Since marijuana remains detectable for as long as a month (while
alcohol, heroin and cocaine are detectable for only a day or
two1), testing will encourage students and workers
to switch to more dangerous drugs. Can you imagine anything
The most effective method of preventing adolescent drug use is
keeping youths active and learning after school when many parents
are working and kids are not supervised.2 Why would
we want to put up barriers to kids participating in after-school
The most effective schools put in place a student assistance program
that allows youngsters to anonymously seek or be referred to
counseling if they show signs of problems. Shouldn't
students perceive school administrators as their mentors rather
than an extention of the police?
Based on the 9% of schools that have some form of drug
testing, the National Research Council reports:
"There is no scientific evidence regarding the effects of
these programs, either on drug use or on the learning
One school system rejected testing when it found it would cost
$8 million annually to test the 75,000 athletes at its
171 high schools.4 That's $46,000
per high school . . . $106 per student tested.
Let's Keep Our Kids Busy,
Monitor Their Performance
Hawks and Chiang, "Examples of Specific Drug Assays, Urine
Testing for Drugs of Abuse," Research Monograph No. 73
(1986); McBay, "Interpretation of Blood and Urine
Cannabinoid Concentrations," 33 J. Forensic Sci 875-83
(1988); Ambre, J. et al., "Urinary Excretion
of Cocaine Benzoylecgonine and Ecgonine Methyl Ester in Human,"
J. Analytical Toxicology (1988); Ellis et al.,
"Excretion Patterns of Cannabinoid Metabolites After Last
Use in a Group of Chronic Users," 38 Clinical Pharmacology
& Therapeutics," 572-78 (1985).
Carmona, Maria and Kathryn Stewart, "A Review of Alternative
Activities and Alternative Programs in Youth-Oriented
Prevention," CSAP Technical Report No. 13, Washington, DC:
Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, Substance Abuse and Mental
Health Administration, Dept. of Health and Human Services, 1996;
Tierney, Joseph P., Jean Baldwin Grossman, and Nancy L. Resch,
"Making a Difference: An Impact Study of Big
Brothers/Big Sisters," Philadelphia, PA:
Public/Private Ventures, November 1995; Zill, N., C.
Nord & L. Loomis, "Adolescent Time Use, Risky Behavior,
and Outcomes," 1995.
National Research Council, "Informing America's
Policy on Illegal Drugs" 2001, p. 203.
Nancy Trejos and Alan Goldenbach, "Schools Uneasy on Random
Drug Tests: Area Students, Parents Cite Privacy Concerns
After High Court Ruling; Others Point to Costs,"
Washington Post, June 28, 2002, p. B1.