Pubdate: Thu, 10 Mar 2005
Source: Greensboro News & Record (NC)
Copyright: 2005 Greensboro News & Record, Inc.
Author: Robert Sharpe
Bookmark: (Drug Test)
Bookmark: (Youth)


Regarding your editorial on testing students for drugs (March 5):

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

Despite the short-lived high it creates, 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 OxyContin on Friday night 
likely will test clean on Monday.

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,  Washington, The writer is a policy analyst, Common Sense 
for Drug Policy.
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