Pubdate: Tue, 13 Jul 2010
Source: Herald-Dispatch, The (Huntington, WV)
Copyright: 2010 Robert Sharpe
Author: Robert Sharpe


The Cabell County Board of Education needs to educate itself on the
downside of student drug testing. 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 participation in extracurricular programs.

Drug testing may also compel marijuana users to switch to more
dangerous prescription narcotics to avoid testing positive. This is
one of the reasons the American Academy of Pediatrics opposes student
drug testing.

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

More dangerous synthetic drugs like methamphetamine and prescription
narcotics are water-soluble and exit the body quickly. If you think
students don't know this, think again. Anyone capable of running an
Internet search can find out how to thwart a drug test.

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

Common Sense for Drug Policy

Washington, D.C.
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