Pubdate: Thu, 23 Dec 2004
Source: Hattiesburg American (MS)
Copyright: 2004 Hattiesburg American
Author: Tom Angell
Bookmark: (Drug Test)
Bookmark: (Youth)


Some Lamar County school officials seem to think that drug testing
gives students an excuse to avoid using drugs ("Drug testing planned
for Lamar schools," Dec. 20).

But randomly drug testing students who want to participate in
after-school activities only gives students an excuse to say "no" to
joining the activities in the first place.

School officials should welcome at-risk students into the positive
atmospheres offered by extracurriculars, especially during the
critical hours between the end of the school day and the time their
parents come home from work.

Instead, drug testing programs simply push them toward the streets,
where they're more likely to experiment with drugs.

Drug testing simply doesn't work.

The largest study ever conducted on the topic - funded by the National
Institute on Drug Abuse - found that schools that engage in the
practice have identical rates of drug use to schools that don't drug
test their students.

Lamar County School Board members should reconsider their drug testing
plan, which surely won't be the quick fix for drug problems they think
it'll be.

Tom Angell,

communications director, Students for Sensible Drug Policy,

Washington, D.C.
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