Drug Testing

There is a great deal of controversy in school systems today on the issue of drug testing. Drug testing would help our schools to be clean from drugs and the drug users.

Many people who use drugs do not care about their work or other students. Therefore if the students who use drugs get tested for drugs and get a positive test back they should be kicked out of school. By these drug users being expelled from school the consequences for the rest of the student body would be a cleaner and safer learning environment, more learning time, no drugs, and better pear influence.
Many students argue that their rights and privacy they have is being violated. As a student I would not feel violated in any way. A student should not fuss about a test unless they have been doing drugs and are afraid they will get caught. On the other hand the school systems have the authority to take away a many of the rights that we enjoy.

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This is why schools want to make testing an option for security. The Supreme Court ruled that drug testing in schools for an individual would not be discriminating to any person. With that in mind what if a student wanted to sue the school system he could not because laws protect the school systems.

Drug testing may have a positive affect on the offenders, by helping them realize that drugs are very bad for them and they should quit using them. If an offender quit he could be tested and admitted back to school, but he should be tested every week for drugs and if he ever tested positive the penalty should be very harsh.
Many positive results could come out of drug testing. Our school system would be cleaner and the learning environment would have fewer interruptions. With all this said the drug testing would save and improve the lives of many students.
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Drug Testing

.. ays Morphine 2 to 4 days Methamphetamine 2 to 4 days Valium 30 days (Bina 124) Today many companies are doing what the FBI has been doing for years, using hair follicle testing as a means of drug screening. Hair follicle testing is a drug testing method that is perhaps, less demeaning, less invasive, and less likely to be tampered with than the well-known urine test. Although, it is more reliable than urine testing it has its problems that need to be addressed. It is necessary for one to understand how hair grows to be able to understand the testing procedure.

Hair grows within a small cavity known as the hair follicle. Hair growth occurs when cells divide in the matrix near the bottom of the follicle. This is where tissue and blood vessels supply food materials and oxygen to the cells so that cell growth can occur. After someone takes a drug, the drug travels through the blood to cells in the hair follicle. At this point the drug becomes permanently locked into the cells.

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As new hair moves through the follicle and emerges out of the surface of the skin, the drug is permanently imprinted in the hair. Each instance of drug intake becomes forever recorded on strands of hair in chronological order of when the drug was ingested into the body (Brady 60). The procedure to test the hair for drugs is quite simple. Between 60 and 120 strands of hair approximately one-and-a-half inches are cut from the scalp. The strands are washed to remove external containment’s. They are liquefied and separate chemical screens are administers.

If a drug or drugs are detected, a second test using gas chromatography and mass spectrometry is performed to confirm the findings. Hair follicle testing costs about $50-$65. The initial test results are available in 24 to 48 hours. If the initial screening reveals the presence of drugs, the results of the second test to confirm the findings takes another 48 hour to complete (Brady 60). There are several advantages to hair follicle testing over urinalysis. For one, they are not fooled by consumption of excessive fluids prior to the test.

The test also has no window of detection because hair creates a historical pattern of drug use unlike any other procedure. It cuts down on the embarrassment factor because you don not have to be observed while going to the bathroom, or carrying out the obvious cup. It also does not require any special handling, storage, shipping, or refrigeration. Although hair follicle testing has its benefits, like the rest of the procedures it has its problems too. First of all, it is very expensive.

It costs three times more than urinalysis, because it is still in its early technological stages. It may also cause discomfort because the preferred method is to pluck hair out of the head in order to get intact hair roots. If the root of the hair is not present, very recent drug use (five to eight days) cannot be detected. The last factor is inconsistent hair growth rate. The “average” growth rate is this procedure is considered to be a half-inch per month, but that may not be accurate. Some people’s hair may grow faster of slower than the average. This difference is crucial in determining when the person consumed the drug (Brady 61).

Although hair follicle testing seems to be the most accurate way to test for drug use, there is much debate over the accuracy of it because of the difference in the way hair reacts with the environment. It is feared that African-Americans are subject to false positive results. This issue has been brought to the House Judiciary Committee due to several cases of job discharges blamed for what employees call false-positives (Kean 32). Hair testing may also be under fire in several racial discrimination law suits. Apparently, in August 1998seven Chicago African-Americans say they received erroneous hair test results when applying for the Police Academy. All seven have filed complaints of racial discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The complaints are currently under investigation, and the group is considering suing both the city of Chicago and Psychemedics, the testing facility. The procedure is said by some to be inaccurate and to give false positives disproportionately to African Americans. Also, blonde hair, dark hair and dyed hair react differently thus creating questions of equity among ethnic groups and genders. A study released by the National Institute of Drug Abuse shows that dark, coarse hair of many African Americans, Hispanics, and Asians is more likely to retain external contamination, such as drug residues absorbed from the environment. Black hair retained drugs at a rate up to fifty times higher than the white hair (Kean 34). Hair testing facilities insist that hair samples are washed thoroughly to remove the hair surface, which totally eliminates any external environmental contaminants before testing.

There may also be a reason that no hair testing has been federally certified, and Psychemedics has refused to disclose its testing and analysis procedures to the scientific community. In 1998, Sergeant Duane Adens, an African American was discharged from his fourteen-year job at the Pentagon for allegedly failing a hair test. Adens was six years away from retirement when two agents from the Army’s Critical Investigation Division asked him to testify against an associate of his, who had been accused of stealing. Adens refused because he had no knowledge of the crime. He was later threatened with his job due to the refusal, and given a urine test which he passed.

Three months later Adens was forced to provide samples of his pubic hair for drug testing. He was never given an opportunity to sign off on the hair to identify it as his own, and much to his surprise it came back positive. Seven urinalysis tests had been taken over the course of a year and a half, and all came back negative. The sergeant’s attorney requested a DNA test to verify the identity of the hair, and the U.S. Army denied his request. Because of the hair-test results, Adens received a bad conduct discharge and was robbed of something he had worked hard at for fourteen years of his life (Kean 35-36).

Hair testing opponents also argue that the test is unfair because it can expose genetic information contained in DNA, such as hereditary defects or a predisposition to certain diseases. Opponents are worried that this data may be used to their disadvantage by insurance companies, as a way to deny them coverage. Companies could also use this information to bar promotions because someone may be likely to suffer a major illness later in life (Curry 163). In conclusion, I would like to point out that companies and schools who are considering implementing a drug testing policy must be very careful and follow all of the rules. The policy should prohibit the use, possession, sale or transfer of illegal drugs in the workplace, and more detailed policies will prohibit all of these on or off company time. The company must also give the employee the ability to explain any positive results.

In some states, employers are required to accommodate an employee’s request for unpaid time off for rehab (Flynn 107). Usually it is in everyone’s best interest to allow an employee time for rehabilitation because if a good employee is saved, everyone benefits. Positivity Rates by Testing Category Testing Category 1998 1997 1996 1995 Federally Mandated, Safety-Sensitive Workforce 3.4% 3.5% 3.6% 3.4% General Workforce 5.0% 5.2% 6.4% 7.5% Combined U.S. Workforce 4.8% 5.0% 5.8% 6.7% (Johnson) EXIBIT 1 (Johnson) EXIBIT 2 Positivity Rates By Testing Reason (For Federally Mandated, Safety Sensitive Workforce) (More than 650,000 tests from January to December,1998) Testing Reason 1998 1997 For Cause 15.3% 14.4% Periodic 1.4% 1.9% Post-Accident 4.3% 4.3% Pre-Employment 3.8% 3.8% Random 2.7% 2.9% Returned to Duty 4.8% 5.9% Positive Rates By Drug Category (For Federally Mandated, Safety-Sensitive Workforce, as a percentage of all such tests) (More than 650,000 tests from January to December, 1998) Drug Category 1998 1997 Amphetamines 0.25% 0.30% Cocaine 0.78% 0.73% Marijuana 1.87% 2.0% Opiates 0.49% 0.53% PCP 0.05% 0.04% Positive Rates By Drug Category (For General U.S. Workforce, as a percentage of all such tests) (More than 5 million tests from January to December, 1998) Drug Category 1998 1997 Amphetamines 0.20% 0.26% Barbiturates 0.38% 0.35% Benzodiazepines 0.55% 0.59% Cocaine 0.91% 0.90% Marijuana 3.17% 3.4% Methadone 0.06% 0.07% Opiates 0.50% 0.50% PCP 0.01% 0.01% Propoxyphene 0.29% 0.27% (Johnson) EXHIBIT 3 Positive Results By Drug Category (For Federally Mandated, Safety-Sensitive Workers, as a percentage of all positives) (More than 650,000 tests from January to December, 1998) Drug Category 1998 1997 Amphetamines 7.1% 8.1% Cocaine 22.3% 20% Marijuana 54.7% 56% Nitrites 0.32% NA% Opiates 14% 15% PCP 1.6% 1.2% Positive Results By Drug Category (For Combined U.S.

Workforce, as a percentage of All Positives) (More than 5.7 million tests from January to December, 1998) Drug Category 1998 1997 Amphetamines 4.0% 4.9% Barbiturates 3.0% 3.0% Benzodiazepines 3.4% 3.9% Cocaine 17.6% 16% Marijuana 59.2% 60% Methadone 0.36% 0.41% Methaqualone 0.0007% 0.0002% Nitrites 0.63% NA% Opiates 9.7% 9.4% PCP 0.37% 0.34% Propoxyphene 1.7% 1.6% Rates By Testing Positivity Reason (For General Workforce) (More than 5 million tests from January to December, 1998) Testing Reason 1998 1997 For Cause 25.3% 26.7% Periodic 4.9% 5.2% Post-Accident 6.4% 6.8% Pre-Employment 4.6% 4.7% Random 7.3% 8.3% Returned to Duty 7.2% 6.1% (Johnson) EXHIBIT 4 EXHIBT 5 (Johnson) (Johnson) Exhibit 6 Legal Issues.

Drug testing

The ethics of drug testing has become an increased concern for many companies in the recent years. More companies are beginning to use it and more people are starting more to have problems with it. The tests are now more than ever seen as a way to stop the problems of drug abuse in the workplace.

This brings up a very large question. Is drug testing an ethical way to decide employee drug use? It is also very hard to decide if the test is an invasion of employee privacy. The ethical status of workplace drug testing can be expressed as a question of competing interests, between the employers right to use testing to reduce drug related harms and maximize profits, over against the employees right to privacy, particularly with regard to drug use which occurs outside the workplace. (Cranford 2)
The rights of the employee have to be considered. The Supreme Court case, Griswold vs. Connecticut outlines the idea that every person is entitled to a privacy zone. However this definition covers privacy and protection from government. To work productively especially when the work may be physical it is nearly impossible to keep ones privacy.
The relationship between employer and employee is based on a contract. The employee provides work for the employer and in return he is paid. If the employee cannot provide services because of problems such as drug abuse, then he is violating the contract. Employers have the right to know many things about their employees. Job skills and training can even be investigated by the employer.
The employee is to perform services and these services must be done in a certain manner. Someone who is incoherent because of drug abuse cannot be a pilot for example. This is why employers can test to see if characteristics or tendencies would affect performance.
An employee may not want to give a urine or blood sample. The employee may not want to include all of their references but this is besides the fact that an employer is entitled to them. More and more employers are starting to feel this way. “A 1996 survey by the American Management Association found 81 percent of major U.S. companies had drug-testing programs at that time compared with 78 percent in 1995 and just 22 percent in 1987.” (May 2)
The employer has a right to only certain information and the line must also be drawn in the procedure to obtain the information. For example a polygraph has been known to make mistakes so this cannot be the sole source of information.
The procedure in which the tests are taken is a major concern. This decision went all the way to the Supreme Court. Samuel K. Skinner v. Railway Labor Executives Association found that urine and blood tests were minimally obtrusive. The taking of blood was found to cause no real pain or risk and is commonly done in ordinary life. The taking of urine in a medical situation with no observation was also found not to cause intrusions. Drug tests check for illegal substances. With this exactness drug testing is the most efficient way to find which employees are using drugs.
While some could argue that a certain employee’s performance on drugs would be below the level of another employee’s performance that is not on drugs but is just a poor performer. This leads into the most important point of the entire essay that employees have the right to a workplace that is free from the many problems of drugs.

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It could possibly be argued that since employers have to allow their employees time off and times of decreased performance due to problems such as sickness and pregnancy that they should allow excuses for drugs. However drug use is an addiction. Depending on the addiction it must be met frequently. Problems such as sickness go away but addictions are constant and not allowable. The work that the employee puts in should be their best. Since the employer has purchased the employees time, the employer has a proprietary right to ensure that the time purchased is used as efficiently as possible.(Cranford 6)
Many people have a problem with employees having to choose between their job and their drugs. For example what if the person is hooked and cannot do anything about their addiction. Should the person have to live with no means of income because of their addiction? It is a difficult question to answer. Addicts are people who have needs like anyone else. Should they be denied the means to basic necessities such as food and shelter that a job would provide? The solution to this problem should be found in treatment to the individual while they maintain their job. The drug testing itself forces employees to confront the problems that they have. It is possible that people will see companies as cruel when they try to get the most production out of their people. However, a work force that is clean and sober is a win for both sides. “The financial status of the company is inherently intertwined with the good of employees; as the corporation becomes increasingly profitable, employees are increasingly benefited.”(Cranford 8)
Some parties argue “placing employees in a position where they must choose between maintaining their privacy or losing their jobs is fundamentally coercive.”(Cranford 6) This decision is easy to make for most employees and they take the test. Those people who already are in employment and refuse become suspect. People who are applying for jobs and refuse are not considered at all or seen on an extremely negative scale.
Another argument that has a number of holes through it is the idea that what an employee does on their own time is their own decision. This should be allowable for most things even those on the borderline. An employer may not want their employees to go hunting or skydiving on the weekends because of the potential for harm to the investment a company has in an employee. However, this should not be enforceable because it has no everyday effect on their work. Unless the person perishes in a crash, skydiving has no effect on a person’s Monday morning management skills. Now if an employee is involved with illegal drugs on their own time the effects linger in their system. Even when there are no drugs in the system this is when the body craves more to satisfy their addiction. An addiction is not able to stay just within the bounds of the employees own time.
There should be an outline for giving the tests. The tests should be given only when the behavior is unusual and bizarre. The tests should be given without prior notice to reduce the chance that employees could foil the test. The employees that fail the test should be allowed to keep their jobs while receiving their treatment. Termination should only come after treatment has been refused or failed.
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