Saturday, August 29, 2015

Drug Testing Controversy - We Need a Closer Look

I've been watching this debacle closely for some time. I think it is a mistake, because not only does it seem that the premise flawed, but the numbers don't prove out the theory.

1) There are people complaining that it is OK to drug test people who work for their money but not those who don't? 

First, our tax money is not paying for the drug testing of those who are applying for or working at jobs where the EMPLOYER has mandated testing. This is not the government wanting applicants tested.  It is the EMPLOYER and accordingly, the EMPLOYER pays for it. 

When the state drug tests welfare recipients or applicants, WE pay for it.

Second, this comparison is similar to, for example, all attorneys have to take the bar exam to practice law, but those who had to take that exam feel it's unfair that everyone doesn't have to take that same bar exam, even when they have no desire to practice law. 

Or, I have to endure the pain and humiliation of taking a drug test because my employer demands it, so even people who are not qualified to hold my job, and are not trying to take my job from me in some sort of revolt, should be made to suffer the same humiliation that I agreed to endure as a condition of my employment. For those who have never had to rely on public assistance, even for a short time, I can tell you it is an incredibly humbling experience in itself. Adding forced drug testing makes having to ask for help even more painful.

2) If we can believe the numbers being reported by independent bean counters, the national drug use rate is approximately 9.5 percent of ALL people working and not working. But testing of welfare recipients / applicants in states that mandate testing shows that, while the rate of positive drug tests in welfare applicants ranged from 0.002% to 8.3%, in all states but one, the rate of positive drug tests was less than 1%. That's 8.5% LOWER than the national average. 

As in most cases where the government overspends our tax dollars on the ridiculous, these states have collectively spent nearly $1 million on the effort, and will spend many millions more in coming years. So where exactly does the "massive abuse" of our system end up?  With the state, of course. They will raise our taxes to perform unnecessary testing on people who have a rate of drug abuse significantly lower than the general population.  It's like the proverbial beating of the dead horse.

Yes, there will always be those unethical types that try to game the system, no matter what the system is. A determined enough criminal will find a way to cheat or steal, but that does not justify punishing the other 99% who are not.

Personally, I'd rather see our tax money spent in our schools and on our deteriorating infrastructure. At least we would see something that actually benefits the people, creating decent paying jobs and fixing what needs to be fixed. Perhaps we should stop taking out our frustrations on the poor and powerless and create jobs that pay enough to help them move back into productive society.