Times
Contact:  601 45th Street, Munster, IN 46321
Fax: (219) 933-3249
Author: Robert Sharpe


To the editor:

Before the Lake Central School Board jumps on the drug-testing
bandwagon, it would be wise to educate itself on the limits of urinalysis.

Urinalysis is counterproductive when it comes to keeping students off
drugs, at least in terms of the relative dangers of different drugs.

There is only one drug that stays in the human body long enough to
make urinalysis cost-effective. That drug is marijuana, and the reason
its metabolites linger beyond a few days is because they are fat soluble.

The more dangerous drugs such as cocaine, heroin and "club drugs"'
like ecstasy are water soluble and exit the human body within 48 hours
- -- sooner if the user chooses to flush his system with water.

Students who use drugs are very much aware of this

Why is this relevant?

Because the rise in use of synthetic "club drugs" and the current
heroin epidemic is in part a result of drug testing.

A drug user who takes a potentially deadly drug like heroin on a
Friday night will test clean on Monday morning.

The same applies to ecstasy or cocaine.

Ironically, the least toxic illegal drug is the only one whose use is
discouraged by drug testing.

Residents of Lake Central need to know this before buying into an
invasive policy that encourages the use of hard drugs.

Finally, I would like to point out that the most commonly abused drug
and the one most often associated with violent behavior is not even
part of the testing strategy.

That drug is alcohol, and it takes far more student lives every year
than all other drugs combined.

Washington, D.C.
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