drug testing

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Thanatoast, Dec 9, 2003.

  1. Thanatoast macrumors 6502a

    Thanatoast

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    #1
    full article here

    So what exactly is it going to do to our country to grow up in a society where you expect to have your rights violated? Some schools already have metal detectors and random locker searches. Will students now be forced to pee in a cup before we allow them to learn? How are these students going to know the difference between freedom and abuse of authority?

    The rest of the article speaks to the failed drug war. Is there anyone who can defend the tactics and abuses used by our government officials to prosecute this war? The criminalization of the population is a poor way to promote a law-abiding society.

    To quote a movie, "Why not just lock everybody up, then there'd be no crime at all?"
     
  2. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    #2
    Re: drug testing

    Just for the sake of argruement... Metal detectors and urine tests are common place outside of schools as well. Do you object to all metal detectors and piss tests, or just those that deal w/schools? If it's just schools why? What makes a piss test for a HS athlete any different than a piss test for a college, pro, or Olympic athlete? Heck, almost any job you apply for now makes you sign waiver saying you are willing to submit to a drug test if asked. Same goes for metal dectors. Millions of people probably walk thru a metal detector every day when they go to work. Why is a trampling of rights in a school, but perfectly acceptable outside of one?

    As for the locker searches, well, the lockers are school property. The school can search them if they want. Students shouldn't expect privacy in their lockers anymore than I should expect privacy on my company computer I use at work.


    Lethal

    EDIT: Just as a note, I'm responding to only what was in your post, I didn't read the full article you linked to.
     
  3. Thanatoast thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Thanatoast

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    #3
    Well, in the case of drug testing in HS, I object because they are testing not for performance enhancing drugs, like they do with professionals or the Olympics, but for illegal drugs, which is what business of theirs? My views towards drug use are somewhere around my views for alcohol. Responsible use isn't a problem, irresponsible use is, with any mind-altering substance. And no, some drugs cannot be responsibly used. (PCP comes to mind)

    And this proposal is to test all students, not just atheletes. I can't believe that being asked (demanded) to pee in a cup to earn the right to learn is good for students or society. If anything, we should be focusing on these students who (allegedly) have a problem and bring them more into the fold, rather than suspending or isolating them as troublemakers.

    I don't think drug testing is appropriate for the workplace either. If I'm doing my job, what does it matter how I spend my weekends? (You may or may not believe me, but I don't do drugs)

    As for metal detectors, they really speak more to the symptoms of an ill society than solve any real problems. People simply fool themselves into thinking they're safer on the other side. Another plane will go down one day, and all the metal detectors and x-ray machines won't have made a difference. There will still be a bunch of dead people.

    In fact, last time I was at the airport, I refused to take off my shoes. (Why should I take them off? I'm not a criminal.) I was immediately shunted into the "I am a terrorist line" where I was wanded and swabbed. What a joke. Since when did we get rid of the principle of "innocent until proven guilty"? "I'm sorry sir, your refusal to disrobe indicates you are hiding something. Please come with me." It's this mentality that has driven me away from flying for the past two years, not the fear that I might die on a plane, which is about the same, if not worse, odds as winning the lottery.

    You may have an argument there, with lockers being school property. But I still object to being treated like a criminal before I've done anything wrong.
     
  4. Sayhey macrumors 68000

    Sayhey

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    #4
    Drug testing for employment purposes is becoming more and more common as well. Do you want a new job? Better not smoke that joint up to six months before you apply. As if what you did six months before means you are incompetent to do a job today!

    It is an amazing intrusion into the private lives of Americans that has gone under the radar of public consciousness. The testing for drugs should be limited to individuals who legal authorities have probable cause to test. Otherwise it is no one else's business.
     
  5. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    toronto
    #5
    #1

    i landed a job a few years ago. when i showed up to orientation, they handed me a copy of their drug policy w/ a sheet to sign.

    i read it. i was to promise to not take any illegal substances, at any time, during my "employ" (i was actually employed by a subcontractor). further, i was to agree to surrender hair, nail and urine samples upon request.

    i told them i was not going to sign it. they said, "then you won't work here." i said, "fine" and left.

    as i walked out, i noticed everyone in the room looking at me like i was a drug-dealing scumbag (for the record, i would have passed any test).

    fwiw, the job did not involve public safety.
     
  6. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #6
    #2

    i was HR manager of a consulting company i co-founded. about twice a year, i had the same discussion w/ one of the co-owners.

    him: we should implement a drug-testing policy.
    me: why?
    him: because people shouldn't do drugs.
    me: have you noticed a problem w/ someone?
    him: no.
    me: what people do in their spare time is none of our business.
    him: but -- they might be doing drugs.
    me: is it affecting anyone's job?
    him: not that i've noticed.
    me: if someone develops a problem, we'll deal with it then.
    him: what if we just drug-tested new hires?
    me: what are you worried about?
    him: about employees doing drugs.
    me: it's none of our business.
    him: but what if it affects them at work?
    me: we'll deal with it then.

    and on and on and on....

    fwiw, we never had a problem w/ anyone.
     
  7. Sayhey macrumors 68000

    Sayhey

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    #7
    Re: #1

    zim, I used to be a union rep for a job that did involve public safety. We fought tooth and nail to stop the testing without cause, but finally had to negotiate a policy because the government mandated random testing. I know a lot of folks want anyone involved in the safety of the public to take these test, but it brings about huge problems. First, these tests don't test for abuse of drugs on the job. If you are a social smoker of marijuana - just forget holding certain jobs. Doesn't matter if you are the greatest at what you do, if the job is under these laws, you are going to lose your right to ever hold such a job ever again if you test positive.

    As to pre employment testing, we had no right to even negotiate these tests because the people in question didn't already hold a union card.

    Believe me, I have little or no sympathy for folks who go to work stoned or drunk. They need to be in a program and not at work if they can't control such substances to that degree. However, the invasion of people's lives through the passage of drug testing laws and pre employment screening is gotten far out of hand.
     
  8. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    Los Angeles
    #8
    Test all students and testing athletes for rec drugs only, not performance drugs, I disagree with.

    Drug testing for employment: At least in my expereince I never have, and I don't personally know anyone, who had to take a piss test to get a job. We've all had to sign the consent form though. I think giving consent is more to cover their @ss than to actually screen everyone who is serious considered for the job (piss tests cost money ya know). This also helps avoids problems down the road if someone comes in repeatedly backed out of their mind. If the stoner is like "f' you I ain't takin' a piss test" HR just holds up the form stoner signed. For desk jockies I think the drug test consent is more of an legal @ss covering (kinda like in the employee handbook it says you are only allowed to access the net for company business, hehe). Now, for people who are drivers, work in construction, man heavy equipment, or do anything else that could get people killed or seriously injuried I think they need to be randomly tested on a regular basis. I don't care what you do after hours, but I don't want stoned dudes behind the wheel of the dumptrucks at the gravel pit I drive past everyday. Know what I mean?

    Metal detectors: I was more refering to those in the work place not neccesarily<sp?> the ones at the airport to screen passengers. Not to hijack the thread, but any form of security is just a deterrent. Nothing is 100%. But just because it isn't 100% doesn't mean it's useless. I mean, if someone really wanted to they could break into your house. But, weathering permiting, I bet you don't leave all your doors and windows open 24/7. Security isn't about 100% it's about detering people. The more deterents you have in place the less likely it is that someone will by-pass all of them and the more likely it is that the criminal will say "f' it" find a less challenging looking target. If you were going to steal a car would you choose the locked car w/the club or the car w/the windows down? I'd rather make it hard for 10 guys out of 100 to break into my house than make it easy for 100 guys out of 100 to break into my house.

    Hmmm... /rant. ;)


    Lethal
     
  9. leet1 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2003
    #9
    Put yourself in the employers shoes.

    Employer:

    "Hmmm, this guy did drugs in the past 6 months, he might do it again while working at this job if hired. What are the chances this guy will start using drugs again or still uses them? I dont need to take that chance."

    I've taken 3 drug tests. I don't dissagree on the use of them.

    Don't think they are needed in schools though. Metal detectors and random locker searches, yes, drug test, no.
     
  10. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    toronto
    #10
    i don't have to imagine it -- i *was* the employer! my belief was that i had no right to dictate what an employee could/couldn't do when they weren't at work.

    as long as they showed up sober and did their job, i was happy.

    and i know for a fact that some people used drugs recreationally (i.e. they told me), but they were great employees.

    then there was this other guy who would come back from lunch tipsy sometimes. we had a talk w/ him, and it stopped.

    so had we done drug-testing at hire, we would have not hired some productive employees, but hired the drunk. not how i wanted to, not how i ran my business.

    here's a quote after a study showing that random drug testing costs companies more in the long run than dealing w/ drug-related issues as they occur:
     
  11. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

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    #12
    Freedom is being taken away from all little by little, wether patriot act, drug testing ,camera's everywhere you go soon you wont be able to pick your nose unless you get the Ok from Big Brother( Govt/Business). the problem is that when these people do something stupid instead of going after them they go after everything except the person screwing up. Big Brother wants to get more and more into our lives. Freedoms and Liberties are going to be a thing of the past. when im off the clock i still have to answer to my employer?what the heck?
     
  12. Taft macrumors 65816

    Taft

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    Chicago
    #13
    But this is much different than an office job. No one in my industry has a job in which their performance effects the safety of themselves and those around them. Drug testing doesn't make sense in that context. What is the purpose? The only thing they could determine, for certain, is that the employee had taken drugs in the past X months. The employer has no idea if that single data point means that the employee would come to work high.

    In a scenario where workers have a responsibility for other people's safety, having an enforcable drug policy makes more sense. However, my problem with current methods is they don't give you very much information. Ideally, just before starting work, these workers would get a quick sobriety test. Instead, they have to submit themselves to random testing which doesn't tell their employers anything more specific than "this employee used drugs within the last X months."

    I would never work for a company which required random drug testing. I'm good at my job, I don't go to work drunk or high, and I consistently perform. As far as I'm concerned, that's all an employer needs to know. If a company is so disconnected from their employees that they must use drug testing to monitor "probable performance," that company has problems.

    Taft
     
  13. G5ROCKS macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2003
    #14
    I do think employers have a right to have contractually agreed to drug testing. You don't like it, you don't work there. Stelliform's example shows there may be a benefit to the company and the employees by cutting down on drug using employees. If I'm in a situation where I pay group insurance rates, I'm going to implenent that kind of testing just to knock down the rates. I may even provide incentive for my employees to quit use of tobacco, even away from work.

    A friend of mine had the occasion to fire a guy in the ER when a drug test came back positive. He had been involved in an accident on the job. Construction work. He was operating a backhoe. He could have killed someone, leaving a very bad lawsuit for my friend's company, and the tragedy of a dead worker or two to boot.

    Such randmon test results must never, IMO, be used in a criminal legal proceeding because there isn't probable cause.

    So far as schools go, if I ran a private school and the kids were buying, selling, and using illegal drugs, I would take action to put an end to it, including locker searchers, drug sniffing dogs, counseling programs, testing programs, expulsion of "problem" students, etc. I would feel an obligation to protect the minors who were basically entrusted to me by their parents while they were under my care, and I would do it. When you get into the area of public school testing, however, you run into those various constitutional issues that make random or blanket drug testing very problematic, particularly in an environment where kids are compelled to attend school by law.
     
  14. Taft macrumors 65816

    Taft

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    #15

    "he might"--yeah, but he might not.

    "what are the chances"--statistically, no higher than the chances of a non-drug user.

    Sure, if an emplyee comes to work trashed on alcohol or some drug, that would be a bad thing. But potential employees have these things called references. These references can be contacted to determine if the employee was effective at his job or had past drug/behavioral problems. If the employee didn't have any problems at previous jobs and was a successful employee, does it matter that he used drugs recently?

    Show me some statistics or research which shows that employees who test positive on drug tests have a higher rate of "problems" than employess who test negative. Bet you can't. There is absolutely no such trend.

    Some good peices of info for y'all...

    Taft
     
  15. Sayhey macrumors 68000

    Sayhey

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    San Francisco
    #16
    There are many things that an employer could monitor its employees for that make sense from a business prospective. If I'm an employer and my employees are out on weekends doing dangerous sports that might put them at risk for injuries should I be able to spy on them and prohibit them from doing so? If my employees like to engage in unsafe sexual practices should I be able to monitor their activities and have them take mandatory blood tests? How about pre employment AIDS tests? Pregnancy puts millions of women off the job for weeks and drains money from the job, can I tell my employees that they have to stop having babies?

    I admit the some of the above is a reach, but the point is that employers, in most cases, should have no right to try and dictate off the job activities. To say, "just work someplace else" does not deal with the fact we are letting others take control over areas of life that should be left to each individual.

    Lastly, let me say I recognize that this is the classic "slippery slope" argument, but in this case it is justified. There is a steady erosion of our private lives in the name of what is good for business and some hard lines must be drawn by law or businesses will draw them for you.
     
  16. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #17
    here are some real life examples of things my co-owners wanted me to screen when i was hiring people (note that i put my foot down):

    - "we should only hire married people because they're more stable"

    - "we shouldn't hire a woman who we think might want to have a baby"

    had i not been there, this would have become policy. never mind that such discrimination is illegal.
     
  17. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    Los Angeles
    #18
    Taft, about references. Business references, from what I've seen, are quickly becoming useless because companies are afriad of getting sued if they give negative feedback on a reference check. Companies will confirm employment, but thats about it. Nothing is said regarding performance and nothing is said regarding why the employee no longer works there.


    Lethal
     
  18. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #19
    really? that's not been my experience at all.

    HR people talk in code to each other. and i'd hired some people that i was basically warned against. you know what? people are creatures of habit and i'd see the same behavior.

    i'd also never share w/ an employee what a former employer told me. have you actually heard of such a lawsuit?
     
  19. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    #20

    I have not heard of such a lawsuit, but this has been my experience with w/2 major corporations I've worked for and my friend had a similair experience talking w/the HR of a big hospital he recently got a job with. IIRC one of the local TV stations also had a similar<sp?> policy. Now, maybe I'm wrong and this is just an HR smoke screen to try and cover their butts? I dunno, I guess Just because it is "offical policy" doesn't mean it's actually followed.


    Lethal
     
  20. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

    pseudobrit

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    #21
    Good info, Taft.

    It's not hard to make the connection between random drug testing and decreased productivity.

    If you treat your employees like criminals and humiliate them like prisoners, they may just resent working for you. And in my experience, resentful workers tend not to care about the company.
     
  21. pdham macrumors member

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    Madison
    #22
    Just for the record, proffessional sports do test for and have policy against illegal drug use. (how well it is enforced is a different matter). So, that being the case why is it that you object to it in schools and not in the professional level?

    Paul
     
  22. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

    pseudobrit

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    #23
    Well, THC, coke, etc. can be performance enhancing drugs. It depends on what your definition of performance is and how it needs enhanced.

    With professional or Olympic athletes, where so much is at stake, it's best to make sure everyone is playing on the exact same level. Even many prescription drugs that provide little or no performance boost (I've been on some for asthma) are on the USADA's list.

    With younger players, not as much is at stake and the list of tested substances should be limited to the more obvious performace-cheats (anabolics, speed, etc.) while leaving the ones that have very little potential for enhancement (alcohol, marijuana, prescription inhalers) off the tests.
     
  23. pdham macrumors member

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    Madison
    #24
    Not as much is at stake? You clearly havent been involved in High School sports recently. I went to and played for a High School that was a powerhouse in soccer and Football. I know what has to be done these days to secure div. 1 scholorships. The most fanatical athletes are often at the High School level now. We even have caoches that encourage the use of Crieatine, not illegal of course, but what if an athlete needs to play for a big game because the scout is there. He or She thinks to themslef. "you know coach tells us to take crieatine to get stronger, he wouldnt mind if I did this drug just this once (any drug performance enhancing or otherwise).

    This behavior can be determental to an athletes health, especially one that isnt fully developed yet. Why not stop it where it starts.... which is more and more frequently at the High School level.

    Note: I dont agree with testing for everyone, but for athletes it may be worth considering because of the pressure to succeed that is put on adolescent boys and girls.
     
  24. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    #25
    IIRC, Clevelands starting running back got suspended for 4 games for testing positive for Pot. And I wouldn't call Pot a peformance enhancing drug. ;)


    Lethal
     

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