Anti-Drug Show Pushes Testing!

  Anti-Drug Show Pushes Testing!

Posted by FoM on March 14, 1999 at 11:55:47 PT
Idaho campaign urges employers to drug test 

Coeur d'Alene The two roommates applied for work on the same day at Century Publishing in Post Falls.They filled out applications that clearly state -- at the top -- that Century is a drug-free workplace. Their job offers hinged on passing drug tests.
A doctor later told Century's human resources director that the women tested so high for marijuana they must have smoked a joint in the parking lot before submitting urine samples.The job offers were revoked.``We have a social responsibility to the community and we try to live up to that,'' said Chip Mullane, Century's human resources director. ``If you want to work, make a living, raise a family, you can't use drugs.''Century, with 132 employees, is one of many North Idaho companies that tests employees for drug use. Century's goal is to provide a safe environment and have happier employees.More businesses will be urged to join those ranks when a statewide anti-drug crusade Enough is Enough rolls into town today. The creator of the program, nationally known drug prevention advocate Milton Creagh, will be in town through Tuesday to speak to hundreds of students, parents and business people.The 3-year-old program sponsored by the Association of Idaho Cities is billed as a full-scale attack on society's drug problem. But it's also drawn criticism from drug counselors and legal experts who question the campaign's effectiveness and potential to violate workers' privacy rights.Enough is Enough began in 1997 when Doug Armstrong, president of a Boise television station, saw one of Creagh's videos and talked to the city's mayor about bringing the program to Idaho.Creagh, who lives in Atlanta, is a former television and radio talk show host who has traveled the country over the past 10 years speaking about the dangers of drugs and alcohol.He's described as both an anti-drug and motivational speaker. Creagh also writes books and produces videos and television programs about substance abuse.He visited Idaho in 1997 and 1998, but this is the first year his campaign will reach statewide.Armstrong said Enough is Enough has had a huge impact on Boise. He cites the example of a former methamphetamine user who saw Creagh on television and decided to get clean. Armstrong said two people who called crisis centers after seeing one of Creagh's presentations were talked out of committing suicide.``If we don't do anything other than that, we've been successful,'' Armstrong said.Since the anti-drug crusade began, Armstrong said, 74 percent of parents surveyed in Idaho's 14 southwestern counties said they are talking more with their children about drugs.Armstrong warned that communities must follow-up Creagh's presentations with action.``This is the kind of project, you will get out of it what you put into it,'' he said. ``We've seen some communities do amazing things; others see it as work and don't end up bearing much fruit from their efforts.''In 12 days, starting from last Wednesday, Creagh plans to visit Fruitland, Payette, Pocatello, Idaho Falls, Rexburg, Blackfoot, American Falls, Preston, Orofino, Lewiston, Twin Falls, Mountain Home, Nampa, Caldwell, Boise and Coeur d'Alene.Most cities, including Coeur d'Alene, have signed a declaration supporting a drug-free Idaho.``It brings the whole community together to say we're tired of this,'' said Dixie Reid, a Coeur d'Alene city councilwoman who is helping organize the event. ``Idaho is the first state in the nation that is trying to become drug-free, and I think we've got a shot at it.''Event organizers have created committees designed to attack the drug problem from different angles. Committees include those on law enforcement, health, business, youth and religion and media relations.``The No. 1 thing we're going to be doing is having reference information for students, parents and others if they feel they need some type of health care services after the presentations,'' said Jim Faucher, chairman of the health services committee and director of the Kootenai Medical Center Foundation. The committee will have on hand phone numbers for counselors, crisis center and agencies that deal with substance abuse.Reid said the program's goal is to make drugs socially unacceptable.``If 70 percent of the businesses are drug-free, then you have a hard time with your social life and a hard time getting a job,'' she said. ``Then you've got two choices: clean up your act or move away.''The way the event is structured has made some people wondering whether the organizers' expectations are realistic.``I have to chuckle when they say we'd like to make Idaho the first drug-free state. We're lucky if we can get a drug-free block somewhere,'' said Randy Myers, a Coeur d'Alene substance abuse counselor with more than 20 years experience. ``I think it's pretty naive to think that this guy's going to blow into town, preach for three days, blow out of town and our community is going to be affected in a great way.''Myers supports the principle behind Enough is Enough, but he wants people to be realistic about fighting Coeur d'Alene's ``monster'' drug problem.``We have a lot of parents using (drugs) with their kids,'' Myers said. ``There's an enormous amount of kids in this community using marijuana who think it's OK. Prevention needs to be part of a comprehensive program that people actually think about and that is tailored to our community.''Myers said he'd like to see Coeur d'Alene attack its drug problem the same way it has approached its recent downtown revitalization effort, with forums, input from citizens and organized planning.At least one follow-up event has been planned. A forum for businesses will be held April 13 at the Lake City Senior Center, focusing on how companies can establish drug-free workplaces.David Kilburg, chairman of the business committee, said 75 percent to 80 percent of the companies contacted by his group have responded positively. Some, such as Coeur d'Alene Mines Corp., Parker Toyota and Shilo Inns, have agreed to have their names used in Enough is Enough advertisements as examples of successful drug-free companies.``The other 15 percent are being quiet,'' Kilburg said. ``On a minority occasion, there has been a concern about mandatory drug testing, but that's not the flavor of what the impressions have been. It's the most identifiable solution at this point.''But what is OK for private companies may not be for public employees. David Rawls, superintendent of the Coeur d'Alene School District, is concerned about the legality of public organizations testing employees for drug use. Federal law requires the school district to test school bus drivers for drug use, but Rawls isn't sure the district can test the rest of its 850 full-time employees.``Is there a constitutional issue associated with it? I think clearly there is,'' Rawls said. ``Before we go down that road, I'd have to do a lot of studying. Constitutionally, I'm not in a position to feel comfortable advocating that.''That's what Jack Van Valkenburgh wants to hear. The executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho said private companies have a legal right to test employees for drug use, though he considers it bad policy.Not so with public entities, he said.Testing government employees amounts to an unwarranted search and seizure by the government, which is unconstitutional, he said.``Testing violates the Fourth Amendment, and the courts have held it so. We welcome employees to contact us. We are willing to consider a challenge to such policies.Some companies, like Century Publishing, say they're helping employees through drug testing, enabling some to kick drug habits and providing a safe workplace for others.Century began drug testing in 1993. Its program includes pre-employment screening, testing ``for cause'' -- if, for example, an accident occurs) -- and random testing. Since the program began, about two employees have tested positive every year, for using drugs such as marijuana and methamphetamine. The majority of those employees have been sent to company-funded counseling and have returned to work, said Mullane, the human resources director. Two have been fired in the past four years: one for refusing to take a test, the other for testing positive twice in a year.``This company wants to be known as one that sticks by its employees,'' Mullane said. It's also good business, he said. ``If we fire someone, we lose tens of thousands of dollars worth of training.''One Century employee who tested positive for methamphetamine use attended four weeks of counseling and returned to work.``I'm back here, and I'm done,'' said the employee, who asked not to be identified. ``I think it helped me personally. I'm clean. I'm happy. It turned out good. I think this company is really good to work for and they're good at giving you chances.''Alison Boggs can be reached at (208) 765-7136 or by e-mail at alisonb 

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Comment #3 posted by Willy on March 19, 2001 at 19:20:29 PT

You're correct Rev., but......
The implementation of performance tests would accomplish what they want; safe employees. Drug tests are notoriously inaccurate except in detecting metabolites in fatty tissue which even when present do not impair performance.(i.e. marijuana only.)I fear the change to performance tests will never happen.Drugs are just too sexy a subject. They want to proclaim a "Drug Free Workplace" not a safe workplace.I still like the idea of demanding payment for a negative test though. LOLThanks
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Comment #2 posted by Jeremy Maxand on March 19, 2001 at 01:29:21 PT:

Armstrong's Religous War on Drugs
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Comment #1 posted by Rev. A.S.Wright on March 14, 1999 at 17:50:41 PT

Get Paid to Pass Drug Test

Demand compensation for any passed drug tests. This violation of privacy is worth something to those who require and request them, I surely don't, so put a cash value on it. Legally, actions in any search that proves unjustifiable, i.e. a passed drug test, would deserve just compensation under the law. But this is unjustifiable to start, since no warrent is issued to invade personal privacy in a body search, urine, blood, or spinal procedure. If you pass a drug test, you get $1000 "drug free" compensation, if you fail or don't test, you either don't get hired, or depending on levels and types of substances, just don't get the bonus. The employer of, say taxi drivers, shouldn't have drivers with a 1.2 alcohol content, but a complete failing of the ephedrine test may assist a dozing driver. This is more balanced, and therefore more reasonable. The invasion of privacy is not worthless, and in an employee's market, if you don't get paid for it, DON'T DO IT! If drug tests are "a part of your job", demand payment for that part. This is part of your job you are not getting paid for. You can give up your GOD given rights, or you can sell them, or you can retain them all, but are we FREE to CHOOSE? Either way, it's an illegal invasion without a signed warrent issued by a judge. Has the Constitution been revoked, given up, or sold out? 4:20 Cannibis Inspiration
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