Tainted Thinking Drug Tests: A Class Ritual 

  Tainted Thinking Drug Tests: A Class Ritual 

Posted by FoM on July 04, 2001 at 12:35:39 PT
By Ben Ehrenreich  
Source: LA Weekly 

In mid-May, as the Bush administration kicked off yet another “war on drug abuse in America,” White House press secretary Ari Fleischer announced that all 650 White House employees had been required to take drug tests “as a condition of employment.” The president and vice president were first in line. Fleischer would not comment on how this often-humiliating procedure was administered, who administered it, or how closely the president was watched — if he was monitored, as many are, to make sure he delivered his own warm, unadulterated urine directly from the presidential source. Fleischer would not even tell the press whether the president had passed or not. All results, the press secretary said, would “be treated as a private, personnel matter.”
Bush’s drug test is unusual in more ways than one. As common as such tests still are, he will likely be one of the few people in his income bracket required to surrender his excretions on the job. Workplace drug testing, once ubiquitous, may in the future be an indignity reserved for the poor. The most recent trends indicate that while testing rates have dropped, in some cases precipitously, in the white-collar world, they have dropped only slightly in blue-collar settings, and have actually risen among the growing proletariat of the new American economy, retail and wholesale service workers. Athletes aside, the primary subjects of drug tests may soon be prisoners, parolees, denizens of what was once called the working class and, if the state of Michigan prevails in court, welfare recipients. If the Drug War, both at home and abroad, has always been a war against the poor, its testing brigades, long-confused and targeting hapless middle-class professionals, have lately been sharpening their sense of mission.Drug-testing technology has been around for decades. The military began using it extensively in the 1970s, but it wasn’t until Ronald Reagan whipped the country into a frenzy of anti-drug hysteria that it wormed its way into the civilian world. In 1986, with the goal of creating “drug-free federal workplaces,” Reagan ordered government employees to begin handing over their urine. At or around the same time, riders were added to contracts demanding that anyone who did business with the federal government — whether they be manufacturers, universities, or state and local governments — take steps to create a drug-free work force. Congress formalized this practice into law with the 1988 Drug-Free Workplace Act. Several late-’80s Supreme Court cases confirmed the government’s right to override Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches in the name of a perceived threat to public safety. Sharply dissenting in one such case, Justice Thurgood Marshall warned, “History teaches that grave threats to liberty often come in times of urgency, when constitutional rights seem too extravagant to endure . . . There is no drug exception to the Constitution.”It was the government, aided by a growing multibillion-dollar drug-testing industry, that continued to lead the charge for testing, barraging private employers with what the ACLU calls a “maelstrom of misinformation” about the supposedly disastrous effects of drug use on worker productivity. Often encouraged by states that gave breaks on workers’-compensation insurance to companies that tested their employees, the private sector patriotically joined the fight and took up arms against the enemy within. By 1996 (when the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act was passed, ending welfare as we knew it and giving states the right to deny benefits to welfare recipients if they came up positive on drug tests), the vast majority of employers had developed a hearty appetite for workers’ urine. That year, the American Management Association found that 81 percent of major American companies were testing employees, up from 22 percent nine years earlier. Submitting to drug tests had become a standard part of having a job in America.Throughout the 1990s, though, study after study called the benefits of the practice into doubt. Most notably, an extensive 1996 National Academy of Sciences report found that existing data “do not provide clear evidence of the deleterious effects of drugs other than alcohol on safety and other job-performance factors.” Most drug users, the NAS found, are not addicts, and most do not get high at work (though it might not hurt if they did — cocaine use on the job, the NAS reported, appears to have “slight performance-enhancing effects”). Flatly contradicting the puritanical assumptions underlying the Drug War, the study concluded that “low to moderate use of any illicit drug or alcohol is either positively associated with productivity, or simply not related.”Other groups, notably the American Civil Liberties Union and NORML, have been arguing for years that even if drug use did affect job performance, drug tests wouldn’t measure the effects. “Drug testing as it is constructed today,” says Alan St. Pierre of NORML, “absolutely, 100 percent does not measure impairment.” Because urinalysis only detects the presence of metabolites, the chemical traces of previously consumed substances, and not the substances themselves, it can, for instance, prove that you smoked a joint on Friday evening but not that you snorted a line of coke on Monday morning immediately before taking the test. On-the-job drug testing, therefore, has more to do with monitoring and controlling an employee’s off-the-job life than with ensuring his or her sobriety while at work.Even within corporate managerial circles, drug-testing dogma has been called into question. In 1996, after reviewing data compiled since 1987, the American Management Association announced that “No finding of AMA’s nine-year survey efforts can confirm with statistical certainty that testing deters drug use.” Two years later, a survey of 63 high-tech firms confirmed the AMA’s results, revealing that not only had testing failed to improve worker productivity, but that “Surprisingly, companies adopting drug-testing programs are found to exhibit lower levels of productivity than their counterparts that do not,” by as much as 20 percent.At some point in the late 1990s, the corporate world began listening, but only selectively. The AMA’s most recent data shows that while 74 percent of all companies tested in 1997, 67 percent were testing by 2001. Broken down a bit further, the results get more interesting. Drug testing in the highly paid financial-services sector dropped by more than half, from 47 percent in 1997 to 23 percent this year. Testing in other white-collar fields, in what the AMA terms the “business and professional sector,” dropped by more than 20 percent. Meanwhile, manufacturing, the most highly tested category four years ago, retained that status; testing dropped slightly, from 86 percent to 81 percent. Only in the lowest-paid, least-skilled category — wholesale and retail employees — did drug-testing rates jump, from 61 percent to 65 percent. In short: White-collar workers are being tested less and less, while it’s becoming increasingly likely that waitresses and salesclerks will have to produce a cup of urine on demand.So Wall Street brokers can rest assured that nothing will get between their bladders and the executive toilets, but stock boys at Vons have to hand over a sample with their job application before performing sensitive tasks like pricing potato chips. “It really doesn’t make sense,” observes Graham Boyd of the ACLU’s Drug Policy Litigation Project. The rift has been especially deep in the tech world, where, the Los Angeles Times reported last fall, two-tier testing programs sometimes exist within one firm. Intuit, for example, screens the workers at its telephone-help center in Nevada for drugs, but not those at its corporate headquarters in Silicon Valley. Similarly, tests its employees at some of its outlying distribution centers, but not at its Seattle home office.Such disparities, as is so often the case, have largely been determined by the market. At the high end, skilled white-collar workers were enough in demand in the late ’90s that companies feared losing potential employees to other employers who did not drug-test. At the low end, though, the boom years supplied a steady pool of easily replaceable service workers. If they didn’t want to take a drug test at Wal-Mart, there was nowhere else to go — Kmart drug-tests too. Class stereotypes equating poverty with drug abuse (like those behind Michigan’s attempt to make a clean drug test result a precondition to receiving welfare benefits) surely also played a role. Regardless of the causes, though, the result is the same: another ritual of humiliation for the working poor, a clear sign from management that your body, like your time, is not your own.Pissing Rite: Beating the Drug Test Might Be as Simple as H20 By Maryam Henein  Every day, laboratories across the nation inspect thousands of vials of reekin’ piss, all to weed out job candidates who might dabble in illicit drugs. Drug-testing firms tend to go after pot-inhalers in particular. It’s the easiest drug to detect and the most commonly used.“There would be no testing industry if it weren’t for marijuana,” says Dr. John P. Morgan, co-author of Marijuana Myths, Marijuana Facts and professor of pharmacology at the City University of New York Medical School. “The number of positives would be so low that nobody would pay to test. After all, urine testing is a $2 billion industry in the Unites States, so marijuana is critical.”Bud lovers try inventive methods to nab the new job, preserve the habit and maintain their right to privacy. Some have been known to smuggle a hidden bag of drug-free urine and rig their undies with a hose. But increasingly, these smokers are turning to the free market, fueling a multimillion-dollar boom among purveyors of anything that claims to help, whether it does or not.One market leader is “The Clean Machine,” a pre-testing kit available over the Internet from a company called Extreme Enterprises, LLC, which has offices in Garland, Texas, and Northridge. It promises that its dietary supplements can rid urine and blood of toxins while “promoting a holistic approach to better health.” Says company CEO Travis Buchanan, “The average time to remove toxins from the system is 30 to 90 days. But our line is designed to act as an accelerator and speed up the body’s natural cleansing process.”The 30-year-old Texan and admitted marijuana-smoker says several “herb masters” helped him concoct these advanced tablets. “I can’t reveal my sources, but that’s their forte,” says Buchanan, who used to work for a lab that conducted pre-employment drug tests.He offers a menu of programs based upon your level of toxin intake. For instance, there’s X-treme ($99), a six-day program for daily users, and Seek-N-Destroy ($49) for the one-time-a-week-or-less user. The curriculum is challenging: You have to avoid all drugs for at least 48 hours, swallow 10 pills every hour for 10 hours over the course of three to six days, stick to a strict high-protein, low-fat diet and drink gallons of water and cranberry juice.The company also provides a self-drug-test kit for extra peace of mind, and if you’re in dire need of advice, you can always contact a “personal customer service coach” — they’re available 24/7. Dr. Morgan is skeptical that such cleansing kits do any cleansing. The key, he says, is flushing out your system. “There’s no scientific proof that anything you swallow will rid you of marijuana metabolites. What all these products do recommend is to consume large amounts of water and cranberry juice. When you do that, you are diluting the concentration of drugs in your system.” The occasional pot smoker doesn’t really need artificial help, adds Dr. Stuart Bogema, a chief toxicologist with Advanced Toxicology Network, a subsidiary of an occupational health company called Concentra, which provides drug-testing services in the L.A. area. Bogema says the body will naturally clear itself of metabolites within two to three days — not the purported one to three months.Christine Pelisek contributed to this story.Source: LA Weekly (CA)Author: Ben Ehrenreich and Maryam Henein Published: July 6 - 12, 2001 Copyright: 2001 Los Angeles Weekly, Inc.Contact: letters laweekly.comWebsite: Web Sites:ACLU Day Special: July 6 - 12, 2001

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Comment #11 posted by dddd on July 05, 2001 at 11:01:57 PT
That link was great Dr.Dan,,,,,,I believe itconfirms and verifies the FACT,,,,that the AP islittle more than a nationwide propaganda rag.I'vebeen monitoring it lately at this handy site; traveled in the Soviet Union in 1976,and back then,therewas only one way to go there....."Intourist" was the officialand only travel/tour agency in the whole country,,and of course,all westerners were isolated,and kept very close track of.Theywould herd you through specific areas wherever you went,,,,,and my favorite thing,was collecting the free propaganda thatwas provided everywhere you went.Most of these phony newspapersand pamphlets were really good,convincing professionally writtenpropaganda.They had made a highly developed science of it,which wasnothing new,but back in 76,I didnt really know what to expect......There were also alot of really lame,and obvious propaganda items,,whichbrings me to my point concerning Dans link,and the AP,,,,,,thewhitehouse network and design of propaganda,makes the Sovietstuff look Pre-Cambrian........When you can feed the flock,and they know it is you,, that is feeding them,that's one thing,,,,........BUT!...... when the flock is convinced that they are foraging for their own sustanance,and selecting amongst a variety,,and they are unaware that everything they are fed,is actually left for them by the evil,and devious shepard,,,then the flock remains happy in the belief that they independant,and making their choices,,and,, the evil shepard is able to change the scenery,and adjust the landscape,,and steer the flock into specially modified meadows,,,and all along,the flock is convinced that their world is real,and everything is normal and natural ,,,,,  the point is,that if you're the evil shepard,,you have a very highly developed,and advanced way to influence the flock without their knowledge...After reading back on this ramble,,,perhaps the paint fumes have gotten to me.....I gotta get back to work,,,in outer space.....dddd 
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Comment #10 posted by Lehder on July 05, 2001 at 09:31:26 PT
i'll get this right yet - 
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Comment #9 posted by Lehder on July 05, 2001 at 09:29:42 PT
that's Dan B's link.
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Comment #8 posted by Lehder on July 05, 2001 at 09:24:27 PT
Cheney is out
It sounds to me, FoM, like Cheney will be out of office within a fairly short time. the only reason that the white house would be fabricating reports about this man's remarkable dynamism is that he's about to collapse.he'll be replaced with someone very like john "bojangles" ashcroft who will be our new president after bush is whacked - as kap and Dan B have both noted, he's got a lot of enemies.this was probably all planned by the power brokers long ago in order to get some unknown maniac in as pres. why can't a guy who made 36 million $ last year just step down, relax and enjoy himself for what time he has left? i could ask the same question of george bush too. and all the rest of the drug warriors.what a sleazy, manipulative charade FoM's linked article has unearthed. again:
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Comment #7 posted by freedom fighter on July 05, 2001 at 09:19:44 PT
It all depends on your body
If you are thin and do have high metalbolism, Thc level change more rapidly than a person who is overweighted and have low metalbolism.. Make a world difference. In other word, piss tests are discriminatiing..I am going thru piss hell from the diversion and I have been drinking green tea as well taking Panthothenic acid, optimized lecithin, L-carnitine, mega creatine fuel and various vitamins. My level went from 450 to 65 in just one week. I also drank two cans of budweiser four hours before the test. I am a very active person who sweat gallons of sweat each day building houses. I also have a very high metalbolism. Not an ounce of fat on me. It does make the difference. Today this evening, I am going to have another pizz test. Wish me luck on this one.. The div. counsler said that if I finish what I need to do, 48hrs community service, plus 24 hrs of so called "treatment", plus a course on personal ethics as well as negative thc level, he would let me go. I have already paid the 1800$ fine for growing a plant.The div. officer was so suprized and happy to see the money order. Talk about ethics! 
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on July 05, 2001 at 07:52:48 PT
Check Out This Page
Hi Everyone!There are over 30 articles in this series and that would have pushed all the news off the front page if I had posted them all, so I made a page with all the articles on them. Cool pictures!LA Weekly Independence Day - July 4, 2001 
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Comment #5 posted by Dan B on July 05, 2001 at 07:41:37 PT:
A Side Note
This link is in response to certain individuals who seem convinced that Vice President Dick Cheney is a swell guy, a real "above board" type of politician:!Dan B    
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Comment #4 posted by Dan B on July 05, 2001 at 07:37:04 PT:
The Regimen, Not the Pills
You have to avoid all drugs for at least 48 hours, swallow 10 pills every hour for 10 hours over the course of three to six days, stick to a strict high-protein, low-fat diet and drink gallons of water and cranberry juice. This regimen, not the pills that cost $49 to $99 as a supplement to this regimen, is what will flush your body out. If you insist on using a supplemental "detox" system, go to your local health food store and pick up some "detox" pills or "detox" teas. You'll spend less money, and you'll have the same chance of passing your test.Unless you have plenty of money to spare, in which case, by all means, pay the $49 to $99 bucks.Dan B
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Comment #3 posted by Lehder on July 05, 2001 at 04:40:21 PT
subversive corporations
some other comapnies profiteering in hardcore repression and unamerican activities are:ADSX INTM ASE TOX
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Comment #2 posted by Lehder on July 05, 2001 at 04:36:13 PT
the time is ripe for fighting in the street
as you can see, i, "cosmic_accelerator", have taken the fight to the corporations that are profiteering in the destruction of america:'ve discussed OSUR before, a manufacturer of drug testing apparatus intended for use, among others, by cops who will soon be empowered to stick things in your mouth along the roadside.
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Comment #1 posted by elfman on July 04, 2001 at 15:10:08 PT
The website they talked about really works!
I did a lot of heavy smoking and got it out of my system in less than 10 days with that program. Yes, it does stay in your system for 30 days, and even longer. If you are in a tight spot like I was, go to that website. I passed, and now I'm making $11/hour rather than $6.75 at starbucks.
The website they talked about in the article..
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