Pubdate: Tue, 10 Oct 2006
Source: St. Petersburg Times (FL)
Copyright: 2006 St. Petersburg Times
Note: Published in Citrus County Opinion section
Author: Christopher Mulligan
Bookmark: (Drug Test)
Bookmark: (Youth)


Re: When a positive is a negative, Oct. 2 Citrus Times.

The Citrus County School Board should think twice before it institutes
random student drug testing.

While seemingly based on good intentions, drug testing young people
can oftentimes have counterproductive results.

The only federally commissioned review examining the effectiveness of
student drug testing programs found the policy to have no discernible
impact on youth drug use. Districts that tested students had no lower
rates of use than districts that did not.

Many young people, rather than submit to invasive and humiliating drug
screenings, will simply choose not to play sports. Extracurricular
activities have been shown to be a leading contributor to keeping kids
off drugs, so the School Board should be thinking of creative ways to
create more diversions for young people in Citrus, instead of trying
to take them away from kids who have messed up.

Citrus County is part of the 5th Congressional District of Florida,
literally the "oldest" district in the country. More Social Security
checks are sent to the 5th than any other place in America.

Outside of sports, there are few opportunities for young people in
Citrus to avoid drugs. Keeping kids who have used drugs out of sports
will only exacerbate the county's already intimidating drug problem.


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