cannabisnews.com: Drug Testing Goes to High School!





Drug Testing Goes to High School!
Posted by FoM on August 20, 1999 at 12:29:27 PT
By Ken Sickenger, Journal Staff Writer
Source: ABQ Journal
Drug testing gradually has become an accepted part of the landscape in professional and collegiate athletics. 
With little notice, such screenings are cropping up in high school sports around the country, and they could be statewide policy in New Mexico soon. "I'd project that within three years we'll probably go to some sort of random statewide testing," New Mexico Activities Association executive director Dan Salzwedel said. "We've talked about it in the past, but we need to be able to equip the process with the tools to do it right." New Mexico would not be the first state to enact a statewide drug-testing policy for high school athletes. At least two others already require students to agree to drug testing as a prerequisite for athletic participation. Drug testing for athletes has been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court because of potential safety risks associated with athletes using drugs. Most policies test for narcotics such as marijuana and cocaine, and not for steroids or alcohol. Few New Mexico school districts have raced to adopt a drug-testing policy -- with one notable exception. For the third straight year, all prep athletes in Ruidoso are being required to be tested. Two other districts, Lordsburg and Los Alamos, are considering policies for at least random tests. For some, like Albuquerque, costs have been prohibitive. "We've looked into it three or four times," says Buddy Robertson, athletic specialist for Albuquerque Public Schools. "But until the cost comes down to where the district can afford it, we're not going to do it." Louisiana is implementing a statewide policy this school year that requires all high school athletes and their parents to sign a contract agreeing to drug testing. "Some of our schools have more sophisticated systems than others, but every school must have a program, and every athlete must sign a contract to be eligible," said Lynn Judice, executive assistant to the commissioner for Louisiana's High School Athletic Association. "If the association or the school wants to test an athlete, they can be tested." The Minnesota State High School League has a similar policy. Salzwedel said statewide drug testing in New Mexico likely would be modeled on the NCAA's system, which subjects athletes to random tests at championship meets, tournaments and bowl games. For the time being, individual school districts will continue to determine if, and how often, athletes are tested. "Deterrence and safety were the main reasons we implemented it," Ruidoso superintendent Mike Gladden said. "We wanted to be proactive and give athletes an excuse to say 'No.' "Peer pressure can be pretty tough on teen-agers, and this policy gives athletes something to fall back on." Ruidoso's drug-testing policy is included in its athletic code. Students and their parents must sign it before students can participate in athletics. "We've questioned the students each year to see if this is something they feel we should continue," Gladden said. "So far, they've been in favor of it." The policy requires all athletes to be tested before each athletic season. Additional random testing is done during the season, with 15 percent of all athletes being drawn. Ruidoso athletic director and football coach Les Carter said he could "count on one hand" the number of athletes who have failed drug tests during the program's first two years. Lordsburg assistant superintendent Vance Lee said he was working on a proposal for his school board that would implement random testing. Los Alamos superintendent Jim Anderson said his school board has an interest in developing a policy, but added, "We're only in the beginning stages." The reaction at other districts varies. "We just haven't seen that drug use is a serious enough problem to take a such a step," Las Cruces Public Schools athletic director Bump Elliott said. Jerry Diehl, assistant director of the National Federation of High School Associations, says drug testing of high school athletes remains an exception in most states. "I think the majority of schools are still opting to spend their money on prevention rather than trying to catch someone using drugs," Diehl said. "As the cost of testing goes down, though, that may change." Costs appear to be dropping -- particularly for schools willing to collect samples on-site. In Lordsburg, Lee said the cost of an individual test would be $15 if the sample were collected on site and sent to a lab for testing. It costs $55 if conducted by medical personnel, he said. Ruidoso's tests, with samples collected at the school and sent to a lab, cost about $13 apiece, Gladden said. Local emergency medical services personnel voluntarily monitor the testing, although athletes are not required to give samples in the presence of a witness to avoid privacy issues, Gladden said. "The majority of our testing is paid for with federal money from the Drug-Free Schools Program," Gladden said. "It hasn't been an overwhelming expense to us at all." He admits the system has flaws. It detects five substances, including commonly used drugs like marijuana, cocaine and amphetamines. However, testing for alcohol is impractical due to the short time it remains in the system, while steroids would require a separate and expensive testing process. Not all testing policies are successful. Silver City Schools recently abandoned a 3-year-old system of testing athletes whenever "individualized suspicion" of drug use existed. "We felt is was an unnecessary cost to the district, so we're out of the drug-testing business," said Frank Quarrell, assistant superintendent of learning services. Silver City athletes will now be suspended when reasonable suspicion exists, Quarrell said, and parents will be allowed to use drug testing as a means of appeal. Salzwedel said a necessary appeals process has been one of the sticking points in implementing statewide random testing. A counseling program for athletes who fail drug tests also must be considered, he said. "If and when we adopt a policy, we want it to be a true deterrent and be cost effective," he said. "At present we haven't discovered a policy that meets those parameters." Pubdate: August 20, 1999Copyright  1997, 1998, 1999 Albuquerque JournalACLU Sues OK School District Over Student Testing-8/20/99http://www.cannabisnews.com/news/thread2561.shtml
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Comment #10 posted by John Moore on September 28, 2001 at 12:41:17 PT:
high school drug testing
That's what I'm talking about. Who the HELL do they think they are.  peace
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #9 posted by John Moore on September 28, 2001 at 12:36:59 PT:
high school drug testing
I think it's none of the schools buiness what we do outside 
of school.This is just another way to waste our tax dollars! 
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #8 posted by kathryn on June 05, 2001 at 22:49:35 PT
drug testing
I believe that athletes are school leaders and therefore should be willing to show everyone that they are clean, they should be the ones to provide a good example.
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #7 posted by observer on May 13, 2001 at 08:15:24 PT
Hey: Why Stop with Drugs, Let's Test for Chastity!
Krista,Why should people have to prove their innocence? The whole thing doesn't make sense, except from the point of view of "sending the message" that unquestioning obedience is demanded of all subjects of the state. You can't measure if someone is tired, is about to have an epileptic seizure, etc. You probably pass half a dozen plants on the way to school, that are not illegal to comume, that could impair you far worse than cannabis (for example), and yet would never show up on the drug tests. If you admit that principle that people should continually have to prove their innocence to goverment (by pee tests), why not premit the nice police to have a key to your house -- after all if you you have a house or apartment...you should be drug and alcohol free, (not to mention free of bombs and illegal guns!) so what's the worry of random police searches? But why stop there? You must know it is illegal for a young woman to engage in sexual intercourse outside of marriage. Even more so for minors. So, if you are an athlete...you should be pure and chaste -- sex-free, so what's the worry of a random gynecological examination before sports events, to insure only virgins are able to participate, thus protecting the pure womanhood of America from deadly AIDS and other STDs not to mention out-of-wedlock pregnancy?
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #6 posted by krista on May 13, 2001 at 07:31:41 PT:
drug testing athletes
hello, i am a three varsity sport athlete and have been for 3 years. i feel that random drug testing is completely appropriate. i would rather be randomly drug testing rather than following our schools code of conduct which states we are guilty by association. if you are an athlete...you should be drug and alcohol free, so whats the worry of random drug testing. 
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #5 posted by tOny on April 30, 2001 at 09:46:48 PT:
stunned
high, as you know my name is tony. my friends called me stony. all i want to say is that who has the right to test us? everyone knows that teachers smoke up too. its just not right to test the student and not the teacher. Also i have to say what goes on at school and at home is two different story, so stay out of our business.   thank you so very much,            StOny
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #4 posted by jacko on April 11, 2001 at 11:19:41 PT:
weed
 weed, it is good
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #3 posted by potman on February 21, 2001 at 07:05:23 PT:
canabus
 Canabus helps over active people stay calm and consintrat thats why you never hear about people against stoned drivers.
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #2 posted by crystal on February 04, 2001 at 17:08:36 PT
drug testing
i dont think that you should be tested for drugs cause lots of things can show up on these tests like if your pregnant or what kind of medication your taking. its your right to privacy.
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #1 posted by kelly on October 21, 2000 at 12:30:56 PT
drug testing
i think that if we allow drug testing it will help send the message that people and schools are serious about drugs and the athletes using them. i'm an athlete and i run XC, track, and indoor track, and i would take a drug test to prove that i'm drug free and that my talent is all natural and not some affect of a steriod!!!!! 
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