Drug Test Nation 

Drug Test Nation 
Posted by CN Staff on February 09, 2005 at 15:38:17 PT
By Paul Armentano 
Source: Reason Magazine
One look at the Cozart RapiScan, a self-proclaimed complete "on-site oral fluid drugs of abuse diagnostic system," and it's obvious: This isn't your parents' drug test. Gone are the golden days of the plastic collection cup. The Cozart saliva testing system comes in a spiffy silver suitcase and consists of an oral fluid collection swab, a disposable test cartridge, its own handheld digital computer, and a portable printer "for a permanent record of test results."
The official U.S. distributor of the RapiScan, The Dominion Diagnostics Corporation, was one of many hi-tech exhibitors hawking their wares in Tampa last spring at a meeting of corporate drug testers, toxicologists and law enforcement officers, sponsored, in part, by the Office of National Drug Control Policy (a.k.a. the Drug Czar's office). But this White House–backed gathering was no trade show. The purpose of this symposium—and the intent of the bodily fluid snoopers in attendance—was to call for an unprecedented, government-mandated expansion of both drug testing and the application of new drug screening technology—and not just for those within the workplace. And the pee police may be close to getting their wish. Random drug testing in the workplace rose to prominence in the mid-to-late 1980s, embodying the zeitgeist of the nation's "War on Drugs" fervor. In 1986 President Ronald Reagan signed Executive Order 12564, requiring federal employees to be drug free on and off the job. Four years later the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in the case National Treasury Employees Union v. Von Raab that suspicionless employee drug testing does not violate the Constitution's Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches. These executive and judicial moves paved the way for the unprecedented growth of workplace drug testing within the public and private sector. By 1991, 62 percent of large U.S. companies were forcing their employees to "drop trou" as a condition of employment—a figure that in recent years has dropped slightly, but still stands at roughly 50 percent. Of the nation's approximately 1.6 million federal workers, some 400,000 may now undergo some form of drug screening. Not surprisingly, this surge in the number of Americans peeing on demand has coincided with an explosion of alternative drug testing technology. In recent years, firms touting unconventional drug screens of citizens' hair, sweat, and saliva have emerged, each proclaiming its state-of-the-art gadgetry to be the heir apparent to the piss cup. For the most part, however, employers have been unconvinced. Despite promises of the tests' purported "increased sensitivity" and "less intrusive nature," federal and private employers have generally been unwilling to rely on such Brave New World methods, virtually all of which remain largely unproved by the scientific literature and lack approval from the Food and Drug Association. Thanks to the work of groups like DATIA, the Drug & Alcohol Testing Industries Association, things are about to change. According to its website, DATIA is "a 1,200-member national trade association representing the full spectrum of alcohol and drug testing service agents, including laboratories, collection sites, ... and [drug] testing device manufacturers." In layman's terms, it's the lobbying arm for the drug testing industry. DATIA's mission includes "working closely with key policy makers in federal agencies and in Congress to ensure that the interests of the industry are heard." Recently, the group's chief focus has been to push the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to amend the federal workplace guidelines so that federal agencies can conduct drug screenings of employees' hair, sweat, and saliva. (Existing federal regulations mandate drug testing programs rely on urine screens only.) Such a change, DATIA hopes, might finally kick-start private employers to use alternative specimen technology. It would also financially benefit several of the organization's members, many of whom have a significant financial stake in the expanded use of alternative drug screening methods. Last April, the government finally granted DATIA's wish, proposing to overhaul the feds' drug testing regulations to encourage agencies to use alternative testing methods. Ironically, the proposal came at a time when positive drug tests among federal employees are at record lows. (Of those federal employees tested for drugs last year, only 532 peed positive, at a staggering cost to taxpayers of $11,466 per positive test result.) Meanwhile, the agency backing the plan, the Department of Health and Human Services' Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), has criticized the new technologies as seriously flawed. According to SAMHSA's April 2004 "Proposed Revisions to Mandatory Guidelines for Workplace Drug Testing," hair testing, saliva testing, and sweat patch testing all have significant limitations. In the case of hair testing, which detects drug metabolites (inactive compounds indicative of past drug use) that have passively diffused from the blood stream to the base of the hair follicle, the agency warns that both environmental contamination and hair color can significantly impact the accuracy of the test. "The role of hair color is... a major concern," SAMHSA says, noting that "data show that higher concentrations of some drugs are found in dark hair when compared to blond or red hair." Studies have demonstrated similar testing inconsistencies when screening for drugs among ethnic minorities, particularly African Americans. Environmental contamination—such as a scenario where the individual to be tested was recently present in a room where others smoked marijuana—also may negatively affect the accuracy of saliva testing, SAMHSA says. As a result, the feds are encouraging agencies to also collect a urine sample "at the same time the oral fluid specimen is obtained" for confirmation testing—although doing so will more than double the high costs already associated with specimen collection while, at the same time, likely yielding confounding results. Regarding the efficiency of sweat patch testing, SAMHSA notes, "The Department knows from direct experience ... that some individuals may not be able to wear the sweat patch for the optimal period of time." The fact that federal bureaucrats are willing to brush aside such technological concerns in their rush to break bread with the drug testing industry is illustrative of the growing political power wielded by America's bodily fluid inspectors. But for the drug detection cabal, invasive testing by employers is just the first step. The next is to extend bodily-fluid-sniffing from the workplace to the roadways—and enlist the full coercive powers of the state to do so. For the past several years drug testing superhawk Michael Walsh, a former Associate Director to the Drug Czar and current president of the drug testing and lobby organization the Walsh Group, has led the charge to apply workplace drug testing standards and regulations to all licensed U.S. drivers. In 2002, Walsh partnered with the White House to lobby state legislatures to amend their drugged driving laws, arguing that states should no longer require "impairment" as a necessary condition for prosecution. Instead, Walsh asserted that prosecutors simply charge all drivers who test positive for any level of drugs or drug metabolites as a criminal drugged driver—even if the motorist is neither under the influence nor impaired to drive! As a result of Walsh's lobbying efforts, eleven states—Arizona, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, and Wisconsin—have now adopted such legislation, known as "zero tolerance per se" laws. At last spring's conference in Tampa, Walsh and his peers demanded Congress get into the act and pass legislation mandating all 50 states to enact models of his zero tolerance bill. Sure enough, federal politicians are champing at the bit to do just that. Less than one month after the Tampa symposium, bi-partisan legislation was introduced in Congress granting police the power to drug test drivers and arrest anyone found to have "any detectable amount of a controlled substance ... present in the person's blood, urine, saliva, or other bodily substance." Despite the proposal's purposefully misleading title, H.R. 3922: The Drug Impaired Driving Enforcement Act, did not, in fact, require motorists to be identifiably impaired or intoxicated to be criminally charged with the crime of "drugged driving." Rather, as in the workplace, subjects need only test positive for inert drug metabolites (which, in the case of marijuana, may linger in the urine for days or even weeks after smoking) to be found guilty. Only this time, violators won't be losing their jobs; they'll be going to jail. Despite H.R. 3922's sweeping intent to criminalize otherwise non-criminal behavior (driving while sober), congressional representatives in the summer of 2004 added the measure to the transportation reauthorization bill and promptly rubber-stamped it through the House without so much as a single hearing. However, much to federal lawmakers' chagrin (and, no doubt, to the disappointment of many within the drug testing industry as well), the bill eventually died in conference committee. That's not to say America's pee police won't be back for another round this year with new and even more expansive proposals. In Tampa, attendees contemplated plans to enact random roadside drug testing checkpoints, while DATIA's legislative agenda for 2005 focuses on expanding the prevalence of student drug screening. Like it or not, it's dangerously clear the drug testers will not rest until every American has submitted to their inspection, and with more and more politicians in their pockets, they just might succeed. Paul Armentano is the senior policy analyst for NORML -- and the NORML Foundation in Washington, DC. His writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The Washington Times, The Christian Science Monitor, Ideas on Liberty,, and has been syndicated by United Press International (UPI). Note: Get a whiff of the new pot-sniffing technologies, coming to a highway near you.Source: Reason Magazine (US)Author: Paul Armentano Published: February 9, 2005 Copyright: 2005 The Reason FoundationContact: letters reason.comWebsite: CannabisNews Drug Testing Archives
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Comment #17 posted by kitty_317 on January 07, 2006 at 10:16:26 PT:
Was wondering if anyone else has had this problem?? A friend of mine just got her daughter back from foster care (10 months) And they randomly drug test her.Twice in 3 weeks she failed the first test and within an hour retook it and past.But the last time they almost took her daughter back into foster care for faulty drug test. Because of it, it caused havac in there home..fear etc....the mother asked them to do a blood test and she was told that the goverment would not pay for it because it cost to much,so does that mean some innocent children will be put back into the system because of faulty test.
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Comment #16 posted by sam s on February 10, 2005 at 19:39:51 PT:
testing again
agog,I feed birds. That's a good idea. A large enough movement along these "johnny appleseed lines" could help the cause.Feed the birds. Spread your seed.Sam S
Drug Test Nation
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Comment #15 posted by potpal on February 10, 2005 at 12:47:12 PT
kinda like a...
terrorist act...nah, let's call it, civil disobedience. 
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Comment #14 posted by Agog on February 10, 2005 at 12:36:12 PT
Johnny Appleseed
Hi Sam S....Why stop with manual distribution? Just envision if we could collect enough seeds to put in our birdfeeders... They'll love the seeds you give them, and they provide an excellent means of spreading the love if you will.All the BestAgog (and more so everyday)
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Comment #13 posted by Sam S on February 10, 2005 at 11:43:55 PT:
Just a thought: Let's say every pot smoker in America plants seeds everywhere, like parks, private land, public land, etc. Now there would be lots of free pot and tons of it could be ground up and (kinda like a terrorist act, eh?) added throughout the food chain in an amount small but sufficient to cause positive testing. Everyone would test positive.End of testing problem.Sam S
Drug Test Nation
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Comment #12 posted by Richard Paul Zuckerm on February 10, 2005 at 11:13:06 PT:
I would challenge the drug testing of a sober looking driver on the grounds the police did not have reasonable articulable suspicion to drug test a driver who does not appear intoxicated, under the Constitutional Right against Unreasonable Searches and Seizures of the State. NOT THE FEDERAL CONSTITUTION, though. The State Constitution may provide more individual freedoms than the Federal Constitution, because some State judges are recognizing the overbearing nature of the federal government. I would not only challenge the validity of the drug testing, I would sue the cops for damages, too!I am presently involved in a lawsuit alleging violation of the 1947 New Jersey Constitution [NOT THE U.S. CONSTITUTION!!!], entitled Richard Paul Zuckerman, Plaintiff vs. Borough of Highland Park, et al., Defendants, Docket number L-3743-00, presided over by The Honorable Nicholas J. Stroumtsos, Jr., J.S.C., Middlesex County Courthouse, Courtroom 407, 1 J.F.K. Plaza, P.O. Box 964, New Brunswick, New Jersey, 08903-0964, (Secretary's telephone number)(732) 981-3102, (Law Clerk's telephone number)(732) 981-3074, because the Highland Park Public Library,, enforced a 3 minute time limit maximum use of the public pay telephone even when nobody was waiting to use same telephone, I was arrested by 3 Highland Park policemen for refusal to produce identification, they illegally searched my backpack and found an 8 inch dagger, then COMPLETELY FABRICATED a "disorderly conduct" charge. The Grand Jury refused to indict me on the dagger possession charge. I was subsequently only convicted of the "disorderly conduct." Now, in this civil action alleging violation of my Rights under the 1947 New Jersey Constitution, they submitted written motion papers for summary judgment/dismissal, scheduled to be heard on February 18, 2005, asserting the municipal court "disorderly conduct" conviction prevents me from re-litigating the facts of the municipal court charge. They assert that Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994) controls this case to collaterally estop me from re-litigating the facts of the municipal court petty disorderly persons "disorderly conduct" conviction. Their position is faulty, because this is NOT a federal civil rights case. It is a State civil rights case, in State court. Therefore, the New Jersey Rules apply. New Jersey Rules of Evidence 803(c)(22) allows a conviction for AN INDICTABLE OFFENSE to be used to prove any fact essential to sustain the judgment, but the court decisions have UNANIMOUSLY held that municipal court petty disorderly persons offenses convictions DO NOT PREVENT RE-LITIGATION OF THE FACTS, such as Trisuzzi v. Tabatchnik, 285 N.J.Super. 15, 25, 666 A.2d 543 (App. Div. 1995). Oral argument is scheduled for February 18, 2005, and I look forward to it! If this motion is denied, then the case gets placed on the trial calendar! They offered me a paltry $20,000 at the most recent court hearing, which was a Status Conference. I want to make these cops pay for making up a "disorderly conduct" charge! I would ask a jury for a HUGE PUNITIVE DAMAGES award for their FRAUD!!! Historically, punitive damages were originally created to deal with corrupt public officials! But they don't teach this in your public schools,!Keep in mind that the June 2, 2004, United States Supreme Court decision in Larry Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial District Court of Nevada, [type "Hiibel" into the search blank, then click on the search button, to download the Court opinion, assuming it is still available] does uphold the validity of the State laws requiring us to produce identification when we are a pedestrian, BUT ONLY IN THOSE 21 OR SO STATES THAT HAVE SPECIFIC LANGUAGE IN THEIR LAWS REQUIRING PEDESTRIANS TO PRODUCE IDENTIFICATION, AND NEW JERSEY IS NOT LISTED AMONG THOSE 21 OR SO STATES!Who was it who said "The Right to be let alone is indeed the beginning of all freedom"? Was it Justice Brandeis or Justice Douglas? Please type "ARE COPS CONSTITUTIONAL?" into any search engine, then click the search button and download the law review article about police, to give you some idea how expansive the police powers have become?Richard Paul Zuckerman, Box 159, Metuchen, New Jersey, 08840-0159, (Cell telephone number)(908) 403-6990, richardzuckerman2002; Diploma in Paralegal, New York University, 2003; B.A. in Political Science, Kean College of New Jersey [Kean University], 1987; Member of:;; Green Party; GreenPeace;
A dedicated voter of RALPH NADER.
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Comment #11 posted by Sam Adams on February 10, 2005 at 10:40:51 PT
Thank you for writing my exact thoughts on the matter. If this BS ever becomes law, I'll be gone within a year. Who would want their family living in a country like this? Vancouver is a great city.
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Comment #10 posted by Richard Paul Zuckerm on February 10, 2005 at 10:37:43 PT:
Fluoride is placed in our drinking water, in Rat Poison, and recently we found it [and Aluminum] is in very high concentrations in certain brands of instant Tea. Fluoride has been linked to Alzheimers Disease, Cancer, replacing the Iodine in our Thyroid gland, replacing the Calcium and Phosphorus in our bones, and other life shortening medical problems. Fluorine is THE MOST REACTIVE ELEMENT ON THE PERIODIC CHART OF ELEMENTS! Scientists had enough trouble harnassing it to use it to make the Atom Bomb. The Atom Bomb could not be made without Fluorine! At least some of the same scientists on the Manhattan Project [to make the Atom Bomb] were authors of studies lauding the "benefits" of water Fluoridation, while privately concluding water Fluoridation is TOXIC! We only found out about their past employ with the Manhattan Project recently, from Freedom of Information Act Reports. Please read the recently newly published book entitled THE FLUORIDE DECEPTION, c. 2004? Fluoride increases the toxicity of Aluminum and Lead. Can you imagine what it does inside your body??!! Want to take a urine test? What about testing for Fluoride content?What about testing our urine for plastic? Yep! The use and proliferation of plastic causes some of the toxic by-products of plastic to be excreted out in our urine. This is partly why San Francisco is proposing an Ordinance to ban plastic bags!!!And S. 4, pending in Congress, to protect the Vaccine makers from medical malpractice/products liability, from the Aluminum and Mercury they put in vaccines!!!??? Please call Congress right away to oppose this Bill?Testing urine for Marijuana should be the least of our worries!!!Incidentally, check out the Med Pot article in the December 2004 issue of Scientific American?Richard Paul Zuckerman, Box 159, Metuchen, N.J., 08840-0159, (Cell telephone number)(908) 403-6990, richardzuckerman2002
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Comment #9 posted by ekim on February 10, 2005 at 10:12:51 PT
how many meds carry this warning
i am getting over a cold and the doc gave me a script which said -- do not drive -operate machinery -or do anything else that could be dangerous--here is the kicker -Until you know how you react to this medicine. what ever happen to the good ol Christan value of --do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
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Comment #8 posted by schmeff on February 10, 2005 at 09:21:02 PT
Other "legitimate" pharmaceuticals...
...are controlled substances as well. If the new legislation will send everyone to jail who has measureable traces of controlled substances in their blood, the next great job opportunity will be in jail construction.Actually, I think jail construction already is a great job opportunity.
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Comment #7 posted by Max Flowers on February 10, 2005 at 08:51:06 PT
No one is going to test me
 - Instead, Walsh asserted that prosecutors simply charge all drivers who test positive for any level of drugs or drug metabolites as a criminal drugged driver—even if the motorist is neither under the influence nor impaired to drive! - In states with medical cannabis laws, this would create an obvious conflict. How can a state allow a person to be using cannabis medically, and at the same time be ready to jail them for having THC metabolites in their system? That's stupid.If this happens, it will be the final straw for me... the America I once knew will have completed its transformation into a police state (it's already 70% of the way there now as far as I'm concerned.) I will be seeking a new life in a new country, and probably not Canada since it seems they're goiing the same direction.Of course, this is what they want... the whole idea is a cultural genocide where they "flush" us out and get us to either conform in cringing fear, or leave (I'll leave).
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Comment #6 posted by kaptinemo on February 10, 2005 at 03:53:18 PT:
A sign of economic troubles ahead
Despite the 'advances' in technology, the real reason why many employers are trying to gain ever more control over their employees lives revolves around the bottom line: profit margins. In the go-go '90's, with a strong economy and plenty of mobility, the drug testing started to take a back seat, as more employees simply went to firms that didn't test. The message was clear: infuriate me by testing me, and I'll quit and go to someone who respects my privacy more than you do. And take my skills with me. But now? With the economy the way it is, employers who've always wanted to lord it over the 'proles' (and even if you are a white collar worker, you're still a 'prole' in the eyes of the investor class; just a better dressed one) have the perfect opportunity, for where can you go when your job is in danger of being offshored? That's how they think.But they better watch out, for despite all the (politically deliberate) gutting of unions in this country, we might yet see the dying embers of unionism burst again into flame, this time because 'Da Boss' is showing far too much interest in what goes on in the privacy of your home. They own your labor; now they try to own your body. In the past, revolutions and civil wars got started with that kind of thinking by the elite.
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Comment #5 posted by Industrial Strength on February 10, 2005 at 00:54:14 PT
Bless the Gipper's soul!
Reaganomics, RandomDrugTesting, the Original George Bush...He was fond of the book of revelations as well. Single handedly ended the cold war, he did, mainly through piss testing Martha at the DMV...
I wonder how many people down at good ol' DATIA suffer such indignities as having some rubber gloved reprobate roughly ram a sterilized Qtip in their mouth? Hah! Pot prohibition is quickly becoming the least of America Inc's worries.
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Comment #4 posted by afterburner on February 09, 2005 at 17:40:28 PT
I Said It Before, and I'll Say It Again:
Boycott Wal-Mart. If America's largest retailer feels a pinch in its bottomline, they may be convinced to drop the drug-testing scam!
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Comment #3 posted by global_warming on February 09, 2005 at 16:47:21 PT
Crying in front of the mirror
Sometimes I look into the mirror and cry, to see what we have become. What we we could be, and how we could live in a better world.Rev 13:11 And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. Rev 13:12 And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. Rev 13:13 And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, 
Rev 13:14 And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. SHYLOCK. The patch is kind enough, but a huge feeder,
  Snail-slow in profit, and he sleeps by day
  More than the wild-cat; drones hive not with me,
  Therefore I part with him; and part with him
  To one that I would have him help to wasteANTONIO. The Duke cannot deny the course of law;
  For the commodity that strangers have
  With us in Venice, if it be denied,
  Will much impeach the justice of the state,
  Since that the trade and profit of the city
  Consisteth of all nations. Therefore, go;
  These griefs and losses have so bated me
  That I shall hardly spare a pound of flesh
  To-morrow to my bloody creditor.
  Well, gaoler, on; pray God Bassanio come
  To see me pay his debt, and then I care not.     Such a pitiful
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Comment #2 posted by sixtyfps on February 09, 2005 at 16:18:04 PT has an interesting glossary section they should find a spot in there for prohibitionists.
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Comment #1 posted by mayan on February 09, 2005 at 15:58:48 PT
NDIC Will Close
Murtha vows to fight Bush proposal to cut drug intel center:'ll bet cannabis arrests increase, regardless. 
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