Products sold to defeat workplace urinalysis testing and legal ramification of drug and alcohol testing.
In Tennessee, a lawmaker is going to introduce a bill making a fake urine specimen currently sold in stores illegal. This currently legal novelty is touted as a product, which successfully defeats a urine test. The substance can be used to beat a drug test for employment, or pass a physical for life insurance purposes. There is a law on the books in Tennessee, which makes a fraudulent drug screen specimen illegal. Whether the sample is an over-the-counter product, or the use of “clean” urine donated by another person, or prepared at an earlier date by the tested individual when that person knew his or her urine would pass a drug screen, and saved for a future test.
These type products have been on the market for years and their success rate is marginal at best. Until this new product, most test defeating products were comprised of cleansing herbs and vitamins, requiring in addition to the product supplied, the need to drink copious amounts of water. In some cases three gallons of water over a few hours’ time. If people beat the drug screen, it was probably due to so much water intake, the urine was significantly diluted to register a false positive. When giving the specimen for examination, the instructions on the product box also remind the person being tested, to allow their urine to flow initially to into the toilet, use the middle of the flow, and put the end of the flow into the toilet. In this manor, only the most diluted urine goes into the specimen cup.
There has always been an argument for and against urine testing since its inception. Granted, no one wants to work side-by-side with someone impaired by alcohol or illegal drugs. However, drugs like marijuana are fat soluble, and stay in the urine for a minimum of three weeks, while the same urine test for alcohol would be hard pressed to show abuse after twelve hours. The inequality is obvious, because a severely hung over individual would be just as dangerous near heavy equipment, as would someone who just smoked a joint.
The real infringement on a person’s privacy comes to play when a person, away from the workplace on their own time, vacations to Amsterdam or Jamaica and tests positive at the workplace for indiscretions performed while on vacation, days or weeks before, and away from the workplace. If the test was limited to a person’s ability on a given day to perform their job not handicapped by alcohol or drugs, than the test would be valid. To add insult to injury, the most dangerous drugs such as Cocaine, Heroin, and Ecstasy, are water-soluble drugs and are not detected in a drug screen after three to five days from the last use.
Big Brother is pervasive enough in the lives of all Americans. By no means is this article in favor of drugs in the workplace. However, unless the test can limit its results to the workplace and not people’s private lives away from work, than the test is an infringement in people’s private lives. This is not about right or wrong, it is about freedom. When our employer and our government can dictate our behavior in our own homes, where will it stop? There are laws in every state about sex, how it can or cannot be performed in the bedroom. Will the day come when a test in the workplace investigates people’s sex lives, under the auspices of some acts make people too tired to work to their full potential?