Adventures in Drug Testing (with Overthinker)

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So, 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!

  • Does Your Teen Need to be Drug Tested? (
  • Survey Finds that Most Employers Drug Test | CareerBliss (
  • Drug testing of lawmakers added to Kansas bill (
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