Monday, October 16, 2006

Survey says: Stop testing us

High School junior Dylan Currie was recently given a "Golden Pen Award" by The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette for writing a letter to the editor slamming the use of anonymous surveys to justify random student drug testing.

Dylan writes:
In middle and high school, the anonymous drug surveys given to students are seen as a joke. Not only do kids say they have done drugs that they have not heard of, they fill in the corresponding bubble saying they used cocaine more than 50 times a week as a sixth-grader. Until now, these drug surveys have shown ridiculous numbers of drug users in the district resulting from the anonymity of the test.

After the random drug testing was implemented, however, everything changed. Middle and high school students began to see that these surveys, while still anonymous, were finally being used for something: numbers to verify the need for drug testing.

Drug testing is not the Holy Grail to preventing drug use. It has actually done very little to stop drug use in the district (only 1.9 percent of tested students tested positive). The huge decline in drug and alcohol use in these surveys can be attributed to the clever students seeing that if they are honest, federal grants will not continue to be poured into the district for drug testing and the program will not be renewed by the school board at the end of the 2008-09 school year.

If Dylan is right, and he very well may be, students are now answering truthfully about their drug use, in hopes that the administrators reading the surveys will stop collecting their urine for testing.

I've contacted Dylan about getting involved with SSDP at his school, which ironically sits in the district represented by Rep. Mark Souder, the most ardent drug warrior in Congress. I've got my fingers crossed for a new SSDP chapter that can follow Souder around the district and ask him about his ridiculous drug policy positions every time he makes a public appearance.

Thanks for the tip, Pete.


Jonathan Perri said...

I was just about to post that Tom. You sneaky monkey.
Hopefully Dylan joins SSDP!

800 pound gorilla said...

I have a suggestion in my book [a suggested activity]. Just ask a public official in a public setting the following question: "give me one good reason for continuation of current drug policy - without lying. Then you turn to the audience and warn them that you will stand up every time that official lies or deliberately misleads the audience. If you can make copies of your question and pass it out to the audience - anticipating not being given an opportunity for confrontation - find a highly visible seat and do nothing except stand every time Souder pretends he supports education, public safety, crime victims or public safety. In the copies make sure to let the audience know that Souder refuses to debate critics of policy and they have to contact you if they want answers. If you've read my blog you should be able to shutout any debater on drug policy - assuming that the host hasn't drastically changed the topic away from drug policy [see Fox faux debate earlier posted].

Jimi Devine said...

Thats really cool, I hope this dude keeps it up.