Drug Testing Drug testing in the United States began with the explosive use of illegal drugs, in order to curb drug abuse. This began during the Vietnam War with drug use at a climax. In general, Drug testing is a way to detect illegal drug use and deter it, usually by Urinalysis. Drug testing in the United States violates a citizens right to unreasonable search and seizures along with jeopardizing ones freedom. Drug testing is not only an unreliable invasion of a persons privacy but it assumes that one is guilty before submitting to the test.
Drug testing began to take place in the mid 1960s when drugs like Marijuana, hallucinogens and other drugs were becoming widespread (Stencel, pp.201). The military implemented mandatory drug testing because of the widespread use and the number of Vets that were returning home because of addiction. Ronald Reagan pushed for employers to implement drug testing and even had himself screened for illegal drugs to encourage employers and to reduce opposition to testing (Stencel, pp. 200). “The increased concern about drug abuse has, in part, ben the result of the early 1986 appearance on the streets of crack-a new, powerfully addictive form of cocaine-and the growth of cocaine addiction” (Berger, 12).
President Reagan later called for a second “war on drugs” campaign. In October of 1986, President Reagan signed into law a 1.7 billion dollar antidrug bill, called the “Drug-Free Workplace Order”. In addition to the bill, Reagan instructed his cabinet officers to create a plan to begin drug testing for federal civil employees (Berger, 14). Drug testing thus begun a sharp climb into the area of private employers. In November of 1988 Congress passed an Act requiring grant recipients or federal contractors to maintain drug-free workplaces.
Most of the employers set up voluntary testing programs and many employees began to sue, claiming that individual testing is a violation of privacy rights. The argument is that the employees are being deprived of their Fourth Amendment protection. Many believe that government testing programs should be unconstitutional unless the authorities have either reasonable suspicion or probable cause that the individuals being tested are on drugs. To justify the use of private employer testing, President Bush said in 1989 that “Drug abuse among American workers costs businesses anywhere from $60 billion to $100 billion dollars a year in lost productivity, absenteeism, drug-related accidents, medical claims, and theft” (Horgan, 19). This claim was derived from a source that interviewed families that were 28% lower in overall income than the average household.
This was used in an effort to promote Bushs”war on drugs” forum into the private sector (Horgan, 21). Many behaviors of lower income people often differ statistically from upper-income people, therefore the statement of Bush never establishes a clear or accurate statistic. “In 1989 President George Bush unveiled his National Drug Control Strategy, encouraging comprehensive drug-free workplace policies in the private sector and in state and local government” (Stencel, 201). This created many controversies within the American workplace and in National Treasury Employees Union v. Von Raab decision, the Supreme Court upheld that drug testing was legal as long as it outweighs privacy rights (James). Then, in 1991 Congress passed the Omnibus Transportation and Employment Testing Act, which would extend drug testing in the United States. Throughout the rest of the 90s drug tests were extended to the outermost sectors of society causing drugs to become a significant issue during election times, although politicians are never tested themselves.
The Fourth Amendment of the Constitution was created because of the rough treatment of colonists by the British. The British restricted trade and travel and this gave way to smuggling. “British soldiers frequently conducted unrestricted house-to-house searches. People were forced to keep their private records and other personal information on their person or hidden in their home or business to avoid exposure and possible arrest” (Berger, 102). The Fourth Amendment was part of the Constitutions Bill of Rights to protect ones privacy and maintain search and seizure guarantees.
The right to privacy was described by Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis as “the right to be let alone-the most comprehensive of rights and the right most valued by civilized men.” The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees the “right of the people to be secure in their person, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable search and seizure” except upon probable cause. Random drug testing threatens the Fourth Amendment and has been called suspicion by association. This is to say that it is not possible to justify a search of one person because they are similar to another. “Suppose a certain neighborhood has a high incidence of violent crime. The police cannot defend a blanket search of all residents by claiming that there were many armed individuals among them, they say” (Berger, 52).
“Random drug testing assumes that every student is using drugs until they prove to the contrary by submitting a urine sample,” (ACLU, 1) In general, the government cannot search a person without reason to suspect that he or she is guilty of wrongdoing. There is an exception, however, in limited circumstances, where the search is in special need, the government has a compelling interest in the search or the privacy interests affected by the test are minimal. In Random Drug testing there are no Fourth Amendment rights to be maintained. “The right to privacy is, as determined by the Supreme Court to be an implicit guarantee of the Constitution” (Holtorf, 132). Drug tests reveal many areas of ones life which may want to be hidden to their employer or to the outside world. “Drug tests can reveal the use of contraceptives, pregnancy, or medication for depression, epilepsy, diabetes, insomnia, schizophrenia, high blood pressure, and heart trouble” (Holtorf, 132). The disclosure of this type of information can be both embarrassing and harmful to ones social and professional career. In some cases this has led to loss of employment for discriminated individuals. Such in the case of Duane Adens, a former Sergeant of the Army.
Adens was asked to give a body hair and he refused. He then took a urine test and it came back negative. He was then asked to provide hair for a test and when he did this the test came back positive for drugs. Aden was stunned and the army denied his request for a DNA test of the hair to prove it was his. Sergeant Adens received a bad conduct discharge in July 1998.
“For a soldier to lose his self-esteem, family and military respect is a bit too much based on the strength of a body hair.”-Representative Charles Rangel, New York.(Kean, 3-4). This man will suffer the rest of his life, a federal conviction, because of a falsity in our Drug testing system. “In 1966 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that compulsory blood tests are bodily searches. The Fourth Amendment, it said , applied to such searches.
A compulsory blood test could be conducted only if there is “a clear indication that in fact evidence will be found” (Berger, 51). This is to say that someone can be given a test if there is a specific reason to believe that this person is using drugs. In all court cases, the court has ruled in favor of the plaintiff stating that the body and bodily fluids are considered in the Fourth Amendment privacy clause. Yet in Drug Testing this is not the case. In Allen v. City of Marietta, the Georgian court felt constrained by current law to hold that a urinalysis is indeed a search.
(Berger, 51). Urinalysis is most definitely a search considering that a search of ones home is considered invading privacy, what about ones urine? This is the most personal and private information one can give out. Another clause in the Fourth Amendment in the Constitution is that of Due Process. The Fourth Amendment clearly states that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of the law.” Pre-employment drug screening completely defies this in that it gives a prospective employee no chance of challenging the test. The job seeker is not considered for employment without even knowing that it was because of a positive drug test. There have been many cases that a person is eliminated from the job pool because of a positive outcome of a drug test and the person is not a drug user. The prospective employee has no chance to explain a positive test due to a prescription drug or certain foods.
It is possible to be a job-seeker and never obtain a job because of positive results on a drug test due to a prescription drug, unless the prospective employer uses their time to show the results. Drug testing without a prior suspicion or pr …