Pubdate: Sat, 21 Apr 2007
Source: Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Copyright: 2007 The Daily Herald Company
Author: Dan Linn


In response to the article, "Most Antioch high school board candidates
want drug testing expanded," I would like to comment that such a
policy of drug testing all students would not only be expensive and
ineffective, but could also lead to more drug use.

Drug testing is not effective because it often severs the very
relationships between adults and students that are effective at
curbing drug use.

Last month, the American Association of Pediatrics released its
opposition to random drug testing in its monthly journal.

Parents and educators should turn to Safety First: A Reality-Based
Approach to Teens and Drugs ( when trying to prevent teen
drug use. An open and honest discussion between adults and teens about the
potential harms of drugs and the likelihood that teens will come into a
situation where drugs will be offered to them, without the teens being
afraid of a harsh punishment is crucial.

Safety is at the heart of the issue when dealing with teens and drugs;
a preventive measure that simply makes the consequences harsher and
more likely has not been effective and will continue not to be effective.

Allowing teens to discuss drugs among their peers under the
supervision of an adult is a better solution than drug testing. Plus,
if a teen does not join an extracurricular activity for fear of
failing a drug test, how does that prevent the teen from using drugs
in the future?

If the student were allowed into the extracurricular activity without
a drug test, then maybe his or her free time after school would be
taken up in a productive activity as opposed to being a prime time for
drug use.

All in all, drug testing will not stop drug use among students at any
high school, but an honest approach to drugs by adults can at least
focus on the most important aspect and that is safety.

Dan Linn

Executive Director

Illinois NORML

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