Put To The Test

  Put To The Test

Posted by FoM on October 30, 2000 at 15:58:45 PT
Pros & Cons 
Source: Spokesman-Review 

When it comes to making job applicants take drug tests, Spokesman-Review readers are of two minds. It's an invastion of privacy, the behavior of a police state, an erosion of the Fourth Amendment, declare some.No, contend otheres, public safety and social order trump privacy when it's being used to conceal criminal activity. If you've nothering to hide, a drug test is no big deal.Last month we invited readers to share ideas about how those conflicting concerns might be bridged. 
As the excerpts on this page demonstrate, it seems no bridge is in sight.A Violation of Privacy RightsMichael A. Bender, Coeur d'Alene: "It is very much like Prohibition when the nannies were in power back in the 1920s. You couldn't stop people from drinking back then and you can't stop people from taking drugs now. What you can and have done is create a criminal class that will eventually defeat this nation."When are we supposed to win this war on drugs? We've been fighting the marijuana war since 1937, and we haven't won it yet. In fact, there are 10 times the number of marijuana smokers today as ever before. All the government is doing is making our society less efficient and less safe than it was before, and giving a bunch of jobs to incompetent people who behave like Nazis with extraordinary legal powers."Gene Carpenter, Moscow: "One senator in the past would be proud of the requirement that people be tested for drug use if they wish to retain their jobs. "Many will not remember that scores of people lost their jobs because they would not sign a statement that they were not communist. The present requiremnt that people in some jobs be tested for drug use is as much an invasion of personal freedom."Sen. Joseph McCarthy's ideas and methods were repudiated by the American people. The citizens of this day and age need to object to drug testing if they wish to retain their personal freedoms."Bill and Joanne Peters, Kellogg: "We believe all drug testing for jobs is illegal. It goes against the Fourth Amendment."The very first phrase, `The right of the people to be secure in their persons,' doesn't give any employer the right to force an applicant to take a urine test. The medical profession and their cavalier and often inaccurate procedures shouldn't be forced upon so many people for insurance liability purposes -- and that's what this is all about. "Let us get back to trusting each other and give the insurance companies the boot."David Droll, Coeur d'Alene: "If the employee consistently is tardy or doesn't show up at all, if the employee shows signs of being on drugs while working or when public safety is at risk, then I could understand asking for a drug test -- with the appropriate warrants of course."But to require drug testing before a hiring decision is made, or to prove innocence in order to keep your job -- that's just wrong!"Gail Somers, Coeur d'Alene: "Testing all to screen out the possible few actual drug users works upon the polar opposite of the `presumed innocent' ideal. So I would have to believe that some actual probable cause should enter any circumstance. (Having a bloodstream is simply not probable cause.)'Drug Testing is an … Invasion of Privacy'Dave Kirkland, Sandpoint:I feel drug testing is an unreasonable invasion of privacy.First, it often seems that drug testing is conducted on citizens from the lowest ranks on up. Is the president tested for drugs? Are all our law officers and emergency personnel drug-tested? If we condone drug testing, persons making decisions for countries and cities and those handling weapons as part of their jobs should be the very first to receive urinalysis. In contrast, I hear about high school students, athletes and laborers of all sorts being tested for drugs.Second, what are we aiming to accomplish with drug testing? Is it about safety, or insurance rates? Striving for safe workplaces and reliable employees is commendable, but I believe this can be accomplished without drug testing or at least with modified tests. The present system is failing because persons may use legal drugs and illegal drugs that don't show up through urinalysis. For example, many prescription drugs, cocaine and heroin derivatives may be out of workers' bodies within a few days or a week.Finally, our society must distinguish between "soft" and "hard" drugs, if we hope to reduce problematic behavior. Persons are denied employment regularly for having THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) from marijuana in their system, yet they could have used marijuana 30 minutes or 30 days prior to the test and test positive in either case. They may never cause society problem one, but they are in violation of archaic policy. We should at least revise our drug testing system to be performance-based, not simply random. Most importantly, the testing must accurately show the most detrimental drugs. Our present drug testing practices come down unfairly on hard-working citizens.Social Order Outweighs RightsDale Snipes, Kootenai, Idaho: "Drug testing is no big deal. If a person has nothing to hide they should not be intimidated by it. "It's like showing ID when cashing a check or using a credit card. This practice helps the honest people."My daughter is a cross-country truck driver and has no problem with the occasional drug test. She feels that if the testing keeps even one bad driver off the road, it's good for all of them."If drug testing keeps even one `user' out of the public employee system, we are all protected."Jan Sarchio, Sandpoint: "You can't get a job at Wal-Mart without having a urine test. Big deal. If we can `weed' out some of the dope heads, all the better."Recently, Richard Butler found out just how responsible employers can be for the actions of their employees. I'd say employers have a need and a right to know, since the buck, ultimately, stops with them."Vivian Plank, Post Falls:"The people pay the salaries of public employees. I believe we should feel safe and secure that those public employees are not under the influence of any sort of drugs."Testing for drugs ensures that fellow employees are not using drugs, and when your life is on the line, that can be a real nice thing to know."George Rekow, Post Falls: "I served in the Navy for 30 years. During this period the Navy developed mandatory drug testing for all personnel."I was always in favor of the policy because it was there for the obvious, to protect lives and material."Those who feel drug testing is an invasion of their privacy should be more concerned with the gathering of personal and private information by government agencies than being involved with a program that is designed to protect the innocent."David Bray, Spokane:"It would seem that whatever legal test was devised by the courts to protect individual privacy failed to consider the extensive collateral effects of the performance of drug users. When one creates sub-standard employment conditions because of drug use, individual privacy should be set aside for the greater benefit of the public body, as well as the health of the drug testee/public employee."Ralph E. Hallock, Hayden, Idaho:"Use of drugs cannot be, in many cases, easily detected visually so testing is the only reasonable way to determine such use. Failure to do such testing and restrict users from jobs that might result in injuring or killing you or me seems just as unreasonable as the use of the drugs. "Why should we have to wait for something bad to occur before taking action?" Bonnie Spalding, Sandpoint:"We've become spoiled children who have lost sight of the purpose of rules and order. When community/county/state can't set the rules to suit us, the federal government is expected to step in and take over. Then we scream some more about too much governmental control. We're becoming a society who no longer believes in accountability and responsibility."Marty McCrea, Spokane: "I see very little difference in a urinalysis in comparison to a background check. They are both intrusive. I feel they are both necessary and should be mandatory for jobs involving the public's safety, or any job for that matter."The public's rights are being violated when employees are not tested." `The only people who should be tested are people who hold our lives in their hands'Deborah Lawrence Hale, Greenacres:Recently, some friends of mine were asked to take drug tests to secure employment as customer support specialists for a local company. One of them was really irritated because he was tested for marijuana but not for narcotics. I suspect the reason is that testing for narcotics would single out people who have legitimate prescriptions for pain killers. However, does the employer really want a heroin user on staff instead of a marijuana toker? For a job like customer support specialist, drug testing seems unnecessary. If work performance indicates an employee is under the influence of any substance -- including alcohol, which is not searched for in most tests -- the employee should be counseled and subject to disciplinary measures. It doesn't even matter if he or she passes the drug test. If the employer suspects an employee is inebriated or stoned, chances are that employee isn't performing to the best of his or her ability and should be sanctioned.The only people who should be tested are people who hold our lives in their hands -- such as bus drivers, airline pilots, truck drivers. And tests which indicate current use of mind-altering drugs (including alcohol) should be the only tests used. It shouldn't matter to an employer what an employee does on his or her own time, only what the employee is doing at work.Source: Spokesman-Review (WA)Published: October 29, 2000Copyright: 2000 Cowles Publishing CompanyAddress: P.O. Box 2160 Spokane, WA 99210Fax: (509) 459-5482Contact: editor spokesman.comWebsite: Drug Testing Archives:

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Comment #6 posted by Jeff - Indiana on January 11, 2001 at 18:58:40 PT

Post Consumption 
WOW! Testing positive for marijuana after not smoked for 45 days! I find that scary. I don't have a problem with working next to someone who just smoked a joint. It's the idiot sitting on the other side of me who just had a "three martini lunch" I worry about. The day someone can PROVE to me that a few beers is less imperative than a joint is the day I'll come off the wagon and start drinking again.It's really a shame that one can be fired from his or her job by an alchohalic bufoon for smoking a joint a month earlier.
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Comment #4 posted by Antianti on October 31, 2000 at 06:44:31 PT:

I read the comments from both sides...

...and I just cannot believe the incredible stupidity and/or ignorance of the people who want urine testing! It is none of an employers business what you may have done days ago as long as it doesn't affect you on the job. Do you have the right to know what your employer does when he's NOT at work? Only if it is affecting job performance or safety. That would require some type of test that could detect PRESENT, ON THE JOB impairment. Not these stupid, intrusive, and unconstitutional tests that only show PAST impairment. I took a test that showed that I still had cannabinoid metabolites(something that couldn't get an amoeba stoned) 46 days AFTER I had stopped smoking it! Is it really someone else's business what someone may have done(to themselves) a month and a half before they came to work? Would anyone in their right mind believe that I was a danger to anyone after that much time? I think not! Urine tests are an abomination to freedom!
Your 4th amendment is ready, sir.
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Comment #3 posted by AOCP on October 30, 2000 at 20:30:05 PT:

the feudal system's baaaaack!

>"Testing for drugs ensures that fellow employees are not using drugs, and when your life is on the line, that can be a real nice thing to know."Rambling idiot. Drug tests DO NOT come anywhere NEAR to ensuring that fellow employees are not using drugs! How freaking naive can you get?!? I've got a great idea, folks. Hows about we actually show some respect for people by granting and taking away privileges like EMPLOYMENT through their actual performance? Is this really asking too much? The krogers grocery store down my block get complete morons that can't even operate a cash register correctly b/c they require urinalysis! No wonder the lines take 15 mins. and everybody hates that store! You get what you put in and people get what they deserve! (thanx to Mr. Kid Rock for that piece of wisdom)Oh, and didn't congress have an opportunity to drug test themselves and their helpers (put forth by every freedom lover's antithesis, bob barr from GA), but they canned it, declaring it "unconstitutional", "invasive", and "unnecessary"? Huh. Guess what's good for the serfs don't hold up so well with the nobility. What a shock.
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Comment #2 posted by legalizeit on October 30, 2000 at 16:21:31 PT

No big deal, huh?

>If you've nothering to hide, a drug test is no big deal>Dale Snipes, Kootenai, Idaho: "Drug testing is no big deal. If a person has nothing to hide they should not be intimidated by it.Horse Crap!! I had to take one of these stupid, humiliating tests for a job at the Edison utility last year. I had nothing to hide, but had to drive 10 miles from the company HQ (which is 60 miles from my house) to some medical clinic. There I had to waste over an hour of my time and wait... to pee in a cup! I drank some water beforehand, because I didn't have enough to give a sample... I must have drunk a little too much because the jerk taking the sample said it would probably be rejected cuz it looked "too diluted." (I didn't know at the time you can take B12 to make your pee yellower.) Sure enough I got a call a few days later saying my sample had been rejected by the "lab" and I would have to drive back 50+ miles to that idiotic clinic, and wait another hour, to be humiliated by their uncaring staff and provide another sample!Don't give me any of that "no big deal" nonsense. It IS a big deal, a waste of time, and a waste of environmental resources (gas to get to the collection center, and of course all that plastic that has to get trashed just for taking your sample.) All for what amounts to a test for marijuana, probably the least harmful and least impairing of all intoxicants.Why can't the stupid Supreme Court judges get their act together and declare drug testing a violation of the Fourth Amendment? It's against the law (I think) for you to be tested by an employer for things like diabetes and AIDS, so why should drug use, especially pot, on your own time be any different?Enough of the drug testing companies getting rich off our humiliation.
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Comment #1 posted by drfist on October 30, 2000 at 16:21:13 PT

why should anyone be tested in the first place

if the NAS says that cannabis is safer than asprin, and that studies of the effects of cannabis on driving skills showed no megative effects and maybe an improvement. So where is the scientific justification, NO SCIENCE, must Be Religion, therefore an attempt to force religious beliefs via testing, like throwing suspected witches in water, if they floated they were quilty, if they sunk, well too bad, the ends justified the means and society was "safer" without the witches. We must recognize the situation, we are just in another cycle this time it's "druggies and pushers" the witch hunters still finds the pratice lucrative. We must understand the "drug wars" is a witch hunt /jihad with another name. We need to end it the same way the witch hunts were ended.
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