Pubdate: Thu, 21 Apr 2005
Source: Clarion-Ledger, The (MS)
Copyright: 2005 The Clarion-Ledger
Author: Robert Sharpe


I respectfully disagree with your April 14 editorial ("Drug screening:
School gives students a choice," April 14).

Student involvement in after-school activities like sports has been
shown to reduce drug use. Activities 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

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.

Marijuana's organic metabolite are fat-soluble and can linger for
days. More dangerous synthetic drugs are water-soluble and exit the
body quickly. Those who think students don't know this should think

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 each year
than all illegal drugs combined. Instead of wasting money on
counterproductive drug tests, schools should invest in reality-based
drug education.

Robert Sharpe

Policy analyst Common Sense for Drug Policy

Washington, D.C.
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