Friday, March 30, 2012

Drug Testing Essay

Workplace Drug Testing Essay

The humanity has now come to the point when drug abuse is a challenge to safety, health, and even life of the human beings. Most people stand for the privacy of life and freedom of choice. But the responsibilities we take while being a part of society (e.g. at work), are often more valuable than the all the fun of the private life. For sometimes a mistake of a pharmacist or a scientist may cost thousands of lives. I strongly believe that drug abuse is unacceptable and preventing measures in form of testing should be taken to prevent drug abuse among both private and public employees. There is no doubt people at different job categories have different levels of responsibility. Nevertheless, in my opinion, testing should be performed for both the job applicants and the employees in all job categories. Random testing is acceptable and even desirable. My reasons are: firstly, there is a strong need to eliminate drug usage among the population. Secondly, all employees, either a product designer, or a repairman, or even a CEO, have the responsibilities, and the quality of their work performance might be compromised with the drug abuse. Thirdly, a person taking drugs may not realize (or may not wish to accept) that he or she is addicted, and may need professional help before it’s too late. The latter is not a business interest but a question of humaneness and mutual aid and support.

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As a manager with responsibility for conducting a testing program, I would try to respond to any misconduct or any controversial case according to the corporate code of conduct. Certainly, there are cases when the need for strictness of judgment is questioned by additional circumstances, like friendship, good name, spotless work record, but the rules are the rules. I believe that everyone is equal when we deal with the matter of drug abuse.

If an employee who tests positive for marijuana on a Monday morning but has a spotless 10-year work record, I would still have to act according to the rules, even report to the management if needed, for if the deal is dismissed without further notice, the employee might think he or she will get away the second and the third time. I suppose there is not need to sit and wait till the user becomes the abuser.

If an airline pilot who refuses a random test, I believe he has certain reasons for that, but still, airline business is one of the most socially responsible businesses and the lives and destinies of many people depend on the safety and security of the flight. If the pilot rejects to prove his ability to aviate, he may not be allowed to the control column. We have the rules prohibiting drunk driving, why should we question the air safety then?

I do not find any principle difference between the cases of a job applicant who tests positive for cocaine use and an employee who tests positive for cocaine use. Both should get professional treatment, because cocaine is a highly addictive drug and results in physiological damage, lethargy, depression, etc.

Even if an employee comes to my office the night before an announced urinalysis and admits that he regularly uses a hallucinogenic drug off the job, or a productive worker who gives no outward sign of drug use but who is named as a drug abuser at work in an anonymous tip, there is still a great chance he or she would have to face the challenge of not meeting the corporate standards, even if the drugs are being consumed off the job. Addicted people may have lower concentration abilities and worse memory and reaction, due to drug abuse.

If an employee involved in a serious work accident refuses to take an immunoassay test based on her belief in the right to privacy, he or she will still have to pass the test or face the criminal investigation, especially if the health or safety of humans was threatened due to his or her misconduct.

I strongly support the recommendation of the union that management be given the same tests as workers. There is no difference between the employees in this case – the damage caused by the managers may be equal or even exceed the damage an average worker may cause – so why should there be any compromise?

Of course, some people would claim, there should be a difference in drug testing between a government office worker and a professional athlete, but in fact there shouldn’t. Some would say, there is a competition among the athletes and using drugs to achieve higher results is obviously a cheat. But of we treat the athletes and the government office workers as humans and society members, despite their occupation; it would become clear that there is no difference. Taking drugs is illegal; we live in a society that has voted for this rule and this law. Thus, everyone should obey the law.

Many people believe that the major league baseball agreement of 2005 has introduced tough penalties for drug use, including amphetamines. Indeed, in comparison to what was before. I believe, this agreement is still too lenient, especially if compared to the Minor League Baseball or the penalties enacted for Olympic athletes.

I realize a lot of people would stand for commutation or try to prove that a pilot taking drugs is more hazardous than the secretary doing the same thing. Others would claim people taking different drugs should be treated differently, but I see no difference. I have seen and heard so many stories of talented people who have wasted their lives due to drug abuse, no matter what they were – rock stars or office workers – they are humans, doing illegal things and often not able to help themselves. According to the American Psychiatric Association, drug abuse is illegal, nonmedical use of a limited number of substances, most of them drugs, which have properties of altering the mental state in ways that are considered by social norms and defined by statute to be inappropriate, undesirable, harmful, threatening, or, at minimum, culture-alien. It, thus, should be prevented and treated properly in all spheres of life, especially social life, and that is why we need proper workplace drug testing.

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