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Patriotically Incorrect since 1999

It’s Time to End All Drug Testing

by Thom Hartmann

Drug testing is counterproductive, degrading, and invasive, and it’s we put an end to it once and for all. Although humans have used narcotics and intoxicants since the dawn of time, drug testing as know it is a relatively new phenomenon, and really took off with Nixon’s War on Drugs.

...[T]he ACLU has concluded, “…drug tests do not measure impairment. Rather than looking for drugs, drug tests look for drug metabolites…As a result, drug tests mainly identify drug users who may have used a drug on the weekend, as they might use alcohol, and who are not under the influence of a drug while at work or when tested.”

That’s the biggest problem with drug testing. If an employee’s drug use actually affects their job performance, then their employer can and should have a discussion with them about it - and if they’re seriously impaired, get them into therapy or out of the job. Any other probing into an employee’s out of work behavior is just a violation of their basic right to privacy.

Think of it this way: there are a whole bunch of things that can affect someone’s job performance. Health issues, financial issues, spousal issues, quality of sleep, you name it. And if any one of those things becomes a problem, then an employer should work it out with his or her employee. But if we took the principle behind drug testing to its logical conclusion, then we’d let employers install cameras in their workers’ houses to see if they getting a full night’s sleep. After all, poor sleep can impair many people worse than moderate drug use.

Of course, people would say that monitoring employees’ sleep is an insane idea. But it’s just as insane as making people pee into a cup to work at a factory. There is maybe a case to be made that some jobs, like being a commercial airline pilot, are so dangerous that we should require drug testing for them. But I know from years of experience as a pilot and passenger that the people who work in the airline industry are so concerned about their safety, as well as the safety of their passengers, that they will self-regulate even without the threat of getting fired after a failed drug test.

... Ultimately, drug-testing gives people a false sense of security. And false positives regularly cost people time, money, and sometimes even their careers. Most importantly, though, drug testing cuts at the core of our right to privacy. It gets us used to regularly having our privacy - including the privacy of our own bodies - invaded.

It promulgates the false meme that the Fourth Amendment is porous, when in fact it’s very clear in saying that our government has no right to mandate the inspection of your person or papers without getting a warrant first.

Excerpted From It’s Time to End All Drug Testing by Thom Hartmann