Drug Testin In The Workplace

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Drug Testin In The Workplace

Drug testing in the United States began with the explosive use of illegal drugs, in order to
curb drug abuse. This began during the Vietnam War with drug use at a climax. In
general, Drug testing is a way to detect illegal drug use and deter it, usually by Urinalysis.
Drug testing in the United States violates a citizens right to unreasonable search and
seizures along with jeopardizing ones freedom. Drug testing is not only an unreliable
invasion of a persons privacy but it assumes that one is guilty before submitting to the
Drug testing began to take place in the mid 1960s when drugs like Marijuana,
hallucinogens and other drugs were becoming widespread (Stencel, pp.201). The military
implemented mandatory drug testing because of the widespread use and the number of
Vets that were returning home because of addiction. Ronald Reagan pushed for
employers to implement drug testing and even had himself screened for illegal drugs to
encourage employers and to reduce opposition to testing (Stencel, pp. 200). The
increased concern about drug abuse has, in part, ben the result of the early 1986
appearance on the streets of crack-a new, powerfully addictive form of cocaine-and the
growth of cocaine addiction (Berger, 12). President Reagan later called for a second
war on drugs campaign.
In October of 1986, President Reagan signed into law a 1.7 billion dollar antidrug
bill, called the Drug-Free Workplace Order. In addition to the bill, Reagan instructed
his cabinet officers to create a plan to begin drug testing for federal civil employees
(Berger, 14). Drug testing thus begun a sharp climb into the area of private employers. In
November of 1988 Congress passed an Act requiring grant recipients or federal
contractors to maintain drug-free workplaces. Most of the employers set up voluntary
testing programs and many employees began to sue, claiming that individual testing is a
violation of privacy rights. The argument is that the employees are being deprived of their
Fourth Amendment protection. Many believe that government testing programs should be
unconstitutional unless the authorities have either reasonable suspicion or probable cause
that the individuals being tested are on drugs.
To justify the use of private employer testing, President Bush said in 1989 that
Drug abuse among American workers costs businesses anywhere from $60 billion to
$100 billion dollars a year in lost productivity, absenteeism, drug-related accidents,
medical claims, and theft (Horgan, 19). This claim was derived from a source that
interviewed families that were 28% lower in overall income than the average household.
This was used in an effort to promote Bushs war on drugs forum into the private sector
(Horgan, 21). Many behaviors of lower income people often differ statistically from
upper-income people, therefore the statement of Bush never establishes a clear or accurate
In 1989 President George Bush unveiled his National Drug Control Strategy,
encouraging comprehensive drug-free workplace policies in the private sector and in state
and local government (Stencel, 201). This created many controversies within the
American workplace and in National Treasury Employees Union v. Von Raab decision,
the Supreme Court upheld that drug testing was legal as long as it outweighs privacy
rights (James). Then, in 1991 Congress passed the Omnibus Transportation and
Employment Testing Act, which would extend drug testing in the United States.
Throughout the rest of the 90s drug tests were extended to the outermost sectors of
society causing drugs to become a significant issue during election times, although
politicians are never tested themselves.
The Fourth Amendment of the Constitution was created because of the rough
treatment of colonists by the British. The British restricted trade and travel and this gave
way to smuggling. British soldiers frequently conducted unrestricted house-to-house
searches. People were forced to keep their private records and other personal information
on their person or hidden in their home or business to avoid exposure and possible arrest
(Berger, 102). The Fourth Amendment was part of the Constitutions Bill of Rights to
protect ones privacy and maintain search and seizure guarantees. The right to privacy
was described by Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis as the right to be let
alone-the most comprehensive of rights and the right most valued by civilized men.
The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right of the
people to be secure in their person, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable search
and seizure except upon probable cause. Random drug testing threatens the Fourth
Amendment and has been called suspicion by association. This is to say that it is