Regarding your May 20 article "Steps toward more drug testing in school": The Bush administration's support for random student drug testing is unfounded. While we share the White House's concern regarding alcohol and substance abuse among young people, the enactment of student drug testing in public schools without probable cause is ineffective, costly, and opens a Pandora's box of serious ethical questions.
Random drug testing of students is a humiliating, invasive practice that runs contrary to the principles of due process. It compels teens to submit evidence against themselves and forfeit their privacy rights as a necessary requirement for attending school.
Rather than presuming our school children innocent of illicit activity, random drug testing presumes them guilty until they prove themselves innocent. Is this truly the message our society wishes to send America's young people?
Senior Policy Analyst
National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws
The United States will never win the war on drugs until we stop the hypocrisy of penalizing those who use illegal drugs, whom we cannot control, while simultaneously promoting the prolific use of legal drugs, such as Ritalin and antidepressants, for both adults and children. Such actions come with a great profit to the drug companies and their supporters.
Not only does our society need to end this double standard, but we also need to end poverty and the other conditions that lead to so much drug use.
Taking these actions, along with providing young people with meaningful and empowering activities to use their time and engage their minds, will go a long way toward ending drug abuse.
Regarding the May 19 article "Can hybrids save US from foreign oil?": The problem with your headline and with politicians who keep talking about "eliminating our dependence on foreign oil," is that it is false in its very premise.
If tomorrow every car on our nation's highway were magically transformed into a hybrid, it would not eliminate our need for foreign oil. As long as we remain an oil-based economy, we will have a growing need to import oil from other parts of the world.
To suggest that there is a "fix" that will enable us to be "saved" from foreign oil is disingenuous and dangerous.
Regarding the May 11 article "Tourists help, harm Peru's Machu Picchu": I found the article stressing the mixed blessings of tourism at Machu Picchu disconcerting. Citing a UNESCO report that threatens to put the site on its "at risk" register, your article states that Peru's primary challenge is "to deliver a sustainable number of tourists without causing damage to the site and disrupting its serenity." Ecuador's Galápagos Islands faced a similar threat years ago, and has since placed severe restrictions on the number of daily visitors allowed to the site. The result has been exorbitant fees for tours to the islands that have all but prevented native Ecuadoreans from enjoying one of their country's national treasures.
Without being elitist, one must hope that Peru can find a viable solution to Machu Picchu's plight that will still allow Peruvians to enjoy this important piece of their history.
Research Associate, Council on Hemispheric Affairs
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