Pubdate: Tue, 09 Jul 2002
Source: Washington Times (DC)
Copyright: 2002 News World Communications, Inc.
Author: Robert Sharpe, and Ray Aldridge


Bruce Fein defends the Supreme Court's latest drug-war exemption to the 
Constitution by claiming the Fourth Amendment "speaks in chiaroscuro" and 
drug-test failure is "not chimerical" ("Anti-drug successes and 
protections," Commentary, Monday). Mr. Fein's vocabulary is impressive, but 
his arguments are irrelevant.

Student involvement in extracurricular activities has been shown to reduce 
drug use. Such activities keep kids busy during the hours they are most 
likely to get into trouble. Forcing students to undergo degrading urine 
tests as a prerequisite will only discourage their participation in such 

Drug testing also may compel users of relatively harmless marijuana to 
switch to harder drugs to avoid testing positive. Despite a short- lived 
high, marijuana is the only drug that stays in the body long enough to make 
urinalysis a deterrent. Marijuana's organic metabolites are fat-soluble and 
can linger for days.

Synthetic drugs are water-soluble and exit the body quickly. A student who 
takes ecstasy, methamphetamine or cocaine Friday night will likely test 
clean Monday morning. 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. Drug testing profiteers do not readily volunteer this 
information, for obvious reasons.

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 every year than all illegal 
drugs combined.

Instead of wasting money on counterproductive drug tests, schools should 
invest in reality-based drug education.


Program officer

Drug Policy Alliance

- ---------------------------------------------
Of the Supreme Court's decision to allow suspicionless drug testing of 
students participating in extracurricular activities, Bruce Fein wrote: 
"'Unreasonable searches and seizures' are prohibited [by the Constitution]; 
but no specific clues are provided to demarcate the reasonable from the 

Mr. Fein neglected to quote from the remainder of the Fourth Amendment, 
which goes on to read: "no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, 
supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to 
be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

How can a legitimate warrant be issued for the search of randomly chosen 
persons who have, so far as anyone knows, done nothing wrong?

It is not the duty of the Supreme Court to find some Rube Goldberg- like 
mechanism by which current political axes can be ground. It is the duty of 
the court to stand up for the Constitution. This it failed to do, and no 
amount of lawyeresque rationalization is going to change that.


Fort Walton Beach, Fla.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Beth