May I Get Personal?

I’d like to discuss pee. Oh, not just yours, but everybody’s. You know, pee, urine? Well, specifically, something that can be done with it once a person discharges it. I believe some call it, “Making Water.”

Of course this begs the question of whose pee it is once it’s discarded (shrug). I understand possession of my household garbage changes hands the second I put the cans on the street: from mine to the outfit with the waste collection contract.

But it’s way too early to digress…

Labs can test the stuff for all kinds of stuff. Looking at my last results I see, Biliruben, glucose, ketones, protein, erythrocytes… the values of these various elements found in what I discharge can tell a medical professional a lot about what’s going on with my biological systems. In this particular case my pee is a canvas upon which my lymph nodes, blood cells, and even various organs paint a picture (pretty snazzy prose there, eh?).

This is a good thing.

Now, let me flip to the next page on that U.A and see what various proteins, compounds, molecules, etc. were looked for/at in my waste water. Hmm, amphetamines, barbiturates, opiates, tetrahydrocannabinol… What the hell? (the screeching sound of tires under heavy braking on asphalt go here and maybe a crashing sound with broken glass for the big effect).

Oh, c’mon, you knew this is where this was going to go (sheesh ;^).

What does this tell the physician? Well, I suppose in my case it tells that I imbibed in cannabis in the last month but not heroin or speed in the last three days. What value is this information? I posit, not much.

Drug testing via U.A. without cause was tossed out by many courts before the mid 1980’s as it was seen as a violation of the fourth amendment. I won’t bore you with court case history, but one around 1985 set the stage for the rampant disregard we see today. A horse racing commission wanted to test jockeys. Of course they told the state to stick it and off they went to court.

They state argued because of the stakes involved, the riders employment in such a vulnerable (cheating, etc.) trade, meant they should be allowed said scrutiny.

The court agreed.

Welcome to the pre-employment U.A.
Basically, what transpired was the U.A. was seen as voluntary, so therefore not in violation of the constitution. You don’t want to pee? Fine, go look for a job down the road. Easy-peasy.

The federal government jumped right on the bandwagon going so far as to require companies doing business with the government institute the same programs in their policies.

And a huge industry was born.
Just like the prison complex industry, court mandated counseling and the rest of licensed businesses dependant upon the War on Drugs for their bread and butter.

Okay, let’s step back a square or two here and ask: What is the purpose of pre-employment drug testing? Not everyone is a jockey working in an easily corrupted sport, right?

Well, that’s pretty simple, isn’t it? It’s all about preventing the “druggies” from killing people in the workplace, right? How can anyone have a problem with that! Hell, all of those programs have “prevention” written right in the titles, right?

Raises hand.
Wrong answer.

Drug testing doesn’t ferret out “druggies”.
All drug testing does is force a recreational cannabis user to abstain for 30 days before applying for work and occasionally blind side an employee.

I was having this conversation with an associate just the other day and she recounted an anecdotal event. A buddy of hers is a warehouseman. The cat jumped on a forklift, turned the ignition key and the battery exploded. His employer sent him off to pee in the cup. The guy came up clean, but that’s beside the point.

The point is, the defective battery was in no way related to the operator. It almost seems like an abuse of the system to test the guy under those circumstances, doesn’t it? Makes you wonder who he pissed off?

If a heroin addict can manage to stay clean for four days so will the urine be. It’s three or four days for meth and most other dope. Some can be gone in as little as hours (acid) or just a day.

I used to know a truck driver who quit smoking weed on Friday and Saturday nights and went to cocaine as his party drug. Unlike with pot, the coke would be gone in just a few days.

I’m of the belief the whole “Spice, Bath Salts, Etc.” industry is a result of drug testing. A case in point would be another associate of mine who was on probation for committing a crime. Said individual was subject to random U.A.s. Said individual wanted to alter his consciousness from time to time, so he turned to the “potpourri.” “Spice” wasn’t being tested for at the time.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not of the opinion it’s okay for the pilot in control of the next plane you get on to have a head full of coke. It’s probably a bad idea for a surgeon to smoke a fatty before picking up the scalpel. Etc. blah, blah.

I’m just thinking maybe some of this drug testing is not only a violation of one’s privacy, but in the long run it does more harm than good.

Telling an addict they’ll be U.A.’d once a week and every time they pop hot they’ll have to spend a week in jail and add another 24 hours to the drug counseling and be fined 100 bucks (the collection agencies get a piece of that pie) is the closest thing I can think of to a perpetual motion machine.

And the whole process is doomed to failure.

Wouldn’t it be better to help the individual secure employment and an open door to assistance, if and when they want it. I’m not talking a job like locomotive engineer, but certainly something is available. How different would the addicts abilities be than some disabled individual who’s given the opportunity to draw a wage?

Oh, and though possibly a bit tangential, how many functioning alcoholics would you guess are respected individuals in their respective fields (the first thing that came to your mind was Congress, wasn’t it? Heh.)?

And as I’ve ranted before, if the whole point of drug testing is all about impairment then why not test for that? Now, if someone wanted to come up with a multimillion dollar industry, a standardized impairment test would be a good one to pursue.

My whole point with this long drawn out soliloquy is:

1. Employer drug testing may well do more societal harm than good.

2. With 23 states allowing the medicinal use of cannabis and four the recreational, isn’t a positive U.A. for cannabis being grounds for dismissal or being passed over for employment ludicrous?

3. The War on Drugs won’t be won until the industries dependant upon it acquiesce. Such is the way of it in these United Corporations of America.

4. ‘We’ need to end this madness.


1 Comment

  1. capndrift said,

    August 22, 2015 at 11:39 am

    I suppose this is a bit unorthodox: replying to my own post? But then, ‘beins this is my bat and ball I guess I get to say what is or isn’t. Ah, yes … blogging fills one with such a sense of power! I’ll try not to let it go to my head. Heh.

    I was discussing the above post with my fellow subscribers on the local newspaper forum. One suggested I include my comments from there here.

    Why not?

    (Points the rostrum toward the chorus)

    The thing is, we’ve been treating recreational drug use and abuse as a crime since the Harrison Act of 1914. Because of that, the old adage “crime doesn’t pay” rings hollow. When it comes to dope it most certainly does pay.

    When I write “pay” I’m not just referring to the billion(s) dollar trafficking trade, but also “legitimate” businesses that have jumped on the gravy train commonly abbreviated as the WoD — though the Corrections Corporation of America (CXW) stock was down 1.12% at the time of this writing.

    I’m thinking something has gone awry when a state(s) has more penal institutions than institutions of higher learning.

    It’s been said ‘marijuana’ is the single most drug people seek counseling assistance with. Maybe it’s just that the 18 year old kid who got caught with a bag in his pocket would rather do the rehab thing than sit in jail for six months? And she isn’t alone.

    Drug testing has gone to extremes; fingernail, hair, blood, saliva samples? Someone is paying for the research going into the various ways to detect drug use. Do you think it could possibly be the very same people being violated in their persons? Maybe it’s the consumer who purchases products from corporations that institute such heinous searches? Regardless, there’s money in it, that’s for sure.

    Drug use and abuse should never have been characterized as crimes. What does it hurt if an individual does a line of coke, hit of acid, ‘shrooms, X, whatever a few times a year in celebration of a birthday, New Years, the solstice or just because they felt like it? Nothing. Not a darn thing, that’s what.

    What about the “addict?” You know, the scum of the earth? Isn’t that the way we perceive these people: As garbage? If they are garbage it’s because we’ve thrown them away. And what does that make us?
    How many crack babies are born because the mother knows if she seeks help with her problem, as soon as she learns of the pregnancy, she’ll be labeled a criminal and come under the watchful eye of The Authorities?

    How many drug related crimes are committed because we, as a society, have made it near impossible for a person struggling with addiction to garner a paycheck?

    What effect does a drug conviction have on one’s chances for gainful employment?

    There are those that’ll stand high on the hill and rant for every dime bag of coke sold on the street someone down south will die. I’ve got news for that “higher than thou” individual; the fact that the dime bag was illegal cost the life, not the bag. If coke could legally be purchased the headless bodies and those swinging from bridges would plummet.

    Moderate recreational drug (any) use isn’t an issue of any sort or kind.
    Drug abuse and/or addiction are a societal/health issue and should be treated as such.

    If one takes the blinders off and looks around the world it becomes quite obvious nations that treat drugs as a social problem rather than a judicial one don’t have near the problems associated with doping as we do.

    Maybe this country is run by a bunch of dopes?

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