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                            DRUG TESTING.
                          IS IT WORTH IT ?

Unaltered distribution is encouraged: copyright 1993 Brian S. Julin

I encourage the cross-posting of this material to general and
local discussion groups and BBS's, or wherever else you think it
may do some good.  In fact I *ask* you to do so personally.  Hang
it up on the office bulletin board, if you have the guts to, and
send a copy of via anonymous agent to the chairmen, c.e.o.'s, and
policy makers of your company.  




Testing for drugs in the work-place has become a very hot issue
on USENET lately.  Several groups have lengthy threads discussing
the morality and/or civil liberties aspects of urinalysis. 
Usually these threads end up deadlocked between libertarian and
more conservative viewpoints, as characterized by the following
archetypical discussion:

Joe:  Drug testing violates the individual's rights to privacy,
and that is that.

Bob:  But the individual's rights must be balanced against the
good of society.

Joe:  Nuh UHHHHHHhhhhhHHHHH.

Bob:  Uh HuhhhhhHHHHHhhhhhh.

Now, I am very inclined toward the libertarian standpoint, in
that I think that anyone who doesn't stand up for their rights
now won't have them much longer, but this is not what I want to
argue right now.  I could sit here and type until I was blue in
the keyboard and it would not do any good because 68% of the
people who will read this post believe that drug testing by
employers is acceptable, and that is that is that.

What I want to do instead is to provide a second argument against
drug testing which does not have its basis on ideological
premises, but on sheer common sense coupled with rational wisdom. 
It is actually a rather old set of arguments that have simply
been overlooked and ignored, but you will be seeing a lot more of
them soon, I would venture.

In the following, numbers in brackets [] indicate that the
surrounding subject matter is drawn from one of the sources
listed at the end of this post.  

The basic argument which I will use can be summarized as follows:

Why do we drug test?  `Simple,' you say, `we drug test employees
to make the work-place safer and prevent the waste which is
associated with drug use.  We drug test to discourage drug use
and to find and treat drug users.'-- but what if I were to tell
you that there was no waste?  What if I were to say that you
should not worry about drug users, but it is only the drug
abusers which need help?  `Absurd,' you say `everyone knows that
drug use is America's biggest problem: it costs billions of
dollars a year in lost productivity.'

But does it?

And even if it does, will drug testing fix the problem?

It seems to me that these are some very important questions, the
answers to which everyone seems to know.  If you take a closer
look at these questions, though, you may not find what you

With the following, I will demonstrate that:

1) The "drug epidemic'' does not pose the huge threat to public
health and safety that some many claim.

2) Currently legal drugs cause more problems than illicit drugs.

3) Even if it were desirable to address casual drug use as a
problem, urinalysis is not the way to do it.

4) Urinalysis itself represents a counter-progressive social
strategy, a colossal waste of our industrial resources, and does
more harm to businesses than good.

5) Stopping and/or monitoring work-place drug testing is
everyone's problem -- both employers and employees must actively
resist the drug testing industry, or at least be concerned enough
to make sure that the industry plays fair and that the tests are
applied fairly.  (In this respect, NIDA officials should not own
drug testing companies[], The PDFA should be required to back its
claims with hard evidence[], more harmful drugs should be dealt
with more severely -- including legal drugs, etc.)

                      THE SO CALLED CRISIS

Former President George Bush once claimed that use of illicit
drugs cost society over sixty billion dollars annually.  It is
this claim that fueled the popular movement to install drug
testing in the public work-place.  However, the claim is false. 
The sixty billion dollar figure was arrived at from a study
done by the Research Triangle Institute, which tallied the
results of a survey of households.  The survey found that the
income of households in which any one member admitted having ever
used marijuana, whether it was every day for the last four years
or once in high school twenty years ago, was lower, on the
average, than the households in which people claimed to have
never used the drug.

The researchers, without considering external factors, defined
this as economic loss due to marijuana use.  Through a flimsy
chain of extrapolation, which included adding the estimated costs
of drug related crime, they arrived at a total figure of forty-
seven million dollars.

The Bush administration liked this statistic a whole lot, because
it supported the War on Drugs.  They added an adjustment for
inflation and other economic factors to get the sixty billion
dollar figure, and then publicized this figure widely.

What the Bush administration didn't say quite as loudly was that
the RTI study also showed *no* economic loss for current and
multi-drug users.  Does this mean that people who *quit* using
marijuana, or *don't* use other drugs along with marijuana, are
the real problem?  Of course not, but it does show that the RTI
study was flawed, and suggests that the whole estimate of drug-
use related cost was a fluke[1].  

Other studies which have purported to show that all drug users
are bad workers, or tend to be in bad health, have been routinely
shot down by the medical community[8][9][4][3][1][13].  Many of
these studies have ended up in our newspapers and magazines, and
as a result, Americans now actually believe that casual drug use
is a threat in the work-place[1][2][3], even though no such study
has been accepted by the scientific community.  It is also
unusual to note that not many studies have been done on
successful drug users, and that when one is, it rarely gets into
the daily papers, but remains in medical journals where only
doctors and medical students get to see it[13].

The media has shown a definite anti-drug bias in reporting these
studies, further warping the average American's assessment of the
actual situation of casual drug use[3].  To make matters worse,
several times the media has played up accidents which may or may
not have involved drugs as `caused by drug use'[13].  When an
accident occurs and the driver or pilot tests positive for drugs,
the newspapers will jump right on the story.  In almost all of
these cases, other reasons are found for the accident -- faulty
equipment, alcohol use, etc.[3]  In one case, the drug test which
showed a train driver to be using marijuana was a false positive! 
By the time these things are found out, though, the damage has
already been done.

From the standpoint of journalism, this reflects very poorly on
the American media, which stands accused of sensationalism.  From
the standpoint of business, this makes a lot of sense:  people
are a lot more likely to want to read a front-page article about
a train crash and how it might be the result of drug use.  They
are less likely to want to hear out a huge argument as to the
actual cause of the accident.  Since many people only read the
first few articles in any particular news story, (and many only
watch the news on television, or read the headlines and front
page) they have been left with the impression that casual drug
use represents some sort of huge crisis.

This impression has been communicated to their public officials
and representatives, who have tried to defeat the `drug problem'
through laws and programs.  In the case of the train driver
mentioned above, the hysteria surrounding the crash resulted in
the passing of an unprecedented budget for George Bush's Drug


I would like to "press pause'' on this discussion and pick it up
later, so that some of the other aspects of drug testing can be
discussed.  This topic is further discussed below.



No laboratory process is completely free from error -- mistakes
do happen.  Even with today's legal restrictions on the accuracy
of employee drug testing, there is still a chance that non-drug
users will "fail'' a drug test.  Failing a drug test -- even if
you pass another test later on -- can have a lot of undesirable

If you were to fail drug test and claim innocence, you would be
interviewed by a medical review official, an MRO, who would try
to find out why you tested positive.  During this interview, a
lot of personal information is asked for.  Some of this
information might be passed on to your employer -- including
medical data which you may not want your employer to know![4][3]

What is worse, the regulations which control just how much of
this information goes directly to your employer are currently
under legislative `attack.'  Soon employers may receive negative
test results directly[3].

Besides the suspicion which may be caused by a false positive,
and the loss of privacy, there is another serious drawback to
drug testing: loss of work.  New, on-the-spot drug tests will
make this a huge problem[4][3][14].  These tests are nowhere near
as accurate as the standard urinalysis tests, but they are
attractive to employers who worry about drug use because they
provide immediate results[14].  Employers may want to "play it
safe'' by administering these tests, and sending anyone who fails
them home until a more accurate drug test can be performed.

You do not have to be a drug user to dislike drug testing.  Drug
testing can hurt anyone, even if they are totally `innocent.' 
This is wrong.  Not only can workers lose money through lost
hours, but the business itself can be hurt through lost
productivity.  Even worse, some people are bound to slip through
the cracks and get fired.  The worst time to have a false positive,
though, is during the hiring process.  Many employers will simply
not hire you, if you test positive for drugs and will not even 
tell you why they didn't[9].

                    WHO ACTUALLY GETS CAUGHT? 

An estimated 65% to 90% of people who get caught on drug tests
are caught for marijuana use[8][7].  This is due to two factors. 
First, the number of marijuana users is far greater than the
number of cocaine or heroin users[2].  And second, marijuana is
easier to detect than cocaine or heroin because it is the drug
which leaves metabolites in your body the longest[2][16].

There is no doubt among the medical community that marijuana use
presents less of a danger than cocaine or heroin use.  Marijuana
is not physically addictive[16][13][6] and it has never caused a
single death by overdose [16].  Also, people who hardly ever use
marijuana are being put on the same level as marijuana abusers
and users and abusers of other drugs.  A person can be denied
employment or fired for using a single marijuana cigarette or
smoking marijuana as much as a month ago -- even if they were on
vacation.  New hair testing methods threaten to extend this to
three or four months[12].

If the goal of work place drug testing is to discourage the use
of harmful drugs, wouldn't it make sense to punish drug users
according to how much, how often, and how dangerous a drug they
use instead of lumping them all together? (Supposing punishing
the drug users was a good idea in the first place.)

Another disparity in our work-place drug control strategy is
evident.  Alcohol and tobacco are both widely used, but legal,
drugs which have been linked beyond all doubt to accidents
[3][8][9][16] and health problems [3][16].  If the goal of drug
testing is to make the work-place safer, then why do we spend all
this money, time and effort detecting drug use when we could be
combatting addiction to alcohol and tobacco?

In fact, don't we run the risk of promoting the use of less
detectible drugs, or more harmful, but legal, drugs by adopting
this `zero tolerance' to casual marijuana use?  Marijuana users
who want to keep their jobs may switch to other drugs that are
more dangerous to get their `highs.'  


Countless studies have shown that drug users are capable of
leading normal lives and holding normal jobs[13][16].  Drug
testing keeps these people from competing in the work economy and
that is *unfair*.  These studies also point out that a drug user
or drug addict is much more likely to be a constructive,
contributing member of society if he has three things:  1) a job 
2) a stable home and 3) access to his drug of choice legally and

The third item on this list I will not get into, but it is easy
to see how drug testing does not help addicts or users to help
themselves.  In fact, it does just the opposite, by denying them
employment and limiting their income[9] it actually hurts the users'
chances of ever becoming stable, ordinary individuals.  When
deciding whether drug testing is a good idea, ask yourself this: 
Do I want healthy, employed, drug users who work full time jobs
and participate in society -- or -- do I want desperate,
unemployed drug users who spend their time on the streets looking
for drugs, money, and trouble?

The answer is obvious, but what about work place impairment?  Do
we just stop checking to see if people are capable of doing their
jobs?  Rest assured, there are plenty of ways to tell if our
pilots, drivers, mechanics, etc. are impaired.  Most of them
involve simple tests of hand-eye coordination and reflex[3].  In
many ways, these tests are actually better than drug tests.

Video-game style tests can be administered cheaply on-the-spot. 
They not only detect those drug users who are not able to
function, they also detect people who are drunk, tired, on
medication, or otherwise not able to perform safely.  Such tests
can be administered daily and even hourly, which makes them more
effective than drug testing[3].

Another alternative is to drug test, but instead of just firing
drug users automatically, first determine the extent and danger
of their drug use, and recommend a treatment program instead.


A "post hoc fallacy'' is a logical error commonly made in
newspaper statistics.  It involves assuming that one thing (drug
use) causes another (accidents, poor job performance) because you
are unaware of a third factor which causes both -- a root cause. 
This third factor could be anything, but it is often referred to
as a "confounding factor.''  

The 1990 study of U.S. Postal Service workers is *the* study
which the Department of Justice uses to justify the use of drug
testing in the work-place[2], and the PDFA uses in many of their
propaganda pieces, which often provide numbers for employers to
call for information on how to set up drug testing programs[5]. 
The people who did this study themselves stipulate that it may be
subject to confounding factors[8]. 

The most evident confounding factor is race.  The sample in the
study was 90.1% Caucasian and 8.9% minorities.  However,
Caucasians and minority workers did not test positive for drug
use at the same rate.  Of those testing positive for cocaine, for
example, 83.6% were Caucasian and 16.4% were minority.  This
shows that minorities use drugs more than Caucasians.  Previous
studies have shown that minorities also were more likely to
exhibit poor work-place performance, high accident rates,

Whoa.  Now hold up.  Before I go one inch further I would like to
clear something up.  I am not saying that minority races are in
any way inferior to Caucasians.  I do not believe this.  In fact,
the very statistic which I just mentioned is probably a post hoc
fallacy itself.  The real correlation probably has more to do
with poverty and education than anything else.  Through no fault
of their own, many minorities have been historically poor in this
country.  It is easy to see how a person who is poor might have
more trouble on the job than a person who is wealthy -- a poor
person may be undernourished, under-slept, or may have just
walked to work in the freezing cold.  Likewise, a less educated
person is more likely to make errors during complex tasks.

I am also definitely not saying that employers should refuse to
hire the less educated and underprivileged.  I am only saying
that, if it is the goal of work-place drug testing to improve the
work-place, it could be done much more cheaply by simply firing
all of the minority workers.  THERE ARE REASONS WHY THIS IS
ILLEGAL.  If employers were to be so inane as to fire all of
their workers who were not rich college graduates, the overall
situation in this country would deteriorate.  Said employer would
probably post better profits during the next economic quarter,
but on his way out of the office, he would also stand a better
chance of getting mugged.  And he would deserve it!

However, this is what is being done, in effect, by work place
drug testing.  Work-place drug testing should be illegal by the
very same token -- firing drug users is counterproductive in the
long run and is a strategy motivated mostly by hate and prejudice
against the economically disadvantaged.  In fact, because of the
correlation between drug use and minorities, work place drug
testing is working as a giant loophole in current anti-racist
laws which allows employers to effectively fire minorities for
what seems to be a totally unrelated reason.  For this reason, it
is fair to say that work-place drug testing is not only
counterproductive to affirmative action, but is itself racist in
effect.  Given the recent concern over the racism, or at the very
least effective or institutionalized racism, evident in the War
on Drugs[15], I felt this point bore mention.

The U.S. Postal Service study did not check the living conditions
or income levels of the workers to see if this represented a
confounding factor.  It also did not control for alcoholism and
alcohol use[8][9].  The study claims to have adjusted itself for
race, but the nature and extent of this adjustment are then
called into question.  Also, the study openly suggests the use
of drug testing to screen out employees in high risk groups, like
minorities -- this is a violation of work place ethics and our
country's dedication to equal justice.  However, the authors of
the study state that the drug-use related damages are not as high
as other past studies have reported, and that the cost efficiency
of drug testing needs to be re-evaluated[8].  Why, then, is the
study used by the Department of Justice as justification for 
workplace drug testing programs?  Your guess is as good as mine.

                    THE COSTS OF DRUG TESTING

Now that we have determined that drug testing is ineffective and
possibly even harmful, one question remains.  How much are we as
Americans paying to shoot ourselves in the foot?

The revenue used to pay drug testing companies and laboratories
comes from two main sources: private industry, and your tax
dollar.  Private donations to charitable organizations which
promote or advertise drug testing must also be factored in.

One easy way to get a bottom line on the cost is to look at the
gross revenues reported by the drug testing industry.  In 1990,
these amounted to $300,000,000[4].  Needless to say, this figure
has gone up in the last two years as the drug testing industry
has continued to expand, but the important thing to keep in mind
is a large portion of the revenue going into the drug testing
effort is given directly to laboratories [4] and public relations
groups [5].  And so, this figure represents an absolute minimum. 
In reality, drug testing now costs us well over two billion
dollars annually.

I must also mention that these dollar figures do not take into
account the casualties and collateral damage inflicted on society
by drug testing, which include job loss due to false positive,
social injustice and the resulting violence, mistrust and
alienation of employees, and loss due to time spent administering
and processing drug tests.  All in all, the whole scene is a huge

                   THE SELLING OF DRUG TESTING
                    AND CONFLICTS OF INTEREST

Drug testing is sold to employers the same way a grocer might
sell you a can of anchovies.  It is advertised, packaged, and
delivered for profit[4][13][14].  In order to get an employer to
buy drug testing, various arguments are often made to make drug
testing look like a good idea[4][5].  We have already seen how
these arguments sometimes use government statistics.  Incentives
are sometimes offered to help the sale.  These are usually
arranged by the government or large, established organizations. 
In fact, the National Institute on Drug Abuse established a toll-
free help line to assist employers in establishing work-place
drug testing programs.

Carlton Turner was once the United States' drug czar (under
Reagan.)  After this, he became a very rich man as an advisor for
drug testing companies.  His partner, Peter Bensinger is a former
head of the National Institute on Drug Awareness.  Another
partner was Robert Dupont, also a former NIDA director.  Former
White House drug advisor Donald MacDonald now owns Employee
Health Programs, which contracts MROs to drug testing programs.

It is easy to see how the connections and authority which these
people have held could have been used in self interest.  This
presents an ethical dilemma.  It is very possible for such power
to be abused.  I am not saying that all of these people are
consciously aware that they are mining a vein of fear at the
expense of the American public, but the possibility certainly

(The ethics of Carlton Turner, however, are most definitely poor. 
In 1986 he was forced to resign from his post in the Reagan
Administration.  Before he became U.S. Drug Czar, he tried to
sell fake `paraquat detectors' to marijuana smokers through the
magazine High Times, which could have injured or killed many
people.  Before this, he was purposefully obstructive in his role
as the director of the University of Mississippi Marijuana
Research Program, denying many sick individuals good medicine. 
In fact, it was Carlton Turner who started the unsubstantiated
rumor -- an "Urban Legend'' -- that marijuana made your immune
system break down, when he stated in public addresses that
smoking marijuana caused homosexuality *and* AIDS[16].)


The above has shown that the reasons which we give for drug
testing are not in fact the reasons we drug test.  Drug testing
would not fix the problems of casual drug use in the work-place
even if they do exist (and there is much doubt as to that) -- at
least, not as effectively as other approaches.  The actual
driving force behind drug testing is nothing more than an
ideology -- one which might not even be yours! [3] 

So, if you test your applicants or employees for drugs, you are
getting bilked.  That man with the plastic cup is not helping, he
is simply making a profit off of your prejudice.  You have most
likely turned down many potentially good employees who use drugs
in favor of less talented and qualified applicants who do

If you allow yourself to be drug tested, you are participating in
the drug testing industry by contributing to their business. 
Every time you piss in a cup, you are pissing on all the people
who live in this country who use drugs -- including many of your
friends and relatives, possibly even your self.  Every time you
pay your taxes, you are likewise contributing to this Drug War

The drug testing industry is a colossal waste.  If you want an
improved America, you will have to stand up and say `NO' to the
War on Drugs, as hard as that may be.


Can we make urinalysis illegal, or restrict its use in the work

Here is where the libertarian viewpoint which I mentioned in the
introduction (Joe) *sometimes* does a strange flip-flop.  I have
seen many argue that it is within the rights of an employer to
drug test for on-the-job drug use on the basis of liberty -- if
they want to be stupid and fire creative and productive employees
that is their business.  If you believe this, then you might as
well skip the rest of this section, as it will not interest you 
-- about the only thing I can say to you is that things are going
to get worse before they get better:  More expensive and accurate
hair testing methods detect off-the-job drug use further into the
past[12], and unenforced guidelines for drug testing
accuracy[3][4] and the institution of spot-check tests[4][14]
threaten to allow the work place drug testing situation to
deteriorate to the point where you can be kept off the work force
pending official dismissal of a false positive result[3][4].

A lot can be done to resist the application of urinalysis and the
drug testing industry in general.  One of the easiest things, and
the first thing which must be done, is to convince others that
urinalysis is not appropriate.  Urinalysis is applied today
mainly because Americans agree that it is important[2][3].  If it
were to lose its popular support it would go away -- eventually.

For those of you who are not willing to wait around for that,
there are a few more direct actions which you can take.  One of
them is to write letters to community leaders, and to write
editorials to local newspapers and to magazines.  If you have had
a bad experience with work place drug testing, tell it to a
journalist.  If not, the attached sources should provide you with
plenty of "ammunition'' for an editorial or three.

Another is to threaten boycott or other economic sanction against
companies who administer drug testing.  This involves keeping a
watch on which companies do and do not drug test.  If you have
access to e-mail on the Internet, there is a project which does
this, and you can help.  Sending an e-mail message to with the pattern "Send list'' in the subject line
will return you a copy of the Great Usenet Piss Test List. 
Please get a copy and register your company and any other company
you know about with the list, whether they do or do not perform

There are a number of protests which can be effective against
work place urinalysis -- strikes, picketing, etc.  The key to
making any of these tactics work is publicity.  Nobody will
benefit if you risk your employment, health, or well-being and do
not make it into a huge event -- so if you try any of these
tactics, well, first, let me compliment you on your character and
bravery, but secondly and most importantly milk it for all the
attention you can get.

Of course, the most effective method of fighting is to get a
large group, or a few crucial employees, to refuse to take the
tests.  Again, I urge an active effort at gaining publicity for
your protest.  


Sources marked with a star (*) I highly recommend obtaining a
copy of and reading.  Many of these sources have been excerpted
to quite some extent below, painstakingly by hand :-(, especially
those more recent.  I did so because I feel that they hold
important ideas and information which will benefit the general
public.  Please read them.  

I would like to close by remarking that both the quantity and
quality of articles like those which I have recommended has
surged recently.  The medical and sociological communities are
experiencing more input on this subject than ever before. 
Whether this is due to increased interest or simply a warmer
political climate, I don't know, but it seems that the dominant
opinions may not be quite that dominant anymore.  To me this is
good news.

Much credit for this bibliography goes to Aaron Wilson,  Vice
President of the UMASS Cannabis Reform Coalition

[1] (*) SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, March 1990, p 18.  `Science and the
Citizen: Test Negative' by John Horgan

     What underlies the broad acceptance of ... [drug testing]
     ...?  One factor may be the alarming statistics cited by
     testing advocates to demonstrate high costs of drug abuse. 
     Examination of some of these claims suggests that they do
     not always accurately reflect the research on which they are
     based.  ...

     Last Year President George Bush declared that "drug abuse
     among American workers costs businesses anywhere from $60
     billion to $100 billion a year in lost productivity,
     absenteeism, drug-related accidents, medical claims, and
     theft.''  ... All such claims are derived from a single
     study, one that "was based upon assumptions that need
     additional validation,'' according to an assessment last
     year from NIDA ...

     The study grew out of a survey ... by the Research Triangle
     Institute (RTI) in 1982.  The RTI group found that the
     average income of households with at least one person who
     admitted to having *ever* used marijuana daily was 28
     percent lower ... The RTI researchers defined the difference
     in income as "loss due to marijuana use''; the total loss,
     when extrapolated to the entire population, came to $26
     billion.  The researchers then added on the estimated costs
     of drug-related crime to arrive at a total of $47 billion
     for "costs to society of drug abuse.''  This figure --
     "adjusted'' to account for inflation and population
     increase -- represents the basis of Bush's statement.

     The RTI survey included questions on current drug use ...
     there was no significant difference between the income of
     households with current users of any illegal drug ... and
     the income of otherwise similar households.  Does this mean
     that current use of even hard drugs -- as opposed to perhaps
     a single marijuana binge in the distant past -- does not
     lead to any "loss''? 


     Perhaps the study most publicized of late by testing
     proponents involves employees of the U.S. Postal Service. 


     This study may be distorted by more subtle biases -- ...
     minority postal workers tested positive at a much higher
     rate than non-minority workers and that previous studies
     have shown minorities to have higher absenteeism.


Crime, and the Justice System'' *December 1992*, *U.S. Department
of Justice*

     CHAPTER III, SECTION 4.  Drug testing

     Work-place drug testing aims to reduce or prevent drug use
     and impairment.  The APT Foundation notes that the prime
     goal of work-place testing is to enhance on-the-job safety
     and productivity by reducing drug-related impairment.




     A study of pre-employment urinalysis results and employment
     outcomes for 2,500 postal workers found ...  

[see 1 above, and 8 and 9 below]

[3]  (*) JOURNAL OF ADDICTIVE DISEASES, Vol 12(2) 1993 pp. 9-21
"Barbarians at the Gates'' by Stanley Gitlow, M.D. 


     ...President Reagan signed Executive Order #12564
     establishing the goal of a "drug free'' work-place.  It
     made federal employment illegal for anyone using illicit
     drugs on or off the job.  By december 1989, over 5 million
     Americans required urine testing ... in order to keep their
     jobs.  ...  The acceptance of such procedures in the work-
     place resulted in their application to non mandated
     employees as well; this resulted in the testing of 8 million
     workers in 1989.  This figure was to rise to 13 million
     during 1990.

     In the meantime, the public had been frightened by stories
     of drunken pilots, pot smoking railroad engineers, and
     nonfunctional captains of oil tankers.  ... the terrified
     American people have leaned progressively toward demanding
     that their government guarantee each of them the right to
     live without responsibility for self or personal risk.  In
     point of fact, during the past ten years only two commercial
     aviation crashes led to the discovery of illicit drug use by
     the flight crews:  in March of 1983 a cargo aircraft crashed
     during the night at Newark and both pilots revealed previous
     use of THC, and in January of 1988 Continental Express
     flight #2286 crashed near Durango, CO while the non-flying
     pilot-in-command had evidence of cocaine.  In neither
     incident did the NTSB establish a causal relationship
     between illicit drug use and the accidents.  Nonetheless,
     within a year of the latter accident almost all of
     commercial aviation in the United States was mandated to
     apply tests of employees designed to rule out illicit drug

     ... by the Spring of 1988 the government had completed
     30,300 random urine tests of their regular employees. 
     Positive results ... were found in 0.7%.  The direct costs
     for the first year were $15,000,000 ...


     Until recently, only testing for the 5 drugs [or categories]
     were allowed under law.  This, despite the fact that the
     relationship of alcohol ... to accidents had been more
     clearly established and the magnitude of this problem in the
     area of public safety was far and away greater ...

     ... our government quite apparently felt more comfortable
     writing highly restrictive legislation for "illicit drugs''
     despite the fact that the magnitude of the public health
     problem was minor in comparison to that associated with


     ... the MRO finds him/herself in the position of having to
     reveal to employers and federal authorities certain other
     medical data which happened to be revealed in the course of
     the urine assay, *even though having no connection whatever
     to the use of "illicit'' drugs*. ...

     Sadly, it is not incumbent upon any employer to recommend
     treatment for an employee with a positive test for
     "illicit'' drugs ...  Some MRO's embrace the whiz quiz in
     the belief that it offers early detection and therapy, but
     in truth the overwhelming majority of companies that become
     aware of a positive test simply discharge the employee at
     the present time. ...

     ...  The commercial transport system data reveal a
     statistically minuscule incidence of what appears to be drug
     related accidents.  ...  If any threat to safety in the
     work-place existed, all of our information pointed to the
     need to control drinking. ...


     ... A DOT study in May of 1988 stated repeatedly "No
     statistical conclusions regarding the relationship between
     drug use and...accidents were possible.''  And there were
     " relevant performance studies of any of the hard
     drugs...[but this is] *not critical because use is already a
     criminal act. ... the very fact that an individual uses such
     a drug indicates a lack of respect for the law that in
     itself is prejudicial to safety.''  So ended the major
     scientific study which led to regulation by the DOT.*


     ... A well-known physician from Charter Corporation was
     quoted on 5/26/89 in American Medical News that he favored
     urine testing because it led to earlier diagnosis and
     increased likelihood of recovery from addiction. ... even
     were it to be true, he failed to mention whether his country
     should switch immediately to *mandated* PAP smears and


     ... our concern is neither health maintenance nor safety,
     but rather morality and control.  If we were not primarily
     concerned with fixing those "nonconformists' '' wagons, we
     might have embraced the use of cognitive systems
     measurements instead of the whiz quiz.  There exists hand-
     eye coordination tests not unlike those of some video games,
     by which real time measurements of the functional capacities
     of key employees may be assayed and have been found to
     detect reliably various forms of human impairment [resulting
     from drugs, stress, and fatigue].  The test results were
     immediately available [real time].  Nonetheless the DOT
     safety study dismissed such tests because they cannot
     predict the presence of a precise drug or drug level; they
     did not even evaluate its potential for safety.  Gary
     Howard, the Employee Relations Director of Motorola Inc.,
     when questioned about the use of neuromuscular real time
     tests, was quoted recently as saying that they were not even
     considered and that even if a drug user were not impaired
     from off-duty use of drugs, "We're not particularly
     concerned about impairment ... as we are about having a work
     force that doesn't use drugs.''  Ré their desire to use
     best-in-class employees, "Best-in-class people to us don't
     use drugs.  They don't abuse alcohol either...'' ... Even in
     those instances wherein a causal relationship between a drug
     and an adverse consequence has been proven [alcohol and
     accidents; cigarette smoking and lung cancer], there is good
     reason to eschew outright legal prohibition. ... Loss of
     liberties by law, momentarily accepted by society, leads
     ultimately to a reactive change.  We seem to "pay'' for
     periods in which we even voluntarily give up our freedoms. 
     A more definitive answer is usually achieved by early
     education and experience leading to attitudinal change. 

[4] (*) CONTEMPORARY DRUG PROBLEMS, Spring 1992 pp. 1-26, "The
business of drug testing: technological innovation and social
control''  by Prof. Lynn Zimmer and Prof. James B. Jacobs.


     This expansion of work-place drug testing could not have
     occurred without important advances in drug testing
     technology.  ...

     In an important sense, it was the availability of the new
     technologies that stimulated employers' interests in
     workers' drug use.  Prior to the 1980's, to the extent
     employers thought about a "work-place drug problem,'' their
     concern was with alcoholics and drug addicts, not casual
     drug users.  Only after it became possible to detect casual
     users did employers begin to focus on them.  Thus drug
     testing should not be seen as a "technological fix'' for a
     preexisting problem, but as a technological innovation that
     helped redefine the problem it initially promised to solve.

     The redefinition of the work-place drug problem to include
     casual drug users did not just "happen.''  It was actively
     promoted by the drug testing industry, which stood to profit
     from it, and by the federal government, which had a powerful
     commitment to a zero-tolerance drug policy.  The media also
     contributed by publishing the economic costs and physical
     threats posed by drugs in the work-place.


     Improvements in drug testing's accuracy and reliability led
     more employers to implement testing programs; as demand
     expanded, so did the drug-testing industry.  Recent (1990)
     estimates are that drug testing grosses over $300 million a
     year, but this figure refers only to the equipment and
     chemicals produced by pharmaceutical companies.  Drug
     testing's increased popularity also benefits laboratories
     that conduct the tests as well as numerous other businesses
     that provide goods and services to the pharmaceutical
     companies, the laboratories, and employers.


     Recently pharmaceutical companies also began to market on-
     site testing kits that do not require any machinery. 
     Keystone Diagnostics' KDI Quick Test, for example, selling
     for $6.50, uses a modified immunoassay technology that
     allows drugs to be identified through a color-code system. 
     Lacking both the sensitivity and specificity of automated
     immunoassay, testing kits are unlikely to capture a large
     segment of the work-place testing market, but they might
     appeal to parents who wish to test their children for
     illicit drugs.


     By 1988 employment drug tests accounted for about 5% of the
     laboratory industry's $5 billion in revenues, and industry
     experts expected that figure to double the following year.


     ... The federal government remains committed to work-place
     drug testing as a strategy in the war on drugs, and Congress
     keeps expanding the number of private sector workers who are
     covered under federal guidelines.  The drug-testing industry
     vigorously markets its product to employers, and through the
     American Drug Use Testing Association it lobbies at the
     state and federal levels for legislation that will expand
     its markets.  With many organizations, drug testing has
     become institutionalized, with administrative, legal, and
     medical staff who now have a stake in its perpetuation. 
     Thus whether or not it delivers on its promises to
     employers, drug testing is likely to remain a common feature
     of the American work-place and to play an even more
     important role in the long search for effective social
     controls over the use of psychoactive drugs.

[5]  THE NEW YORK TIMES, July 7th 1993.  Advertisement by the
Partnership for a Drug Free America, (these advertisements are
donated at a cost of around $17,000 a piece to the PDFA by the
New York Times, I am told.  No source is presented for the claims
that follow.)

     "Drugs can devastate your small business.  Illegal drug
     users are absent more frequently than other workers.''

     "They file more insurance claims, they cause injuries on
     the job, and they're less productive.''

     "You lose.  Your employees lose.  Your customers lose.''

     "You can't afford drug abuse.  You *can* afford to do
     something.  Drugs Don't Work.''

     [a telephone number is given for concerned employers to

[6]  "Behavioral and Biological Concomitant of Chronic Marijuana
Use''  U.S. Army study, 1974 by Dr. Jack H. Mendelson.  Official
summary as quoted in CONTEMPORARY DRUG PROBLEMS (Volume and date
unknown, but it is on page 449.)


     ... The behavioral and biological concomitant of chronic
     marijuana use were studied in a group of heavy and casual
     users under controlled research ward conditions. 
     Assessments of operant work performance revealed that most
     subjects showed no impairment in motivation to work for
     money reinforcement even when they smoked a large number of
     marijuana cigarettes.  Some dose related decrement in
     performance was noted following days of heavy marijuana
     smoking.  However, these decrements were probably not
     biologically significant.  No changes were observed in a
     large series of physical and laboratory assessments
     following marijuana smoking.  The only significant changes
     were those related to vital capacity (lung function) and
     these changes may be more closely related to the processes
     of smoking per se than to the pharmacological actions of
     marijuana.  No changes in testosterone level were observed
     following chronic marijuana smoking.  Significant weight
     gain was associated with marijuana smoking.  Marijuana also
     appeared to influence a number of complex social and
     psychological factors associated with personal interaction. 
     No evidence was obtained that marijuana produces any
     significant adverse effects on cognitive or neurological

[7]  (a newspaper article which has been clipped with no
reference appended -- I will try to find the reference if anyone
is interested.  JPM is the source of the 90% marijuana positive
estimate.)  TESTING EMPLOYEES FOR DRUGS  By Barbara Presley

     "It is a sacred cannon of belief of the urine testers that
     drug users have higher accident rates, increased rates of
     litigation and medical claims,'' said Dr. John P Morgan, a
     professor of pharmacology at the City University of New York
     Medical School.  "The claims are always stated.  They are
     simply not documented.''

     Dr. Morgan, who is writing an academic review of research on
     work place drug testing, said most people who test positive
     for drugs are occasional marijuana users.  "No data
     indicate they are bad workers.  They are no different than
     anyone else,'' he said.

[8]  JAMA, November 28, 1990 Vol 264(20) pp. 2639-2643 "The
Efficacy of Pre-employment Drug Screening for Marijuana and
Cocaine in Predicting Employment outcome.''


     We recognize that a number of potential confounding factors
     might be associated both with the risk variables of
     marijuana and cocaine use and with the outcome variables of
     turnover, absenteeism, accidents, injuries, and discipline. 
     Potential confounders included age at hire, gender, race,
     job classification, smoking status, exercise habits and
     alcohol use or abuse.


                       DRUG TEST RESULTS
     Characteristics   Negative   Marijuana  Cocaine   Other

     Sex   M           65.7%      73.7%      60.0%     65.9%
           F           34.3%      26.3%      40.0%     34.1%

     Race  White       90.1%      88.4%      83.6%     90.9%
           Black        5.6%      11.1%      16.4%      7.3%
           Asian        4.4%       0.5%       0.0%      1.8%

     Smoker            30.7%      47.7%      40.0%     45.4%
     Non-smoker        69.3%      52.3%      60.0%     54.6%


     In our study, we have not been able to control for the
     possible confounding effect of alcoholism.  A substantial
     body of literature suggests that alcohol abuse correlates
     with the abuse of other substances.  Other literature
     suggests that alcoholics have poor employment outcomes.  We
     did not obtain alcohol levels in the test urine samples. 
     Also, we did not administer any validated alcoholism
     questionnaires because we did not think they would provide
     accurate information in the context of a pre-employment
     examination. ...


     The findings of this study suggest that many of the claims
     cited to justify pre-employment drug screening have been
     exaggerated.  Drug users have been reported to be involved
     in 200% to 300% more industrial accidents, to sustain 400%
     more compensatable injuries, and to use 1500% more sick
     leave.  We found that those with marijuana positive urine
     samples have 55% more industrial accidents, 85% more
     injuries, and a 78% increase in absenteeism.  For those with
     cocaine-positive urine samples, there was a 145% increase in
     absenteeism and an 85% increase in injuries.  These findings
     could be used to reevaluate ... the cost-effectiveness of
     pre-employment drug screening.

[9]  JAMA, November 28, 1990 Vol 264(20) pp 2676-2677 "Pre-
employment Drug Screening'' by Eric D. Wish, Ph.D

     ... factors suggest that pre-employment drug testing may
     have limited potential in the United States.  First,
     employers should remember that a single positive urine test
     provides limited information about a particular employee's
     level of drug use. ... Furthermore, lifestyle issues may
     contribute to an employee's drug use as well as to his or
     her poor job performance.  Unfortunately, a medical review
     officer-type review is not required for firms testing
     private sector employees, and job applicants may be denied
     positions on the basis of a single positive test result,
     without their knowledge and without the right of appeal.

[10] THE NATION September 24 pg. 300  BELTWAY BANDITS by David

     War Profiteering.  Back in June, before Saddam Hussein was
     even a glint in the eyes of depressed military contractors,
     entrepreneur Max Franklin, a former analyst for I.B.M.,
     placed an ad in DEFENSE NEWS, a trade weekly.  "The arsenal
     of Democracy Won the Cold War,'' the copy read.  "Can it
     Win the Drug War?''  To find out, readers were invited to
     attend a three-day conference featuring officials from the
     Pentagon, Congress and government agencies who would detail
     "Industry Opportunities'' arising from the $10.6 billion
     anti-drug budget.  "Can you afford to miss it?'' 
     Franklin's add asked.

     About 200 representatives of aerospace and computer
     companies decided they could not -- not even at the cost of
     $950 a person.

[11] MASSACHUSETTS LAW REVIEW, Spring 1990 pp 38-42, "Search and
Seizure -- Drug Testing'' by David A. Grossbaum

[12] (*) ADDICTION 88, pp 163-166  1993; "Hair analysis for
drugs: technological breakthrough or ethical quagmire?'' by  John
Strang, Joseph Black, Andrew Marsh, & Brian Smith


     While it may be politically attractive to concentrate on
     illicit drugs, it ignores the reality that it is the use of
     alcohol and nicotine and not illicit drugs which constitutes
     the greatest threat to safety and productivity in the work
     place.  The resources used in drug screening programmes
     might usefully be redirected towards education and
     rehabilitation based initiatives which address all the
     issues surrounding the use of drugs and alcohol in the work-
     force.  Directing resources towards the new and expensive
     technology of hair analysis is a retrograde step.

[13] (*) THE MILBANK QUARTERLY, Vol 69, No 3, 1991 pp 437-459
"Social Behavior, Public Policy, and Non-harmful Drug Use'' by
Charles Winick


     One conclusion of the literature on mood-modifying drugs
     like heroin and cocaine is that their regular nonmedical use
     will almost inevitably lead to bleak personal and social
     outcomes.  My article suggests that the conventional picture
     of uniformly negative consequences of regular drug use is
     not supported by the data.


     ... in a statewide study of all the narcotics addicts who
     could be located in Kentucky ... more than nine-tenths of
     the males receiving drugs legally were working effectively
     at established occupations.  An improvement in work pattern
     typically followed an addict's securing a stable drug
     source, suggesting that this facilitated or caused improved
     work situation.


     ... One ophthalmic surgeon noted: "With Demerol, I can do
     three or four perfect operations a day.  It builds up my
     resistance and makes it easier for me to concentrate when I
     am working double shifts and just couldn't keep up with it. 
     The drug help a lot.''  A trumpeter said: "With the heroin,
     I could feel and look cool and reach and hold the sound I
     wanted.''  A warehouse worker stated: "It's a very slow and
     long day, taking plumbing parts out of bins.  Without the
     drugs, I couldn't make it.''  A television cameraman
     observed: "I can't make a mistake on the job.  I work a lot
     of overtime and the drugs make it easier for me to
     concentrate.''  No doubt other factors in the lives of these
     study subjects contributed to the relatively prosaic
     character of their drug habit and enhanced their ability to
     work: licit occupations, structured schedules, and
     participation in conventional family and community


     William S. Halstead, the father of modern surgery and a
     founder of Johns Hopkins Medical School, was cocaine
     dependent until the age of 34, when he turned to morphine,
     on which he probably remained continually dependent until
     his death at age 70.  He was professionally active and
     medically creative during his whole life.
     There are no reports demonstrating that addicted physicians
     are more likely to commit malpractice than others.  Indeed,
     the country's largest program for addicted medical
     professionals reports that a physician's professional
     activities represent the last aspect of his or her life to
     be affected by drug dependence.  Drug-using physicians
     typically have successful and active primary care practices
     ... some addicted physicians were described as "the best
     doctor in town''


     A 46-year-old practical nurse was observed driving his
     fairly new car to a Harlem crack house while parking his
     other car near his co-op apartment. ... Among the other
     regular users at the crack house were social workers, a
     maintenance man, and other healthy looking people with
     conventional jobs.


     Upper-income users may find it easier to get drugs fromOB
     physicians and powerful people could have access that is not
     possible for others.  Narcotics Commissioner Harry J.
     Anslinger, the leading foe of narcotics maintenance,
     secretly authorized the use of maintenance for specific
     persons on a number of occasions.  Thus, in the 1950's he
     maintained influential United States Senator Joseph R.
     McCarthy, who was a political ally, on morphine for years.


     Studies in different societies, both economically advanced
     and underdeveloped, and involving a range of substances,
     have documented the use of habituating drugs by persons who
     are effective workers.

     An investigation in Thailand found that some hill tribes
     reported that opium enabled them to function and it was not
     unusual to see a villager who had been addicted for 30 to 40
     years and was still working actively.

     In Jamaica, where ganja plays a significant role in social
     and economic life, the drug often facilitates the
     accomplishment of work by individuals and groups. ... users
     generally feel that ganja enhances their ability to work by
     promoting strength and stamina.  Supervisors agreed that the
     ganja helps workers in the arduous job of reaping sugar

     Dutch cocaine users not only used it while functioning
     effectively on the job, but typically worked while under the
     influence.  American observers at national meetings of the
     Dutch "junkie union'' have been surprised at seeing members
     injecting heroin and then chairing the meetings with
     facility and skill.

     A report by a British investigator concluded that a
     substantial proportion of the addicts receiving heroin at
     English clinics in the late 1960's could be characterized as
     stable, with high employment, legitimate income, and no


     Other cultures provide clues that, without repressive laws,
     adult users may be able to regulate their own behavior and
     decide for themselves what constitutes appropriate use.  The
     Dutch study of cocaine users, for example, demonstrated that
     a significant proportion of the samples experienced periods
     of increasing use.  For others, cocaine use became so
     problematic that they abstained, either for long periods of
     time or entirely.  So long as our government policy is based
     upon the assumption that nonmedical drug use is destructive,
     we cannot develope substantial knowledge of the factors that
     enhance such effective self-regulation of use.

[14] JOURNAL OF ADDICTIVE DISEASES Vol 12(2) 1993 pp 43-56
"Laboratory Tests for Rapid Screening of Drugs of Abuse in the
Work-place'' by Richard H. Schwartz, MD; H. Westly Clark, MD; and
Patricia S. Meek, PhD

     ABSTRACT:  The use of rapid, on-site drug detection devices
     is reviewed.  These tests permit the detection of various
     psychoactive substances in urine, and are easily used by
     nonskilled personnel ... The tests have potential use in the
     emergency room, doctor's office, drug treatment program, and
     the work place. ...

[15] U.S.A. Today side-bar, and a front page article, also in
U.S.A Today on the last week of July, entitled "Is the War on
Drugs Racist?''  (eventually I will find an exact reference for
this one, too.)


                    Powder      Crack
     Amount         Cocaine     Cocaine
     5 grams        Probation   5 years
     50 grams       1 year      10 years
     500 grams      5 years     11 years
     5,000 grams    10 years    17.5 years

     Note: defendants serve 85% of sentence.  There is *no*


                Powder    Crack
                Cocaine   Cocaine
     Black      27.1%     91.5%
     White      32.1%      3.0%
     Hispanic   39.9%      5.3%
     Other       0.9%      0.2%


[16] (*) "Official Corruption: Carlton Turner'' (pp 84,85) and
other chapters in "The Emperor Wears No Clothes''; HEMP/Queen of
Clubs pub. by Jack Herer.



The University of Massachusetts at Amherst                |  _________,^-.
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From: (Christopher Kaihatsu)
Newsgroups: alt.drugs
Subject: article from _Health_ magazine
Date: 17 Aug 1993 18:00:12 GMT
Message-ID: <24r6bc$>

this is reprinted without permission from _Health_ magazine, September '93
issue, pp. 18, 22.



Oshkosh, Wisc.--During the high-flying eighties, about a third of America's
medium- and large-sized companies began testing workers for drug use. Business
execs claimed the policies were necessary to ensure workplace safety. But if a
Wisconsin survey is any guide, drug testing just isn't paying off.

Dale Feinauer, a business professor at the University of Wisconsin, recently
examined employee accident and illness records at 48 firms from 1984 through
1988. A dozen of the companies had drug-testing programs. All o them screened
candidates before hiring, but five also tested employees after they were
involved in accidents or for such "reasonable cause" as erratic behavior.

Businesses with pre-employment and/or "reasonable cause" drug tests, Feinauer
found, had the same accident and illness rates as companies without. "A
pre-employment drug test is mostly an intelligence test--you have to be stupid
to get caught," says Feinauer. And reasonable-cause testing is too subjective:
Supervisors seldom know what constitutes a good reason to order a worker to
the restroom with a specimen cup. In fact, less than 10 percent of employees
tested for reasonable cause are found to have used drugs. 

Fewer mishaps were recorded at companies testing workers involved in
accidents. But the difference was slight, and Feinauer suspects that the
policy merely encouraged employees to cover up incidents in order to avoid
humiliating urinalyses.

If a company feels it must monitor employee drug use, says Feinauer, managers
should opt for mandatory random drug tests--for everybody. Until more is known
about how accidents happen in the workplace, though, it's an expense
businesses may not need.


          Chris Kaihatsu          | "Philosophers merely interpret the world--     | the point is to change it." --Karl Marx

Newsgroups: alt.hemp
From: (Cyd Ropp)
Subject: article reprint
Organization: The Harold Network -- An Alliance For Creative Communication
Date: Mon, 6 Jun 1994 23:02:13 GMT
Message-ID: <>
To: crash!alt-hemp
Sender: (news subsystem)
Lines: 51

The following appeared in the May 6, 1991 edition of the Saint Paul Pioneer
Press by columnist David Morris.  I often quote from it -- you may find the
info quotable, too.  Keep in mind the article is three years old.

...  The National Institute on Drug Abuse reported that the giant utility,
Utah Power and Light, "spent $215 per emplyee per year less on the drug
abusers in health insurance benefits than on the control group."  Employees
who tested positive for drugs at Georgia Power Co. had a higher promotion
rate than the company average.  Workers testing positive only for marijuana
exhibited absenteeism some 30 percent lower than average.

Scientific American, after exhaustive research, found that the studies
usually cited to prove the dangers of drug use in the workplace were either
shoddy or misinterpreted.  Astonishingly, the magazine could identify only
one study on workplace drug use that has passed through the standard peer
review process.

That one, published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, studied
180 hospital employees, 22 of whom had tested positive after being hired. 
It found "no difference between drug-positive and drug-negative employees"
with respect to supervisor evaluations or performance.  Except for one
intriguing item:  Eleven of the negatives had been fired during their first
year on the job, but none of the positives.

More recently the American Psychologist, a peer-reviewed scientific
journal, reported on a 15-year study of San Francisco-area children by
researchers Jonathan Shedler and Jack Block of the University of Calif.

Their report reveals that adolescents who occasionally use drugs are
healthier than both drug abusers and drug abstainers.  Moreover, those who
abused drugs as teen-agers have distinct behavioral problems that were
identifiable years before their drug use began.  Drug use is a symptom, not
a cause.  Says Shedler, "The most effective drug prevention programs might
not deal with drugs at all."

....  Finally, Florida State University conducted a study for the Florida
Legislature of 45,996 people arrested for drug possession in 1987. 
Eighty-eight percent had never been arrested for property crimes like
burglary.  Says Professor David Rasmussen, "This study suggests we are
incarcerating people for the use of drugs when they do not commit other

There's more, but that's all the studies cited.  The above may be of use to
those refusing drug testing at work.  The Florida study also seems apropos
to cite against DEA Director Constantine defamatory/inflammatory remarks.