Re: Writing / Drug Tests

Subject: Re: Writing / Drug Tests
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 20 Oct 2000 12:10:26 -0700

"Higgins, Lisa" wrote:
> Well, for me, it's a dual issue. First, my employers are just that. They do
> not own me, and as such, I don't feel obliged to provide them with my bodily
> fluids. It's degrading, dehumanizing, and presumptuous.

I think it's John Brunner's "Stand on Zanzibar," in which disloyalty
to your employer is a crime. That was satire, but I can't help
thinking that drug tests are a first step towards that attitude.

My personal beliefs
> are that the War on Some Drugs is a travesty. It's stupid, it's patronizing,
> and it's Unamerican, and I think those who buy into it are naive and easily
> swayed--not qualities I look for in an employer. I don't have a problem
> passing a drug test, assuming the results are accurate. I do have a problem
> with a company that sees fit to treat me like chattel and eye me with
> suspicion for no reason. Besides, if those robber barons want to drink my
> urine, they can danged well pay for it just like everyone else.

Another thing: if you compare the statistics on drug-related crime
with those on addiction, you have to conclude that a.) the powers
that be are making up the statistics as they go along, and b.) most
addicts are functional, middle-class people who don't need to turn
to crime for their habit. Granted, functional addicts aren't the
most fun people to be around; their lives tend to center around
their habits. But they are more or less able to hold down a job.
Until their addiction actually interfers with their work, it isn't
their employer's concern.

> > you wouldn't have to take such tests.
> Wait a minute. People's lives have been ruined by false positives. What
> about that guy who couldn't race in the Tour de France because he failed a
> drug test after drinking safe, legal herbal tea? He can't exactly call a
> Tour de France do-over, can he? He's not the only one, either. Every time
> you see these statistics showing that the majority of positives are
> accurate, remember that each false positive is some innocent person whose
> life was disrupted to some degree. That is not an 'acceptable' loss,
> particularly for so nebulous a gain.

A good point. Middle class North Americans tend to be very smug in
their belief that, if they haven't done anything wrong, then they're
safe. When it comes to drugs or any other topic in which the
myth-making machinery is working overtime, this belief is extremely

Bruce Byfield, Outlaw Communications
Contributing Editor, Maximum Linux

"People have so often been hurt and trapped and tortured by ideas
and contraptions which they did not understand, that they have come
to believe all things passing their understanding are vicious and
evil - things to be stamped out and destroyed by the first comer."
- John Steinbeck, "The Cup of Gold"

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