In the June 4 edition of The Advocate, David Guedry asks for other opinions about drug testing. I am against random drug testing of employees, and I am definitely against drug testing for those receiving welfare or unemployment assistance. As for employees, drug testing should only be used in those rare circumstances where there is strong evidence that someone is under the influence of alcohol or some other drug.
Regarding the workplace, such testing is humiliating, dehumanizing and lowers morale because an employee is, de facto, guilty until proven innocent. And secondarily, it is a huge waste of money.
Any time I see politicians proposing Draconian legislation, such as drug testing welfare recipients, a red flag goes up and I see nothing but discrimination and racism behind such measures. It is appalling that there are still people who believe that those who live in poverty are all criminals and drug users.
Are there people receiving government assistance who might use some of that money to purchase drugs? Of course. I am not that naive. But the small percentage of people who do so does not warrant casting a whole class of society as guilty, nor is it worth the cost to taxpayers. While I have not seen any actual numbers, I am sure the expense for drug testing would be many times the paltry amount that is given to welfare recipients. This is especially the case in Louisiana, where some politician’s friend or relative would be given the contract for drug testing at an exorbitant cost.
I am happy that the Louisiana Senate chose to kill the drug-testing bill passed by the House. Every now and then, the politicians get it right, but unfortunately I see an alarming trend by many on the far right (Republicans) to turn back the clock on civil rights. Besides the ridiculous drug-testing schemes, there are many states that, after electing right-wing idealogues as the majority, quickly passed Jim Crow-style laws to suppress the voting of minorities and others who will not support them in their cause or the next election.
Such blatant disregard for the rights of minorities and others, such as the elderly and women, is a distressing omen for this country. We have far too many politicians today whose actions plainly state that their view is that only white men need apply. And only white men who believe as they do.
Michael Polito, Ph .D.