Cases of Strange Drug Testing Rules
There are a number of reasons why companies, schools and government agencies all over the world, not just in the United States, impose drug testing rules. They are meant to make sure that communities and environments, and the individuals who live therein, are safeguarded from whatever harm is associated from the use of illicit drugs and from the abuse of prescription drugs.
But there are just some cases where the principles behind drug testing rules are twisted and stretched to such an extreme that the outcome looks strange, ridiculous or downright intolerable. What we have here are cases of drug testing rules that must have gone wrong.
Four Years for a Speck
Going to prison despite your being innocent is no laughing matter, but have you ever imagined yourself going to prison for a number of years for a very minor, if somewhat laughable, offense? British citizen Keith Brown found that justice can really go blind sometimes.
The 43-year-old Brown was sentenced to four years in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates on February 2008. His offense was having a speck – 0.003 grams – of cannabis stuck on his shoe and caught with it by the ultra-sophisticated drug tester equipment used at the Dubai airport.
Dubai has really extreme drug testing rules that call for zero-tolerance when it comes to drugs. It is in line with the Islamic prohibition on the use of drugs.
Drug Testing Rules Forced Volunteers to Say Goodbye
Journalist Bill Maher wrote two years ago of a case where Levy County in Florida required its volunteer library workers to submit urine samples as part of its new drug testing rules. Before these rules came down, some 50-plus volunteers worked for free at Levy County’s public libraries. These volunteers were mostly senior citizens with ages ranging from 60 to 85. But after the requirement, the number of volunteers dropped drastically to two.
Maher reasoned that the Levy County officials must have been high when they imposed that rule. There was simply no reason to force geriatric volunteers to submit to the so-called indignity of a drug test when their jobs really do not pose any harm to the community.
False-Positive Employment Havoc
The Internet is rife with stories about false-positive drug tests costing people their jobs. In many workplaces in the United States, drug testing rules sometimes include taking samples at random to ensure that the employees are not using drugs.
Unfortunately, if the sample taking happens on a day that comes after you have, say, inhaled secondhand marijuana smoke even if you yourself do not touch the stuff or if you have eaten bread buns with poppy seeds on them for breakfast, you can get into so much trouble. Many companies in the United States summarily fire employees for false-positive drug tests without even a chance to explain themselves.
Drug testing rules are good, in principle. They keep people from committing harm to the other people around them and to themselves. But if a lot of liberties are taken on drug testing rules, we can end up with more harm than good.