Pubdate: Thu, 18 Jul 2002
Source: Spokesman-Review (WA)
Copyright: 2002 The Spokesman-Review
Author: Robert Sharpe, Jack Satkoski


Greg Johnson (Letters, July 13) defends the Supreme Court's latest drug war 
exemption to the Constitution by suggesting that students enrolled in 
extracurricular activities will look forward to drug tests. Being forced to 
urinate in front of an adult is not exactly the kind of validation most 
teenagers seek.

Student involvement in extracurricular activities has been shown to reduce 
drug use. They 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 participation in such activities.

Drug testing may also 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 human body long enough 
to make urinalysis a deterrent. Marijuana's organic metabolites are 
fat-soluble and can linger for days.

Synthetic drugs like ecstasy, meth, LSD or heroin are water-soluble and 
exit the body quickly. 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 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 

Robert Sharpe, M.P.A., Program Officer



There is something radically wrong with President Bush's wet noodle 
speeches dealing with continual corporate fraud.

The war on people who use or deal in certain drugs not approved by the 
state, called the "war on drugs," face mandatory minimum sentences, 
property forfeiture, and even the death sentence. All this even though the 
activity is consensual. Since Nixon's time the war on drugs has cost the 
American taxpayer nearly $200 billion dollars. Another $20 billion is being 
spent this year.

Now, in corporate crime, thousands of employees are ruined through loss of 
retirement and employment while CEOs, etc. make off with millions. Doubling 
the sentence of laws with no teeth amounts to no change.

It is time for taxpayers to demand that our government stops acting like a 
clown. Lawmakers need to make a distinction between areas where people are 
really hurt and need protection from emotional charged trivia.

Jack Satkoski, Sandpoint
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