Pubdate: Thu, 08 Aug 2002
Source: Log Cabin Democrat (AR)
Copyright: 2002 The Log Cabin Democrat
Author: Bruce Mirken


Anne Lasowski and her fellow parents are right to be skeptical of the 
Conway School District's proposal for drug testing students in 
extracurricular activities.

As the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Public Health 
Association noted in their recent U.S. Supreme Court briefs, 
extracurricular activities help protect young people from drug abuse. If a 
student is experimenting with drugs, he or she should be encouraged to join 
the band, debate team or drama program; the last thing schools should do is 
bar such students from constructive activities that can literally save 
their lives.

Another major concern is that detectable traces of marijuana -- not enough 
to produce intoxication but enough to trigger a positive test -- can linger 
in the body for 30 days, while drugs like heroin, cocaine and 
methamphetamine are cleared so quickly that tests rarely pick them up.

So testing gives students a powerful incentive to switch from marijuana to 
drugs that are far more addictive and lethal.

Parents who want to protect their children should "just say no" to random 
drug testing.

(EDITOR'S NOTE: Bruce Mirken is director of communications for the 
Marijuana Policy Project.)
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