(Submitted to the Farwell, TX/Texico, NM State Line Tribune)
Drug abuse is dumb. I understand why people want programs and strategies they believe would lower the risk of someone abusing drugs. However, very often the things they grasp at are counterproductive and actually increase the risk. They are feel-good, knee-jerk reactions based on ideology, not grounded in reality.
Study after study indicates that one of the biggest risk factors involved in drug abuse and addiction is a lack of quality social connections.
One of the primary justifications for the athletic programs in government schools is that it creates camaraderie between the kids; the very type of social connection which would decrease the likelihood of drug abuse becoming a problem. If this is the case, shouldn't you be encouraging at-risk kids to get involved, rather than erecting barriers which will scare them away before they even give it a try? Programs which will end up causing greater isolation?
I understand when people pursue a chosen path in order to stay true to their ideology, but when that ideology is standing firm against science, reason, ethics, and morality they should reconsider their stance.
When a mistake has been made, publicly, it takes a big person to admit it and change course, rather than batten down the hatches and proceed onto the reef as stubborn people generally do. Correcting a mistake is the right thing to do. It takes bravery. It may cause embarrassment. But it needs to be done. Now.
The Farwell Independent Schools' "random drug testing program" is just such a mistake, and needs to be abandoned before it creates more of what the school administration and community say they want to prevent. If the school goes through with it anyway, you will then know where they stand, and why.