Companies Drug Test a Lot Less Than They Used To
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Companies Drug Test a Lot Less Than They Used To
Posted by CN Staff on March 11, 2015 at 07:27:26 PT
By Lydia DePillis
Source: Washington Post
USA -- On Monday, we ran a story about how despite the fact that smoking marijuana is now essentially legal in Washington, D.C., employers are planning to keep making workers pee in a cup — both before someone is hired and intermittently on the job. In Colorado, which has also legalized pot, drug testing has actually ticked up a bit, with companies worried that the state’s burgeoning pot industry might start to infiltrate the workplace.But that hides the longer-term trend: Employers drug test a lot less than they used to because there’s very little evidence that testing does much to improve safety or productivity.
Workplace drug testing started taking off after President Ronald Reagan required it for federal employees in 1986, and it peaked during the drug war of the 1990s. When the American Management Association first started polling employers on whether they subjected their employees to drug tests, in 1987, 21 percent said they did. By 1996, the number was up to 81 percent. But that percentage steadily declined through 2004, the last time the AMA asked employers about drug testing, when the number was down to 62 percent.Lewis Maltby, president of the National Workrights Institute, produced a report while at the American Civil Liberties Union in the 1990s arguing that drug testing was ineffective — the National Academy of Sciences had just come out with a study showing that moderate use of marijuana off duty was no more predictive of poor performance than use of alcohol."In the long run, the drug testing advocates mostly lost, and not because of us,” Maltby says. "All the ACLU did was tell employers what they were already learning on their own, which is that drug testing is a waste of money.”Some studies over the years have shown that increased drug testing has been accompanied by a decrease in illicit drug use, but many of them come from the drug testing industry itself. (Quest Diagnostics, which performed 8.4 million tests last year, found that positivity rates actually increased in 2014, for the first time since 2003.) Another study, from the journal Health Services Research in 2007, found that companies with drug testing policies often also had other deterrence programs -- like anti-drug policies and educational materials -- which also may have been responsible for the decline. Some, like a study showing that drug testing helped cut down on drug use within the military, aren’t perfectly analogous to all workplaces.The federal government is still the nation’s biggest drug tester, subjecting 400,000 employees in mostly transportation and national security-related positions to testing. In contrast to policy documents from the last White House, however, President Obama’s 2014 National Drug Control Strategy mentions drug testing only in the context of reducing drugged driving, treating addiction and monitoring convicted drug offenders.It’s possible that we’ll never see the prevalence of drug testing decline to pre-1980s levels — it’s much harder to scrap a testing policy than to institute one."I think employers look at preemployment drug testing as 'Eh, it couldn’t hurt,'" says Maltby. "It’s become sort of a game. Employers know that it doesn’t mean anything. Anyone who smokes pot will just stop for a few days. It’s an empty ritual that nobody wants to be the first to give up."At the moment, drug use isn’t the barrier to employment that criminal records can be. Barbra Kavanaugh, executive director of the Employment Justice Center in Washington, runs an employment clinic that helps underprivileged people deal with issues like wage theft and workers compensation claims. Occasional drug testing, she says, hasn’t turned up as much of a problem. (In fact, one study suggested that employment prospects for black people actually improved in businesses that drug test.)Still, Kavanaugh says, she’d rather drug testing not exist at all.“Anything that removes arbitrary or unrelated barriers to employment is a good thing,” she says.Lydia DePillis is a reporter focusing on labor, business, and housing. She previously worked at The New Republic and the Washington City Paper. She's from Seattle.Source: Washington Post (DC)Author:  Lydia DePillis Published: March 10, 2015Copyright: 2015 Washington Post CompanyContact: letters Website: URL:  Drug Testing Archives
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Comment #8 posted by Sam Adams on March 13, 2015 at 10:16:25 PT
yup, of course the other problem is that there's no affordable housing for employees anywhere near places like Vail, Aspen, etc. 
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Comment #7 posted by The GCW on March 11, 2015 at 18:34:36 PT
Can't afford the gall.
Here in the Colorado mountain ski towns,  it used to be only clean cut, shaven type people were hired by ski resorts. Today, many people have tatoos, earrings everywhere, long hair, facial hair and their pants are falling down.Resorts either hire them or they're understaffed.Now, I've heard more than once, Breckenridge Ski Resort is having trouble getting enough employees.They are going to have no choice but stop turning away people simply because they use a relatively safe plant. They are unable to afford continued discrimination against cannabis users.If they could afford it they'd continue though.And that is the future.It is weird that cannabis is legal and there are plenty of employers telling citizens that if they use that legal product, they will lose their job.Maybe the change knocks them down.
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Comment #6 posted by Sam Adams on March 11, 2015 at 16:47:18 PT
very important article- MPP selling us out in 2016
this is one of the most important articles on MJ reform I've ever seen - it's a rare look into the process being used by the national drug policy groups to sell the cannabis community down the river, and move legalization out of reach in this generation - we will be stuck with these "prohibition-light" laws for decades to come: SatisfiedAn opinion on the latest MJ legalization petition draft from a MMJ dispensary operator>>>In what can only be called a "Middle of the Night, Dirty, Back Room Deal" the the Night, Dirty, Back Room Deal" the "industry group" negotiated new language for this initiative, which was released to only a small group and was dated Feb. 25. Individual grow rights are mysteriously gone after being promised to the activists and those who care to grow their own medicine until this late date. 
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on March 11, 2015 at 16:22:41 PT
We are the true moral majority! We are winning!
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Comment #4 posted by kaptinemo on March 11, 2015 at 15:05:39 PT:
The tsunami's coming, and the testing people think
they can stand on the beach and watch the real pretty, big wave roll in...while everyone else in prohibition is trying to get their arses off that beach before they're swept away or crushed.The tsunami is the generational sea-change that is being evinced in the electorate's attitde towards cannabis. Namely, they want it legal...and they WILL get what they want.The testing regime required political cover to engage in its' odious practices, and that cover was provided by the authoritarian so-called 'Greatest Generation' (that left so much for following ones to clean up, like the Cold War and the DrugWar.)It was a mindset best represented by such fictional figures as Jack Webb's 'Sergeant Joe Friday' of Dragnet fame, or 'Archie Bunker' of All in the Family. The characters were fictional, but the attitudes were very real...and acted upon legislatively in the form of the drug laws to attack those they hated.With their passing, so goes that socio/political cover that allowed for lawmakers and others in positions of power to ignore the inevitable violations of rights that occured, as the majority of the GG voters voted in blocs in very predictable ways, nd voted for pols that made the requisite threatening noises...and destructive legislation. Rights' weren't for the 'bad people' (who invariabley had skin tones darker than WonderBread) so if they got hurt or killed, they deserved it for challenging 'the rightful order'.Now, the entire prohibition machinery is at risk, as those replacing the GG's in the voting booth share neither the GG's attitudes or their ignorance. And nothing conveys their disgust with prohibition better than their votes for re-legalization.Which brings us to the crux; Those replacing the GG's don't want cannabis prohibition, but even more important is the fact that they don't want to pay for it.There. Right there. That's it. That's why it will be 'game over' in an instant when the pols start hearing from the new, taxpaying MAJORITY of the electorate that we want to End the DrugWar we didn't ask for!".All this inertia, national policy-wise, with attacks on cananbists engaged in the legal trade, as if the Feds can ignore that tsunami, will come to a screeching halt when the pols start hearing demands to end the DrugWar. Because the unspoken part of this is also obvious: we are the majority now, so quit with your dissembling and obfuscation, and get on with it...or your own political career might face the same end.And, why is that? Because: (say it any way you like, silently, or scream it from the rooftops, as you wish, but after a lifetime of taking some serious sh*t for unjust reasons, just let it sink in, deep)We are the majority, nowWe are the majority, nowWE ARE THE MAJORITY, NOW...AND WE WILL NOT BE DENIED!
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Comment #3 posted by Knowhemp on March 11, 2015 at 14:10:49 PT:
Meanwhile alcoholism is considered a disease...
...which means you get treatment instead of getting fired. I worked a lot of factory jobs in Wisconsin back in the 90s. Smoked the whole time and passed every demeaning pee test I had to take. What a joke. 
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Comment #2 posted by afterburner on March 11, 2015 at 11:25:18 PT
Reagan Executive Order Mandated Federal Drug Tests
Since drug testing is widely viewed as ineffective and expensive, President Obama could repeal the need for federal drug testing by issuing an Executive Order.
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Comment #1 posted by Sam Adams on March 11, 2015 at 10:04:11 PT
Wow, it's really legal - in the very heart of the Empire!  Imgaine how much it costs to drug test 400,000 people - probably enough to build a whole lot of roads or trains, or enought to clean the river waters like the EU does. Instead of primitive barbarismÉ...
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