Pubdate: Sat, 26 Jul 2008
Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune (FL)
Copyright: 2008 Sarasota Herald-Tribune
Author: Robert Sharpe


The Manatee County School Board needs to educate itself on the
downside of student drug testing.

Coach Stacey Horton of Braden River High's cheerleading squad notes
that prescription drug abuse is a bigger problem than marijuana.
Student drug testing will compound the problem.

Marijuana's organic metabolites are fat-soluble and can linger for
days. More dangerous synthetic drugs are water-soluble and exit the
body quickly. If you think students don't know this, think again.

Anyone capable of an Internet search can find out how to thwart a drug
test. This is one of the many reasons the American Academy of
Pediatrics opposes student drug testing. Simply put, drug tests create
incentives for marijuana users to switch to harder drugs to avoid
testing positive.

Drug tests are essentially marijuana tests, part of a larger culture
war that should have ended with the Vietnam War. Drug warriors don't
have a problem with sacrificing children at the altar of this
senseless culture war, but Manatee parents should. As federal funding
for student drug testing has increased, prescription drug overdose
deaths have skyrocketed.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, prescription drug
overdose is now second only to motor vehicle accidents as a cause of
unintentional death. The phrase "if it saves one life" has been used
to justify all manner of privacy intrusions. Eliminating urinalysis in
schools has the potential to save thousands of lives.

Robert Sharpe Policy Analyst, Common Sense for Drug Policy

Washington, D.C.
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