Wrong ruling on drug tests

Do random drug and alcohol tests really infringe an athletes rights?

  • Monday, June 2, 2008 4:03pm
  • Sports

Do random drug and alcohol tests really infringe an athletes rights?

Strike another one down for lack of common sense.

Last week, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled that high schools in our state cannot randomly drug test student athletes.

Other states allow this, but our court ruled that the tests would violate the state constitution.

The case stems from a 1999 situation involving students from the Wahkiakum School District in Southwest Washington. Those athletes sued the school district, upset that they were requiring students to submit to the tests to participate in sports.

Let’s first get facts straight that we can all agree on. Consuming alcohol under the age of 21 in Washington state is against the law. Using illicit drugs in Washington state is against the law.

Now that we agree on what’s illegal, we can all hopefully agree that drug and alcohol abuse is a problem with some young people in our state.

So why all the bellyaching?

I don’t believe passing a drug and alcohol test should be a condition required of students to participate in sports, but I have no problem with random tests during the season. Lest we forget, passing a drug test is often a requirement of employment. Why should sports be any different?

I just don’t see the negatives.

Most high schools have some sort of “Athletic Honor Code” that students are expected to abide by. These often state the obvious – obey the law, stay away from drugs and alcohol. It’s effectiveness is in the writing.

I see it as just another reason for kids to avoid the bad stuff. I’ve heard than more than one instance in our community of kids getting kicked off teams after indiscretions. Heck, I’ve been a part of more than one team where that’s happened.

Here’s the thing about kids; they can hide stuff. Crazy, I know. Think back to when you were growing up – surely you did things your parents never found out about. With a random test, kids who may have drug or alcohol abuse problems can get the help they need.

I’ve always thought sports to be a wonderful outlet for kids, a way to do something positive. If a random test helps a kid stay on the straight and narrow, I’m all for it.

Besides, what have we got to lose? Keeping kids out of trouble? Helping those that might need it?

Maybe we should give the State Supreme Court a drug test.


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