Pubdate: Thu, 29 Jun 2006
Source: Asheville Citizen-Times (NC)
Copyright: 2006 Asheville Citizen-Times
Author: Robert Sharpe
Bookmark: (Cannabis)
Bookmark: (Drug Test)
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)
Bookmark: (Youth)


Dave Russell's column, "Haywood drug-testing program has the wrong 
students in its sights," (AC-T, June 21), was right on target. 
Student involvement in after-school activities 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

Washington, D.C.

Sharpe is a policy analyst for Common Sense for Drug Policy
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