New Drug Tests Don't Add Up

Why punish ? Why not treat? Firing someone or taking away their welfare because of drugs or drinking seems to be a waste to me. Why not treat?

In Florida, the state employees are now going to have random drug testing. Their governor just recently signed a bill into law that makes random testing of state employees a law. They have a Republican governor, House and Senate. Georgia now requires testing for welfare recipients. The Republicans control both Houses and the governor, too.

So, both Florida and Georgia are under the complete control of conservative Republican "values." With all the conservative talk about less government, less bureaucracy, getting the government off our backs I see these types of changes as counter to what the conservatives preach. Wouldn't it be more reasonable to test an employee if there was some reasonable/probable cause? Test a welfare recipient when there are signs of a problem?

This new rule will bring a whole new layer of rules to describe what constitutes a failed test, a good prescription, or a fair random sample. Why, there  will even be an appeals process. Or how about a new specialty for lawyers to attack the state for wrongful termination of employment or loss of welfare benefits?

I don't think there are many people that grow up wishing to live on unemployment. There are many, I am sure that are on welfare, are homeless or have the very low paying jobs that didn't dream of these situations either. They may have a drug or drinking problem. They may have a mental health problem. In too many cases these people end up in jail.

And, now our state will take away their welfare for having a drug problem. Why not have the state offer enough treatment for all of these problems RATHER THAN  taking jobs away or cutting help? The cost of finding a new employee is high. The cost of jailing a user is also very high.

Amazingly, the real cost for the way we now punish, fire and cut are greater than a treatment program would be. That real cost ($43,000 to jail a drug user vs. $10,000 to provide treatment a year) would not include the increase in productivity our country would receive with the treated persons going back to work, the families saved. It just goes on and on.

Treat people don't jail and fire them.

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Ben April 26, 2012 at 12:25 PM
I think the DRUG Testing is a good Idea, Our Employee's have to get Drug tested to work here, and at other times during the year also, No Certain Times, These Welfare People, also people that want the Georgia Un-Employment Check, for being Fired, for various reasons, some I have Had to let go because of Drug habits, I first warn them, we have had there blood test, come back as postive, Then I ask are they willing to go to treatment Center, Most say No, some have taken the treatment and have kept there Job as long as they don't do drugs, Most don't want the help, they want to keep on doing Smoking & Taken as they want, Guess what they are FIRED. We do not want to have people on Drugs, working here, or in other peoples Homes or Business. The General Public does not know what is going on in the true work force, You have People of all races, that don't want to work, only want a hand out, so they can do what the want,
Karsten Torch April 26, 2012 at 01:36 PM
For what it's worth, here's my thought on this topic... Drug laws are, in my opinion, stupid. I think that drugs should be legalized, it's far cheaper to treat the problems than to fight the drugs. Drugs are a victimless crime (except when violent crime is involved in obtaining them illegally) so for me those laws fall into the same realm as prostitution laws. I don't understand why those laws exist, either. I also kind of believe in the Darwin thought concept - if people off themselves with drugs, well then, they probably needed to go. Just sayin. But, as long as they are illegal, well then, they're illegal. I won't do them for a number of reasons, but most of all because I don't feel it's worth me losing my stuff or my freedom to do them. And as long as people are taking my money to do their job (govt employees) or as a helping hand (entitlements) well then I think we all have the right to make sure they're not frivolously spending that money somewhere they shouldn't be. If somebody has the money to buy drugs, well then, by God, they don't need my money. And I think that's really the crux of it. No true right-wing politician (note I didn't say Republican, since they're not necessarily the same thing) wants more laws. We just want our money going where it does the most good.
Selena Perez April 26, 2012 at 06:25 PM
instead of making situations better drug laws make them worst in reference to the work place. they should be trying to help an employee or an individual that has an addiction like helping them with detox, rehab and a second chance instead of unemployment and other bad situations arising from an unfortunate and regretful decision. 85% of our population uses some kind of drug including alcohol, I garauntee you that some of the people requesting or administring the drug test are using some form of drug themselves and know how to beat the system. More people die and suffer related to pills and alcohol like drunk driving, liver disease, overdoses and others. you don't get fired or your benifits revoked or terminated for alcohol use(unless ur an idiot and get behind the wheel) or prescription pills. Just because alcohol is llegal and taxable doesn't make it better than the other narcotics. Were firing good honest hard workers for occasional use of cannibus and making the economy worst. I don't see how that is making the situation better. On the flip side when it comes to public assistance benefits and government organizations or programs, if our hard working american tax dollars are being taken advantage of we need to put a stop to it.
Karsten Torch April 26, 2012 at 09:18 PM
And Selena, I agree with most of what you said. However, there's nothing 'unfortunate' about those that do drugs. They made a poor decision. It's on them. If they get fired, then they get fired. I know that sounds kind of crass, but it is what it is. If I'm an employer, do I really want somebody working for me that is doing something illegal? Does not show good decision-making skills on their part. Especially if they're doing something harder. So while I agree with your basic premise about drug laws being stupid, you still need to keep in mind that they are illegal, and people that are caught with them or caught doing them need to suffer the consequences.
Tammy Osier April 29, 2012 at 10:33 PM
Bottom line on drug testing and then on treatment. What does drug use on the job make you? Impaired. You could kill yourself or someone else if you drive impaired. Pharmacy tech or night nurse? Wrong drug? Only takes one time to be fatal. And the list goes on. An Employer has the right to demand excellence from employees that represent the company. Treatment? Wish it were that simple. Work for the courts and see how many won't comply- even when court ordered. Parents doing drugs may not use money to feed kids. I think the new law is trying to bring accountability so that people will have the incentive to seek help.


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