Pubdate: Sat, 16 Mar 2002
Source: Hutchinson News, The (KS)
Copyright: 2002 The Hutchinson News
Author: Robert Sharpe
Bookmark: (Drug Testing)


Any parents considering taking advantage of the Reno County district 
attorney's offer of free drug-testing kits would be wise to do a little 
research on the subject. The importance of parental involvement in reducing 
drug use cannot be overstated, but forcing kids to submit to drug tests may 
do more harm than good. Jeopardizing trust is by no means the only concern.

Drug testing 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 
human body long enough to make urinalysis a deterrent.

Marijuana's organic metabolites are fat-soluble and can linger for weeks.

Harder drugs like meth and OxyContin are water-soluble and exit the body 
within a few days.

If you think kids 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 is in part a result of drug testing.

A teen-ager who takes ecstasy on Friday night will likely test clean on 
Monday morning. Drug-testing profiteers do not readily volunteer this 
information, for obvious reasons. 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 lives every 
year than all illegal drugs combined.

Alcohol is legal, but it's still the No. 1 drug problem.

Reality-based drug education will do more to protect children from 
unhealthy choices than counterproductive drug tests.


Program officer,

Drug Policy Alliance, Washington, D.C.
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