Pubdate: Sun, 05 Sep 2004
Source: Corvallis Gazette-Times (OR)
Copyright: 2004, Lee Enterprises
Author: Robert Sharpe


Regarding Theresa Novak's thoughtful Aug. 8 editorial, student
involvement in after-school activities like sports 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
extracurricular activities.

Drug testing may also compel marijuana users to switch to harder drugs
to avoid testing positive.

Despite a short-lived high, marijuana is the only illegal drug that
stays in the human body long enough to make urinalysis a deterrent. A
student who takes methamphetamine, ecstasy or heroin on Friday night
will likely test clean on Monday morning. If you think students don't
know this, think again.

Anyone capable of running an Internet search can find out how to
thwart a drug test. 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.

Robert Sharpe

Common Sense for Drug Policy

Washington, D.C.
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