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Exploiting the Drug War

Via EFSDP, I heard about this link to LEAD. The main page notes that this is the site of both:

  • Law Enforcement Against Drugs, and
  • Local Educators Against Drugs

(The name appears to be a take-off on Law Enforcment Against Prohibition and Educators For Sensible Drug Policy)
Then it tells you to “click on the corresponding logo to visit that particular program’s page.” Sounds like a couple of non-profit organizations that have banded together, right? Or maybe some community groups made up of teachers and policement who created LEAD?
This impression is emphasized when you enter the site with such statements as:

“Through L.E.A.D., your school empowers parents by providing a simple way to detect a potential problem with anonymity before it becomes a police matter.”

And the website offers sponsorship opportunities:

Attention: fraternal organizations, health care networks, corporations, parent/teacher associations and community coalitions.

You can supply the initial “seed” money to start the L.E.A.D. Program in your community. After the start-up costs, the program is self-sustaining.

So what is LEAD? A police group? A group of educators?
Nope. Lead is a website owned and run by David Pritchard, president of Total Diagnostic Sales (TDS), a company based in Livonia, Michigan, that sells drug testing kits.
So they get a community organization to sponsor by buying a couple hundred dollars worth of kits and starting up a program of selling them to parents, and they even give the groups media packets and posters to help them get a lot of publicity (of course, the publicity will have the name of the school or the police department on it, not TDS).
Now I don’t object to parents choosing on their own to purchase drug testing kits (I personally think it’s stupid, and bad parenting, but I would not object to their choice to do so.) However, the notion of police and educator groups acting as shills for for-profit drug testing sales is irresponsible.

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1 comment to Exploiting the Drug War

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