Pubdate: Thu, 29 Mar 2007
Source: Northern Express (MI)
Copyright: 2007 Northern Express
Author: Robert Sharpe


The Petoskey School Board needs to educate itself on the limitations
of student drug testing. The U.S. Supreme Court made a terrible
mistake when it created an exemption to the Constitution and ruled in
favor of allowing drug tests for students in extracurricular
activities. Student involvement in after-school activities like 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

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 and prescription pharmaceuticals 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 students' 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, MPA

Common Sense for Drug Policy

Washington, DC
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