"I was bitten must have been the devil"

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Maybe I'm wrong here...

So, I've seen this picture all over FB posted by at least 20 people. It appears that all people (those who claim to be Dems or Repubs) are for passing a drug test to collect welfare. The argument most people have is, if I have to pass one to earn a check so should you. How many people actually have to pass a drug test to get paid that posted this? I'm guessing, almost none.

Now, I have done no research on this, I'm just going by my basic understanding of the Constitution to formulate an opinion, and I could have facts wrong so feel free to correct me here.

It is my understanding that your bodily fluids are your own and without legal action you cannot be forced to give them to someone else. Now, let's say you are a mechanic and you need a job. You go on down to Smith Toyota and they say "we're only high on life here, you must pass a drug test" well, really, they can't force you, you can say 'no thanks' and apply somewhere else. Next you go on down to Bochagaloop Motors and apply for a job, they do not require a drug test and pay just as well as Smith Toyota. Razah! You have beat the system.

Now, let's say you don't have a job or a very low paying or part time job because it is all you could get. Or you are between jobs and need unemployment or food stamps, whatever. The person behind the counter hands you a cup and says you must pass a drug test. Well, at this point you have no other option, you really need the money and if you fail (let's say you had a joint at a friends house the day before) you won't get your Government Assistance. There is no Bochagaloop Motors this time, you can't turn to another Government for a check, but wait! The Constitution is on your side, the 4th Amendment prohibits unreasonable search and seizure therefore the Government cannot force you to hand over your hair/blood/urine in order to receive Government Assistance.
I have even heard before that a place of work cannot fire you for refusal to a drug test. I don't know if that is true but I assume it is.
Anything I missed here? Is there a reason I'm wrong? I just don't understand how both sides can be for this and it hasn't happened other than that pesky Constitution messing everything up.


  1. You can refuse, true, which will mean the job interview is over. If you already work at a company they could tell you to get tested if they have a written policy demanding everyone in similar positions to get tested too, even if it is "supposedly" random. If you work where they do not have a policy it is a bit more complicated, I think they would have to inform everyone they now have a written policy and show it before they can start the policy. Now these tests are not free so companies will not have to many tests done once you work there but often have all applicants tested. Another down side of the company testing people is the testing once in a while is wrong or samples get mixed up so they (or the lab) has a chance to catch a law suit if it's wrong. I have a friend who works at a shop as a supervisor, smokes weed a couple times a year, birthday I guess, but the company policy is if test is positive they do a second right away and if positive he has to go to a few counseling meetings to keep his job, as long as he doesn't get caught 2 times in a year or 3 times total the job is secure.
    As for the gov. implementing it, it's going to come down to how it's written and tested in court. I think any legislation that votes it in should also have to be tested to stay in their position and collect retirement.

  2. And...... the republicans see spending money at labs is a way to starve the poor out while enriching the lab owners who you can bet yer ass are begging for this law to be put in.

  3. Generally, as I understand it, the policy at most companies is pre-employment drug-screening (I think they figure if you can't pass a drug test that you know is coming they don't want you) and after that 'for cause.' Also, some jobs are 'safety-sensitive' so those people are subject to random testing.

    Cause can be involvement in a 'lost time' accident or coming in some morning reeking like a brewery. Or lots of other things, no doubt. As Darrell said above, those tests aren't cheap so they tend not to waste them, hoping the threat of possibly losing your job will keep most people from coming in buzzed.

    The problem with some drugs is that they don't flush right out of you, like alcohol does. Marijuana especially is fat soluble and can linger for up to a month, though someone would have to smoke heavily and pretty much daily to build up that much. Darrell's friend who smokes a couple times a year is running a very low risk. I myself have been tested three days after smoking on a weekend (maybe it was even two days) and I was fine.

    As to whether people collecting 'welfare' should be tested: I've heard that it has been tried and what it mostly does is cost money and catch almost nobody. It's another form of pandering, in my opinion. ; )

  4. Oh yeah, as to the constitutionality of the whole idea of testing, at least as regards the fifth amendment, the Court has ruled that the protection against being compelled to testify against oneself refers only to testimonial evidence. Otherwise they couldn't even use fingerprints as evidence.

    As to the fourth amendment and protection against unreasonable searches; I can't quote you a case but I'll bet they have ruled, somewhere along the way, that there is nothing unreasonable about pre-employment drug screenings.

  5. Kevin,
    Fringe is right - the "golden flow" rule applies - You want the job; piss in the bottle. And, I would test for alcohol too. I know engineers at Rolls Royce that slam three high balls at lunch.