RE: In Reference to Drug Testing

Subject: RE: In Reference to Drug Testing
From: "Kevin Shea" <kfshea -at- sci-techconsult -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 20 Oct 2000 16:18:12 -0500

two cents worth:

For nine years I worked in an industry (offshore petroleum) where there was
both scheduled and unscheduled drug testing. It was a well known part of the
business and, if you wanted to participate in that business, you stopped
doing whatever it was that would cause you to fail the test before you
started working in the industry. Until I made the decision that I wanted to
work in that industry, I had much the same negative attitudes about drug
tests that a lot of people on the list have demonstrated. Once I got into
the industry I was glad that drug tests were given because it's an industry
where catastrophic accidents occur when safety is disregarded. When it's
your neck on the line, I'll guarantee you don't want anyone who is a half
step behind because they were partying (drugs or alcohol) the night before.
And any time there was an accident, everyone present was tested, even if
they were off-shift, no exceptions.

In all the time I spent in that industry, I never heard of anyone getting a
false positive result. Everyone (and there were probably a dozen at my
company) who failed, failed because they either were stupid or they didn't
care that much about their job, or both. And no one had any sympathy for
them at all - we all had to play by the rules and the rules said if you do
drugs and get caught you get run off.

Now my inclination is to think, 'how come tech writers have to be tested?',
but, going back to my old job, everyone in the company was tested, even if
they were strictly office personnel - it made things somewhat fair to the
people who had to be sober for safety reasons.

My thought now is, if you don't want to get piss-tested, go work for someone
else. I personally don't see it as the first step down a slippery slope of
loss of liberty. How much real or imaged liberty we have is a discussion for
another day (and probably another list). A decision was made, for strictly
financial reasons, that drug testing is a good thing for the company or the
industry. This may be to decrease insurance costs or to embellish public
image, it doesn't matter. If you can deal with, deal with it, if not, don't
work there.


kfshea -at- sci-techconsult -dot- com

Kevin F. Shea
(504) 882-0063
kfshea -at- sci-techconsult -dot- com

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