Random Drug Testing Won’t Save the Children From Heroin

Here’s drug czar John Walters shamelessly using a young woman’s death as an opportunity to plug student drug testing:

Heroin killed 19-year-old Alicia Lannes, and her parents say she got the drug from a boyfriend.  Experts say that's how most young kids get introduced to drugs: by friends or relatives.

While teen drug use is declining, Walters says a Fairfax County heroin ring busted in connection with Lannes' death proves it's still a problem.  He supports a federal program used in more than 4,000 schools to randomly drug test students.

"There's no question in my mind had this young woman been in a school, middle school or high school with random testing," said Walters, "She would not be dead today." [FOX DC]

Walters sounds supremely confident, as usual, yet the reality is that random drug testing is often impotent when it comes to discovering heroin use. Student drug testing programs typically rely on urine tests, which can only detect heroin for 3-4 days after use. Only marijuana -- which stays in your system for up to a month – can be effectively detected this way. Thus, random testing actually incentivizes students to experiment with more dangerous drugs like heroin that increase your chances of passing a drug test.

And thanks to the complete failure of the drug war, heroin is stronger today than ever before:

The drug enforcement agency says the purity of heroin found in Virginia is typically higher than usual—making it more deadly.

"They tend not to know how to gauge the strength and they usually take more than they need to," said Patrick McConnel, who oversees Treatment for Youth Services Administration Alcohol and Drug Services.

There are no easy answers here, to be sure, and I don’t claim any monopoly on the solutions to youth drug abuse. But I guarantee you that the problem isn’t our failure to collect more urine from young people. As long as the most dangerous substances continue to be manufactured, distributed, and controlled by criminals, the face of our drug problem will remain the same.
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Urine testing usually doesn't detect pot past 10 days

Excerpt from the following link:

The length of time cannabis metabolites may be detected, on average, on a standard urine screen is typically no longer than ten days for chronic users and between 3-4 days for infrequent users, according to a literature review published in the current issue of the journal Drug Court Review.

Of course, all the companies with a commercial interest in drug testing, or cheating tests, will disregard this.

Compound the revised detection times with the fact that most schools only pick a small percentage of students from the pool to be tested and you can see why the largest government study on drug testing found no significant difference in drug use in schools with drug testing compared to schools without it.

John Walters really should be ashamed for giving parents a false sense of security. If an overprotective parent really wants drug testing, they should administer themselves, because the schools are not with their children over the weekend, all those holidays and long breaks from school.

Simply Wrong

It must be nice to live in a world without facts.

Any substance abuse professional will tell you that two items are required to mitigate drug abuse: deterrence and detection.

Both are impossible with a combination of drug testing, education, and support.

Circular Strategies—Deadly Results

The heroin related death of the young woman is an all too common tragedy that’s been prearranged from the outset.

First the Feds reject harm reduction because they want to make the world’s drug playground as nasty and dangerous as possible for the little kiddies who play there as a means of dissuading adults from using recreational drugs.  Once the Feds’ goal is achieved in the persona of a real victim, they capitalize on the tragedy they’ve created by posing it as a symbol to promote more of the very same agenda that initially resulted in that person becoming a victim.  Not only is the government’s reasoning irrational, it’s sick.

So do victims count in this circular strategy, or is this just some way of keeping score?  Perhaps the loss of life created by the bureaucratic game rules in the drug war is as meaningless to the government as Dick Cheney shooting a few individual birds to scare away the flock?

Fortunately, tyranny never lasts.  In the not-too-distant future, drug warriors will be made to face the parents of the many naïve and reckless children who made fatal mistakes with certain drugs and explain to these parents why their son or their daughter had to be the one to die to feed the drug war’s ideological machine.  I look forward to hearing their explanations.


can you spell E-D-U-C-A-T-I-O-N?

And who's responsible for the dubious quality and purity of heroin? Duh!

More likely, though, it was ignorance and fear, not heroin, that killed this girl. It was the lack of honest education about the real-life dangers of drug use -- most heroin overdoses are, in reality, a result of mixing it with other drugs, most commonly alcohol and/or prescription opiates -- added to the fear of prosecution, which prevents people from seeking medical attention.

America's drug policy. Lies, ignorance, violence and fear. Gotta love it.

Upping the dosage

I never really thought of it that way before, but you are correct. Many of the "hard core" drugs stay in your system for very short periods of time.

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