Canvassing for Opinion - aka "Blairs Brain on Cannabis"

IMHO prohibition sentiment requires inherent addiction to status quo, an incapacity to visualise beyond the here and now and a desperate desire to know others might feel the same... Reform is not revolutionary, rather it is evolutionary. Having survived banging your head against a brick wall the evolutionist relishes having stopped. / Blair

Monday, May 29, 2006

Hard-line drug measures inspire 'cat-and-mice' game

29 May 2006

Sniffer dogs in schools and random drug tests may encourage rather
than limit students' illegal substance use, says a visiting American
drug expert.

Emeritus Professor Rodney Skager, of California University, spoke at a conference tackling the issue of youth drug use in Australia last

Skager, who will visit New Zealand this week, said initiatives such as
random drug testing and the use of sniffer dogs to detect illegal
substances treated young people as criminals and encouraged evasive behaviour.

Skager said random drug tests also encouraged young people to take
drugs that were more easily passed through the system, such as
methamphetamines, which were undetectable after a few days, compared with cannabis, which stayed in the body much longer.

"It creates a cat-and-mice ideology where young people try to find
ways to beat the system," Skager said.

In New Zealand, the board of trustees or principal of individual
schools decided how to deal with drug issues, but some educators are in favour of more initiatives to root out drug users.

Skager said an American study that compared drug-taking between
schools that used random drugs tests and those that did not, found no difference.

In the US, the response to students caught with drugs was to ban them from activities such as sports teams or kick them out of school, which alienated them from school counsellors.

A more positive approach would be to involve these students in counselling, in-school support groups or referral to specialist help,he said.

Ministry of Education spokesman Vince Cholewa said if a board or principal wanted to get a student to submit to a drug test, they wouldhave to comply with the Human Rights Act.

The latest ministry statistics, from 2004, showed more than 1200 primary or secondary pupils were suspended for drug-related issues.
This was a drop from the previous two years, when between 1300 and 1400 students were suspended.

Blair Anderson
ph (643) 389 4065
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