Anti-drug use warnings should begin at home and in the schools, but should not end there. They should, just as strongly, carry through to the workplace. If you think drug usage in the schools is bad, strap yourself in for a real bump in the road.
If employers aren't requiring drug testing for all jobs, maybe they should reconsider. The Nevada Appeal is not exempt. Believe me. The newspaper requires drug testing for jobs that necessitate operating heavy equipment and driving our trucks, but not for all positions. But now I'm thinking otherwise.
Just in the past month, the Appeal has turned away an astonishing 80 percent of its applicants for jobs to operate heavy equipment because they failed their drug tests. But wait, there's more.
During the job interviews, and without fail, these people actually looked my department heads in their faces and denied that they took drugs before they even took the drug tests. So now, not only are they dopers, they are dopey liars as well. We even had one person apply for a managerial position in our production department who had a sharp looking suit, with hair waved back in a "I want to be on the Apprentice" statement of power fashion style. "Do you take illegal drugs?" was the question. "No sir, never have, never will" was the conclusive reply. OK, off he goes to the clinic, and back come the results. Positive. Meth. Yup, "... never have, never will."
You know what I'm thinking? There are a hell of a lot of people stalking the earth - our little city here for instance - with jobs who are working on our cars, handling our investments, selling us insurance policies, serving us food, or preparing that food.
And don't be necessarily fooled by the cut of the hair, or the cut of the cloth they wear. Money for nice clothes for some may just mean money to buy better drugs. Most meth users look like pan-fried vomit, but there are some whose looks can fool you.
Something else I'm thinking about for any business: Find a medical clinic that mandates two examinations of the same patient's urine and blood tests for verification. In other words, once the lab technician and phlebotomist take the samples for one examination, they should then be turned over to yet another technician for a second look.
Another thing to think about: Say that a future employee takes a drug test and passes; but 90 days later, he or she decides to take up illegal drug consumption. That person's performance begins to show signs, but nothing you as an employer can really put a finger on. This is where random drug testing takes over. Pot stays in your system for 30 days; meth for only three. To stay on top of the drug users who already have the job, periodic testing could be worth the price to the employer.
The fact that these drugs remain detectable for relatively short periods of time proves all the more what a bunch of lobotomy patients these users and abusers are, since they're stupid enough to interview for a job when they have these substances racing through their blood and urine tunnels. Brains like taxidermy animal subjects.
A front-page article in USA Today this week mentions that the feds can't even keep up with pot growers. And as far as methamphetamine is concerned, anyone with two brain cells (which is, by the way, just about what you end up with once you take meth), can mix that stuff and cut it up for street sales in a kitchen sink, which is even less conspicuous than growing pot in your back yard or as potted plants on your windowsill.
It's true that one main reason many companies do not require drug testing for all jobs under their roof tops is cost, which can be in the proximity of $50 per person (or much more, and probably not less). But are we tripping over a dollar to pick up a penny's worth of savings? Drug testing should be considered a worthy investment.
- John DiMambro is publisher for the Nevada Appeal. Contact him at email@example.com.