Schools Lose a Fine Anti-Drug Program!

Schools Lose a Fine Anti-Drug Program!
Posted by FoM on August 14, 1999 at 09:34:48 PT
By Renier Diaz De La Portilla
Source: Miami Herald
Miami-Dade County public schools' recent decision to abandon drug-testing is another prime example of bureaucracy run amok.
Deputy superintendent Henry Fraind says the program has ``no support from the community or internally.''(July 1 Dade drops drug testing of students). He is half right. From the beginning Miami-Dade administrators thwarted the program while my office was flooded with dozens of calls from governmental entities nationwide looking to emulate the program. While dozens of media outlets recognized the program as groundbreaking, retrograde local administrators hesitated to push the program and did little to inform parents.What better example of administrative foot-dragging than the 438 signed-up students who never were tested? The district never mailed consent forms to parents of high-school students since the program's inception in January 1998. Principals who disagreed with the program did not bother to send forms home with students, while their superiors looked the other way. In fact, the 475 returned forms are testament to the demand for a program that had little administrative support.The Herald, on the other hand, remains intoxicated with failing traditional, preventive drug-education programs (editorials Drug test debacle and Drug test follies II). Even the best education programs fail to significantly curtail use. The Rand Institute's recently released study An Ounce of Prevention, a Pound of Uncertainty, concludes that in the most realistic estimate of prevention's effectiveness, ``it would take a nationwide model program six years to achieve a 1-percent reduction in the number of past-year cocaine users. It would take 40 years to see a 7.5 percent reduction.''Neither drug testing nor drug education is the panacea that will extirpate drug use. As aptly stated by the Rand study, the drug-use epidemic is more akin to heart disease than smallpox. Heart disease will never be eradicated as was smallpox; it can only be contained. Similarly, drug use will never be eradicated. Schools need as many legally acceptable tools as possible to contain this American scourge. My drug-testing proposal in its original incarnation pushed the legal envelope, but it was constitutional. Drug-threatened children need constructive efforts to improve Miami-Dade's drug-prevention programs. If the county is hell-bent on killing drug testing, so be it, but board members should not miss this opportunity to have honest discourse on the ineffectiveness of current traditional preventive efforts. RENIER DIAZ DE LA PORTILLAFormer School Board MemberMiamiPublished Saturday, August 14, 1999Copyright 1999 Miami Herald Related Article:Effectiveness of Schools Drug Program Questioned-8/10/99
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on August 14, 1999 at 17:14:12 PT:
Good For Them!
We need to commend them on their stance on drug testing. We must stop punishing people before they do anything wrong. The laws are so wrong. If we don't meet up to a standard they set, they want to lock us up and they don't have any idea about the people on this side of the issue. They need to understand that there isn't one activist that I have met that believes drugs are without harm. The problem is the drug war causes much more damage then drug use. Lindesmith said that a long time ago and it is so true.Rainbow keep up the good work and Dankhank I put your page on my Activist Page. Good Job!Peace, FoM!
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Comment #2 posted by Dankhank on August 14, 1999 at 16:32:57 PT:
Drug Testing is an invasion of a persons body and privacy. It should NEVER be tolerated for any reason. Use performance as an indicator of a person's worth, NOT what he/she may have smoked/snorted ... whatever. Good for Dade County and students there ...
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Comment #1 posted by Rainbow on August 14, 1999 at 15:24:55 PT:
Lost but gained
Right they lost a program but gained a freedom. The people of Miami should be celebrating.I am alert to make sure my kids do not loose a freedom and their privacy.Rainbow
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