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?
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.