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Published: Monday, 5/22/2006

Random test not way to cut drug use

Bowling Green educators and parents who are considering testing their student athletes for drug use need to find a better strategy.

According to comprehensive research by the ACLU and the Drug Policy Alliance (updated in January, 2006), no legitimate study has ever shown random testing to be effective in reducing drug use in schools.

Scientists from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Public Health Association, University of Michigan, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse have all found, through repeated large-scale studies, that drug testing changed neither attitudes nor behaviors among young people.

Instead, such programs waste schools' money and time; they are unreliable and legally risky; they drive students away from participation in extracurricular activities; they do not identify students who have serious drug problems; they lead to increased use of alcohol, which is less detectable by a drug test, and they undermine trust between teenagers and adults.

Random drug testing leaves students feeling humiliated and resentful - not an atmosphere conducive to respectful discussion and healthy relationships.

Research shows that participation in extracurricular activities is one of the best deterrents to substance abuse and other risky behaviors. Ironically, drug testing only discourages teens from taking part in these after-school teams and clubs.

MONTANA MILLER

Assistant Professor of Youth Culture

Bowling Green State University

Shame on Mayor Finkbeiner. Isn't this the mayor who promised us during his campaign that he was going to breathe new life into this city?

As I look around, and check the statistics, I see some of the highest unemployment numbers in the country, with Northwest Ohio especially hard hit.

Here's an idea: Let's create havoc with the chairman of a company who wants to come to our city and provide us with decent-paying full-time jobs including benefits. Genius! More than one person I know has been the victim of a company downsizing, or outright leaving this city.

He tried to block the Costco deal because, he said, "its lowest-paid, entry-level employees did not earn a living wage under city ordinance." Costco is considered among the top in wages and benefits. It is not hiring for "rocket scientists"; these are entry level.

Where do I sign up for the mayoral-education fund for my rocket-science degree?

I don't see that happening, so when a company comes in that is going to provide some long-term jobs, at $10.50 per hour (7 cents below the "living wage"), who on earth would oppose it?

Obviously not Toledo City Council. Kudos to the council for having the courage to override the mayor. Not to mention the benefit for Washington Local Schools. All I see is win-win. Where is the issue?

I suppose when the only full-time job you have ever held is mayor and you never had to do a hard day's physical work in your life, it is easy to say "pay 7 cents more an hour."

Walk a mile in my shoes. They are worn out, but at $420 per week, I could probably buy some new ones.

JODI MICHALAK

Clover Lane

A letter writer says that our President started a war between liberal democracy and theocratic dictatorship. Are we not headed for theocratic dictatorship ourselves?

THOMAS YOUNG

St. James Wood Boulevard

At the turn of the 21st century and the start of the current administration, one ounce of gold was worth approximately $251, one barrel of crude oil $28, and an ounce of gold bought 9.3 barrels of oil. On May 12, 2006, one ounce of gold was worth $721.50, one barrel of oil $73.32, and an ounce of gold bought 9.8 barrels of oil.

Compared to gold, the price of oil did not change. Two conclusions are inevitable: First, in the short span of five to six years during the current administration, the dollar has lost close to two thirds of its value when compared to gold, and second, oil companies prefer gold to paper.

VLADIMIR NIGROVIC

Letchworth Parkway

As a long-time observer and participant in the local political scene, it is with a great deal of disappointment that I read about the un-civil civil war between the so called A and B teams of the Lucas County Democratic Party.

The November general election will be the party's best chance in 16 years to win every statewide office in addition to the local elected positions.

I suggest that members of both teams collectively talk about the reason the state and national governments are in such a deplorable condition: i.e., the war, $3-a-gallon gas prices, monumental scandals, ethical lapses, good paying jobs shipped out of the country, etc. As a former finance chair under both A and B team chairmen, I know the victories that can be accomplished with a united party.

As for the civil war, I would like to echo whoever said those famous and immortal words and advice: "Fuhgetaboutit."

JERRY CHABLER

Sylvania

Rising gas prices are taking their toll on American families. With prices driving up to around $3 per gallon here as well as in the rest of the country, the need to boost fuel economy for all new cars, trucks, and SUVs has never been clearer. It is time to realize that the days of cheap gasoline are over. With oil becoming harder to find and demand growing around the world, the United States needs to become less reliant on oil. The Toledo area needs to become a leader in energy efficiency, renewables, and conservation.

The Toledo region needs to advocate for making our cars and trucks go farther on a gallon of gas, the biggest single step we can take to saving money at the gas pump, curbing global warming, and cutting America's oil dependence.

Two members of Congress, Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (R., N.Y.) and Rep. Edward Markey (D., Mass.), have introduced a bipartisan bill to raise fuel economy standards. It's time to use existing fuel-saving technology to innovate our way out of this energy crisis. I urge U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur to support the Boehlert-Markey fuel economy bill. And I urge the Toledo region to adopt an energy smart plan.

SANDY BIHN

Oregon

May I add another complaint about closed primaries in Ohio?

When I took part in a mock election about 50 years ago in grade school, we were taught that the idea of a primary election was to reduce the number of candidates for each office to the two who would have the best chance to win.

As part of that procedure, those people who wished to have their names on the ballot were first required to get a predetermined number of signatures of registered voters to sign nominating petitions.

From what I understand of the election laws as they are now in force, the number of names now required for such petitions is ridiculously low.

In order to have an open primary, with only those people who have a real following and don't run just as a lark, may I suggest the following:

Require that nominating petitions have the names of not less than 5 percent of the electors of each ward in which an election is to be held. Only the top two names for an office of such an election would be counted at the general election.

You've got an open primary. May the best person win.

DAVID AXILROD

Manchester Boulevard

Post a note to the administration: If someone were to tighten George's screws, the ones tightening on the working-class would loosen up a bit.

STANLEY THEISEN

W. Alexis Road



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