Friday, February 29, 2008

Drug Policy Delayed Until Next School Year

The Gadsden Times is reporting that education officials have decided to delay implementation of a student drug testing program until next school year.

Bob Russell, Gadsden City Schools superintendent, says the extension is the result of concern parents expressed Monday.

“We do not plan to implement this policy this year,” Russell said. “We plan to dissect every aspect of the policy to make sure that is something that will complement the judgment of school board officials decisions, and take full action during the next school year.”

“We have decided to slow down the process so that every student, parent and school staff member affected by this policy have an opportunity to be educated about every aspect of this policy.”

And while they are waiting I plan to do a little educating of my own. I submitted the following LTE a few days ago when this story broke. To date it has not been printed. Luckily there are forums availableto get the word out.

I submit the following in hopes of providing parents and educators with good, scientific-based reasons to 'Just say NO to student drug testing".

Oregon Health & Science University researchers just concluded a two-year study called SATURN (Student Athlete Testing Using Random Notification).

This is the first-ever prospective, randomized clinical trial to measure the deterrent effects of drug and alcohol testing among high school athletes. They report that random drug and alcohol testing does not reliably keep student-athletes from using. They also found that drug testing increases some risk factors for future substance use. These findings are published in the November issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health, the journal of the Society for Adolescent Medicine.

Student drug testing places kids in greater danger for a variety of reasons. Marijuana is the substance most commonly used by youth and is the safest of all substances, both licit and illicit. Students who might engage in a little youthful indiscretion by smoking pot once in a while, might move to harder drugs like meth and prescription narcotics because they are out of your system in 72 hours, whereas the broken down metabolites of marijuana, while causing no harm, are detectable in the human body for up to 45 days. Kids are also known to do crazy things like drink bleach in hopes of masking drugs in their system. That is extremely dangerous.

Parents and educators should also be aware that the following organizations oppose randomly drug testing students: National Education Association, the Association for Addiction Professionals, the American Public Health Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Association of Social Workers, and the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence.

If that many professionals say NO to student drug testing, studies show it doesn't work and might even place kids in greater danger then why do we continue to see schools push for these invasive and dehumanizing programs for our kids?

Respectfully Submitted,
Loretta Nall
Alexander City

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