Pubdate: Wed, 18 May 2005
Source: Clarion-Ledger, The (MS)
Copyright: 2005 The Clarion-Ledger
Author: Stephen Heath


As a father of two high school teenagers, I agree with letter writer
Todd Gatlin ("Don't tie any drug tests to activities," April 21).
Suggestions that we should force urine testing of our teenagers
without cause should be opposed by all parents who view such practices
with disdain.

It's clear most parents object to the idea of coercing such bodily
fluid samples from their teenagers. Only 19 percent of public schools
have drug-testing policies and just a third of those - about 6 percent
of all schools - do such "random" testing without probable cause.

The reason? Quite simply, random testing of students' urine has no
measurable effect on illicit drug use by the student populations
tested. University of Michigan researchers proved that.

More important, demanding urine samples without cause essentially
tells our drug-free teenagers that their word cannot be trusted.

Is this the kind of relationship that we as parents want to promote
between ourselves, school administrators and our kids?

Based on the 94 percent of schools that are rejecting random urine
testing of students, it's clear that the answer most parents respond
with is a firm "No."

University of Michigan research, published in the Journal of School
Health, culled data from surveys of students in 722 secondary schools
from 1998 to 2001, and students' drug use data in testing schools and
nontesting schools were "virtually identical."36 percent of 12th-grade
students in nontesting schools said they had used marijuana in the 12
months before the survey. In testing schools, 37 percent said they

Stephen Heath Public relations director

Drug Policy Forum of Florida

Clearwater, Fla.
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