DrugSense FOCUS Alert #193 December 17, 2000 

DrugSense FOCUS Alert #193 December 17, 2000 
Posted by FoM on December 17, 2000 at 09:29:01 PT
Even Feds Can See Flaws Of Drug Tests 
Source: MapInc.
The inherent unfairness of urine testing for illegal drugs is so obvious that the federal government has finally recognized it. As reported in the Wall Street Journal this week, many airline employees were fired for failing drug tests even though test results were completely incorrect.In the wake of that news, federal officials are altering some procedures in order to protect the rights of federal employees required to take urine tests. 
It's good to see some type of reform, but this does nothing for people in the private sector and it does not address all the problems of drug testing. Please write a letter to the Journal or another paper where this story has appeared to say that random drug testing is worse than unfair, it's unnecessary and its one more attack on personal privacy in the name of the drug war. WRITE A LETTER TODAYIf not YOU who? If not NOW when? NOTE: The Wall Street Journal will be a special focus for the MAP Focus Alert efforts throughout 2001. Please help us to inform this important publication about the failure of the drug war with your letters as often as possible.PLEASE SEND US A COPY OF YOUR LETTER OR TELL US WHAT YOU DID (Letter, Phone, Fax etc.)Please post a copy your letter or report your action to the sent letter list: sentlte if you are subscribed, or by E-mailing a copy directly to: MGreer Your letter will then be forwarded to the list with so others can learn from your efforts and be motivated to follow suit This is VERY IMPORTANT as it is the only way we have of gauging our impact and effectiveness.CONTACT INFO:Source: Wall Street Journal (US) Contact: letter.editor EXTRA CREDIT:The New York Times also covered this story. Please send your letter there as well.US NY: Workers Get Greater Drug Test Protection URL: Pubdate: Fri, 15 Dec 2000 Source: New York Times (NY) Contact: letters ARTICLEUS: US Issues New Rules On Drug-Test Accuracy URL: Newshawk: Jo-D and Tom-E Pubdate: Fri, 15 Dec 2000 Source: Wall Street Journal (US) Copyright: 2000 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Contact: letter.editor Address: 200 Liberty Street, New York, NY 10281 Fax: (212) 416-2658 Website: Author: Stephen Power, Staff Reporter Of The Wall Street JournalU.S. ISSUES NEW RULES ON DRUG-TEST ACCURACY WASHINGTON -- The Transportation Department unveiled rules intended to encourage more accurate drug testing of airline workers and other transportation employees and to ensure that workers have an opportunity to challenge results. But the rules -- which cover 8.5 million transportation workers nationwide, from truckers to pipeline operators -- don't go as far as some union officials would like in defining the procedures companies must follow in administering drug tests. The rules are also likely to draw fire from private drug-testing labs, whose trade group has slammed such proposals in the past as an attempted "public blacklisting" of the industry.In October, the Department of Health and Human Services said it was launching inspections of all 65 federally certified drug-testing labs that test transportation workers after a case involving a Delta Air Lines pilot raised questions about how samples were validated at a lab in Kansas. The airline initially fired the pilot and four flight attendants after LabOne Inc. reported their urine samples had been "substituted." After the lab's findings were questioned by pilots-union leaders, the airline offered to reinstate the employees because of doubts about the results. Transportation Department officials said the rules weren't related to the irregularities cited at LabOne or the Department of Health and Human Services inquiry. They said the rules are an attempt to tighten standards in areas of the drug-testing industry that have been loosely regulated until now.One department official noted that many employers started out running their own drug-testing programs in house. "Now, many outsource [drug testing] to third-party providers, and the whole nature of the way the programs are administered has changed," the official said. "There wasn't a whole lot written about what these persons should be doing." Among other things, the new rules would give transportation workers greater opportunity to challenge "validity tests," in which companies test workers' urine samples for evidence of substitution or adulterants, substances that conceal drug use. Currently, if workers fail a validity test, they can't demand a second test of the sample by an independent party; the new rules would allow them to do so. The rules would also direct companies not to contract with drug labs that have violated federal drug-testing guidelines. That provision has come under attack by the Substance Abuse Program Administrators Association, which represents drug labs and substance-abuse programs. The organization, which didn't return calls seeking comment Thursday, has questioned whether the Transportation Department has the authority to impose such penalties.Most of the new rules will take effect in August, although a few, such as the requirements on validity tests and penalties for companies that violate drug-testing rules, will take effect next month. Robert Morus, a spokesman for the Airline Pilots Association, said the new safeguards don't guarantee that workers whose drug-test results are proved false will be able to clear their names. He said some airline workers whose test results were later tossed out have been allowed to reapply for their old jobs, only to be placed on probation and accelerated drug-testing schedules when they returned. The new rules are "a mixed bag," Capt. Morus said. "There are some good things, but they didn't settle all the issues. ... There's a serious crisis in the [drug-]testing business, and they seem to not want to reveal how serious it is." SAMPLE LETTERTo the editor of the Wall Street Journal: While it's heartening to see the federal government finally recognizing some unfair aspects of drug testing ("US Issues New Rules on Drug Test Accuracy," Dec. 15) the whole procedure should be abandoned. Drug tests can destroy the reputation of those who have nothing to do with drugs, but the tests may actually encourage the use of more dangerous drugs. Marijuana can be detected by urine tests for weeks after use; traces of heroin and cocaine can be found for only a couple days. As the weekend starts, a savvy illegal drug user knows to stick to the hard stuff. Marijuana never leads to death like heroin, cocaine and alcohol sometimes do, but in a professional sense, it's the least safe drug. As usual, the disastrous zero tolerance tactics of the drug war aggravate drug problems while solving nothing. It's reasonable to implement performance-based testing to confirm or reject suspicions that an employee may be impaired on the job. Urine tests, on the other hand, have as little intrinsic value as the fluid analyzed, unless a high price is placed on an employer's ability to intrude on the private life of a worker. Stephen YoungIMPORTANT: Always include your address and telephone numberPlease note: If you choose to use this letter as a model please modify it at least somewhat so that the paper does not receive numerous copies of the same letter and so that the original author receives credit for his/her work. ADDITIONAL INFO to help you in your letter writing efforts3 Tips for Letter Writers: Letter Writers Style Guide: TO SUBSCRIBE, DONATE, VOLUNTEER TO HELP, OR UPDATE YOUR EMAIL SEE: UNSUBSCRIBE SEE: Prepared by Stephen Young Focus Alert Specialist Media Awareness ProjectPorterville, CA 93258(800) 266-5759 Contact: Mark Greer: mgreer mapinc.orgWebmaster: Matt Elrod: webmaster mapinc.orgDrugSense FOCUS Alert #192 December 7, 2000 FOCUS Alert # 191 December 3, 2000 MapInc. Archives
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help

Post Comment

Name: Optional Password: 
Comment: [Please refrain from using profanity in your message]
Link URL: 
Link Title: