Mandatory Drug Testing Essay

1086 Words 5 Pages
It seems to be a universal sentiment that drugs have a negative impact on the body and the mind, and substance abuse can inhibit everyday activities. However, there is dissent on the topic of mandatory drug testing. Drug tests may be given as a pre-employment or participation requirement, randomly, on a scheduled basis, or in cases of reasonable assurance of drug use. Some of the most common places where tests are administered include schools, the workplace, and athletics. It may seem simple; since drugs are generally viewed negatively, why are there not standardized drug testing procedures? Ethical implications such as invasion of privacy and testing without a probable cause prevent this from happening. Since the 1980’s when the war on drugs …show more content…
The Ninth Amendment entitles United States citizens to the right to privacy, the right to control over one’s own body, and the right to protection against illegal searches and seizures, among other things (Fish 7). Fish argues that the current prohibitionist policy on drugs in the United States is counterproductive because it creates a massive, criminal black market (Fish 5). He believes this country fosters conditions conducive to drug abuse, and mandatory testing is an attack on constitutional rights. However, according to Goode, 72 percent of full-time employees interviewed in a survey by The New York Times admitted they would be willing to take a drug test. Objections to mandatory testing were focused on issues of civil liberties, the Constitution, and rights of privacy (Goode 331). Drug testing programs in schools are very controversial because they are often coercive; testing students before allowing them to participate in sports and other activities may deter or limit them from opportunities critical to their development. Mandatory testing is allowed in schools, but it is not looked at favorably: “Although the constitutionality of mandatory drug testing for high school athletes has been affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court (515 U.S. 646, 1995), many students and parents are strongly opposed to these programs” (Manski et al. 203). There are also ethical concerns that arise with the tests and what they measure. For example, marijuana is the drug most likely to be detected, but is the least harmful of all illegal drugs. Not only are the tests skewed, but testing does not measure the level of impairment of an individual as a result of use. According to a study conducted by Rhodes and Schwenk, “marijuana use has no direct, negative effect on workers’ productivity” (Mosher and Akins 260). It is difficult to determine when mandatory testing becomes coercive, and how to

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