Pubdate: Mon, 11 Sep 2006
Source: Asbury Park Press (NJ)
Copyright: 2006 Asbury Park Press
Author: Robert Sharpe
Bookmark: (Drug Test)
Bookmark: (Youth)


The Middletown Board of Education needs to educate itself on the
limitations of student drug testing. ("Teens' use of alcohol, drugs is
prevalent; Middletown may test kids," Aug. 29.)

Student involvement in after-school activities such as 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 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 metabolites are fat-soluble and can linger for
days. More dangerous synthetic drugs like methamphetamine are
water-soluble and exit the body quickly. If you think drug users don't
know this, think again. Anyone capable of running an Internet search
can find out how to thwart a drug test.

Drug testing profiteers do not readily volunteer this information, for
obvious reasons. 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,

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