Adventures in Drug Testing (with Overthinker)


saliva_drug_test_201So, I accepted a new job last week at a substance abuse program (and will be starting it in a couple more weeks). As part of the pre-job thing in our brave new world, I met with the HR representative for a pre-employment meeting that (of course) was actually a drug test.

I was all prepared to pee in a cup, not particularly worried since it had literally been decades since I used any even remotely illicit drugs, when she handed me something that looked a lot like a mini-marshmallow on a stick and told me to put it in my mouth while we went over paperwork.

Not only was it an extremely effective way to keep me from that nervous over talking I tend to do, it also produced, in less than ten minutes, a highly accurate yes/no test as to whether I had detectable levels of six different drugs in my system.

That was so cool that I asked her to check to see if it was available for home use. Sure enough, she said, and listed several local and on-line sources (Amazon, CVS, and Target among them).

Having passed the 'not an addict' test (because what kind of person applying for a job at a substance abuse counseling center can't refrain for long enough to pass a test? Oh yeah – an addict), I went home and described the experience to my fifteen year old son, Overthinker.

“What, don't you trust me?” He asked.

“I do right now,” I replied, “... but if I ever don't...”

We dropped the subject and went back to whatever it was we were doing at the time.

The next morning, out of the blue, Overthinker looked up from his computer and asked “Can I get one of those drug tests? I'd like to try one. They sound cool!”

How many almost sixteen year old kids ask for a drug test for their birthday? I think I'm going to feed him poppy seed muffins for breakfast before he takes his test.

Today's dance explores the idea of drug testing:

  • Have you ever taken a drug test? Have you ever failed one?
  • Under what situations would you refuse a drug test?
  • Now that you know that at home drug tests are readily available (and dirt cheap), would you give one to your child? Why or why not?
  • How do you feel about the culture of drug testing? Do you think employment drug tests should be mandatory? Eliminated? Something else?
  • Under what circumstances would you hire someone you knew had a drug or alcohol problem?
  • Should marijuana be legal or illegal? If legal, should it be taken off drug testing panels or left on? Why?
  • How do you feel about drug testing for welfare recipients? Would your answer change if you knew that where it has been tried, it has cost significantly more to administer than anticipated savings?
  • Did you know that people who have been convicted of certain drug offenses are barred from receiving food stamps or federal student loans in the US for life? What do you think of that rule?
  • Have you ever used alcohol recreationally? Any prescription drugs in a way that did not reflect the prescription? Illegal drugs? Have you ever had a problem with any of those?
  • Is there a significant difference between addiction and recreational use? If you could tell the difference with a drug test, would that make a difference in your hiring practices?
  • If your child tested positive on a drug test, what would be your next step? Would it make a difference which drug(s) he or she tested positive for?
  • What drugs should be legal? Illegal? Why?

As always, feel free to share and like and pass this around. Don't Bogart the post!

Enhanced by Zemanta
Thank you for visiting Am I the Only One Dancing?

Join today to enjoy additional articles and links to interesting places around the webs, quick notification of new posts, and great free informaiton to help you build happiness in your life.

Enjoy the dance!

Email this to someoneShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponPin on PinterestShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterShare on Reddit

About odanu

Maureen O'Danu is the webmistress of Am I the Only One Dancing? where there is a new discussion every day on any one of dozens of topics and ideas, as well as reviews, geekery, family, fun, and enough politics to season the pot.
Bookmark the permalink.
  • http://profiles.google.com/blaisepascal Buddha Buck

    I have never taken a drug test; I don't expect to fail one if I ever do.

    I am generally against drug tests as a screening measure -- they are prone to false positives. "First Check", for instance, highlights that they have a sensitivity of 99% or higher, but do not mention their selectivity. Arguably, drug tests may be appropriate when there is some sort of reasonable suspicion of a problem, but even then it's problematic. If someone is exhibiting behavior at work consistent with drug usage, should they be fired for the drug usage, or for the behavior?

    One particular concern in testing is the length of time a drug test will show a positive compared to the duration of the effect of the drug. In the past (I haven't looked at recent testing protocols) marijuana tests would detect the presence of thc metabolites for up to 30 days after consumption, much, much, much longer than the duration of the high. While I wouldn't want someone working while high, it is overkill for someone to get fired for toking up on their vacation, far away from the job, and having ample time to recover. We don't want people showing up to work drunk, but we don't fire them on Monday for having too many beers on Saturday night.

    I do not have children; I wouldn't drug test them if I did.

    My hiring considerations regarding someone with a substance abuse problem would center around their ability to do the job I was hiring them for. If I felt that their use of drugs or alcohol would not interfere with their job performance, it would not be an issue for hiring. If I felt that their use of drugs or alcohol would create a trust or reliability issue, then that would have to be considered in the hiring process. Again, it's the behaviors, not the drugs, that are the issue.

    I support marijuana legalization. Some have suggested that marijuana should be regulated like alcohol, but I feel they haven't examined the confusing mishmash of alcohol regulations across the country. I think we can do better than that.

    Poor drug addicts, with or without kids, are just as hungry, just as in need of housing and medical care, as poor non-drug users. Denying them welfare benefits doesn't solve their problems. For that matter, I suspect the anticipated savings would be quite higher than the testing costs if farm subsidies, tax breaks, and other forms of government payments and benefits which benefit the rich and corporations were conditioned on drug testing.

    I have used alcohol recreationally. I am not a major drinker. I have not taken any illegal drug stronger than marijuana, and not that in years/decades. I have not had problems with any drug or alcohol.

    As I understand it, an "addiction" is when your use of a drug is causing problems with your life, and you cannot control it. Shooting up junk on the weekends because you like the feeling and it makes the music flow better isn't an addiction. Getting fired because your boss got tired of telling you to stop coming to work with a hangover is an addiction. As for hiring practices, I still wouldn't use a screening test, even if I knew it was 100% sensitive and 100% selective for addiction.

    If my hypothetical child tested positive on a drug test, I suppose a discussion would be in order -- how did this happen? what's going on? Then figure things out from there. Was he/she tested by the school without sufficient probable cause egregiously enough to consider a 4th-amendment violation lawsuit? Is this a sign of a larger problem with my child? Hard to say just from a hypothetical failed drug test.

    I'm tempted to say that all drugs should be as legal as, say, levostatin. Not necessarily available without a prescription (or similar controlled mechanism), but not prohibited, either. I would love to see a world where "relief from narcotic withdrawal" was a legitimate prescribing usage, and folks with a physical dependency didn't have to face censure, opprobrium, and arrest to deal with what (by that point) is a health issue. But that ain't gonna happen,

    • http://amnottheonlyone.com/ Maureen O’Danu

      Well thought out. Thanks, Buddha Buck.

  • jer

    I am going to change the way the United States handles their perplexed drug problem...One I want to know what perscription drugs this ladys on, and 2nd ask her how many Tylenol she takes a day, because those do nothing but lead to overuse and a majority of the time also leads to graduating to vicodin use.

    • Rich

      Yes I failed a drug test once; I had had poppy seed bagels for my lunch shortly before, So your plan with the poppy seed muffins . . . absolutely diabolical.

      • http://amnottheonlyone.com/ Maureen O’Danu

        Fortunately for my son, the only consequence to him will be for me to point and laugh. Even though I work in mental health and substance abuse I have decidedly mixed feelings about drug testing and the idea of absolute abstinence for all people as an ideal.

      • http://amnottheonlyone.com/ Maureen O’Danu

        Fortunately for my son, the only consequence to him will be for me to point and laugh. Even though I work in mental health and substance abuse I have decidedly mixed feelings about drug testing and the idea of absolute abstinence for all people as an ideal.

    • http://amnottheonlyone.com/ Maureen O’Danu

      "I don't always create a brand new disqus identity to comment on a blog, but when I do, I use tortured grammar and make no sense".

      What point were you trying to make?

      • http://www.facebook.com/andreas.schaefer.cologne Andreas Schaefer

        OOPs no html!

        Have you ever taken a drug test? Have you ever failed one?No
        Under what situations would you refuse a drug test?where illegal. Or where it implies selfincrimination
        Now that you know that at home drug tests are readily available (and dirt cheap), would you give one to your child? Why or why not?only with great reluctance - a test implies lack of trust
        How do you feel about the culture of drug testing? Do you think employment drug tests should be mandatory? Eliminated? Something else?eliminated except where lives are endangered - or mandatory but extended to all jobs - so how about testing all members of Congress every time they meet in session( and could vote ) [ of course then I would want the samr for the 600odd the are supposed to represent me ]
        Under what circumstances would you hire someone you knew had a drug or alcohol problem?when they can do the job.
        Should marijuana be legal or illegal? If legal, should it be taken off drug testing panels or left on? Why?I am in favor of decriminalisation. But Unless there are tests that show how much someones reactions are affected ( like they exist for alcohol ) I would worry about drivers with flashbacks
        How do you feel about drug testing for welfare recipients? Would your answer change if you knew that where it has been tried, it has cost significantly more to administer than anticipated savings?manbdatory testing for all robs them of even more dignity than applying for welfare does. But that seems to be the point. General tests for "worthyness" should always cost less than what is saved by them - anything else is not capitalism
        Did you know that people who have been convicted of certain drug offenses are barred from receiving food stamps or federal student loans in the US for life? What do you think of that rule?immoral - handing money to an addict may not be wise but vouchers that enable to basics ( food, clothes , rent ) only are the minimum ethically required ( especcially if one is christan , as I ain't )
        Have you ever used alcohol recreationally? Any prescription drugs in a way that did not reflect the prescription? Illegal drugs? Have you ever had a problem with any of those?in my youth I have gotten drunk to get drunk. I found that I did not like feeling sick and vomiting. I have inhaled in the 80's
        Is there a significant difference between addiction and recreational use? If you could tell the difference with a drug test, would that make a difference in your hiring practices?yes, with merely recreational use I can tell someone be there sober on Monday morning and expect reasonably sober - with an addict I could not.I was cigarette addict for 33 years, I know what an addicts word is worth
        If your child tested positive on a drug test, what would be your next step? Would it make a difference which drug(s) he or she tested positive for?Panic. Yes
        What drugs should be legal? Illegal? Why?illegal drugs make profit for dealers. America of all countries should know that. Also I think any adult should have the right to ruin hir own life