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Is Drug Testing the Answer

Why do humans seek an alternate reality? An alternate reality being a place or frame of mind that is somehow separated from actual reality. Actual reality contains all the true elements of life. These elements include work, school, having children, and paying bills. Life is full of adversities that humans must learn to cope with. Coping comes in many forms. It can be a walk in the park, some quiet time with a loved one, or even reading a good book. Conversely, coping can come in the form of substance abuse. Substance abuse can take humans to that alternate reality they seek.

Different drugs have different effects on the mind and body. The reason for the effect is the same no matter what drug is used. This reason is to escape reality. Addiction follows this escape from reality. Once addiction comes into play, it is no longer a matter of escaping. People addicted to drugs, such as cocaine, need the drug in order to function. Without the drug they fiend for, basic human functions cannot even be performed. Imagine not even being able to get out of bed and use the restroom without injecting heroin. Monetary costs to a drug abusers can be tremendous.

Those addicted to cocaine can have habits costing more than $3000 a week. Since not all cocaine addicts are wealthy, criminal activities are the source of this income. Drugs have taken over the streets of America. Billions of dollars are made each year on the manufacture and sale of drugs. Billions more are spent on trying to stop the drug problem. Four hundred million dollars a year is spent on drug testing. Drug testing is done in several areas. Athletes, employees in the business world, and those in law enforcement are the top three tested.

Is rug testing a violation of the fourth amendment constitutional right? Does testing Americans really stop the drug problem? These are the issues that are facing this country as the start of a new year is approaching. Why test athletes? Athletes are among the lowest percentage of drug users. (Kindred 219) In order to participate in sports, the body must be healthy and in top physical condition. Therefore, adding drugs to this would only make the athlete perform poorly. Steroids and other growth hormones should continue to be tested for, especially in high school football.

Student athletes are tested on a random basis with no probable cause. This system should be replaced with a probable cause for suspicion system. If an athlete gives signs of drug abuse, only at that point should a test be given. The majority of drug testing occurs in the business world. Employers want to obtain a drug-free workplace. Tests are implemented either at the application for employment or randomly during employment. The results of these tests do not carry any criminal penalties with them. The penalty for failure is the termination of employment.

However, this does not solve the problem of drug abuse. Employees seek a new place of employment that does not test for drugs and continue their habits. Drug testing is obviously not the answer. What can employers do to stop drug abuse in the workplace? Educating their employees about the effects of drug use can be the first step. New methods of prevention must be implemented. Simply catching a drug user and refusing employment does not help the person get off drugs. Treatment should be offered as an alternative to discharge. Statistics show that employee drug use is at an all time high in 1996.

With an estimated $400 million dollars being spent to test employees. This figure is expected to reach the billion dollar mark in two years. (Shoop 15) That money should be used for prevention and treatment not merely detection. Employers must identify whether the employee is using drugs casually on the weekend or if he/she comes to work under the influence. Employees working under the influence present a greater problem than a casual weekend user. Working under the influence of drugs such as cocaine puts the entire company at risk. Drug tests have numerous loopholes.

Several kits are available to consumers. These kits flush out the system of toxins, mainly marijuana. Clean urine can be purchased for $20 at laboratories. (Kni is the basis for this argument. Drug testing makes it almost public material that a person is a user. Private matters such as the use of drugs should be kept just that, private. What are the alternatives to drug testing? Legalization of certain drugs would greatly help the situation. Billions of dollars are spent each year in the so called “war on drugs”. Crimes related to illegal drugs would no longer exist.

Granted, drugs would become more accepted. With this must come more education to the younger generations. Legalization and education are the only answers possible to the question of solving the drug problem. Legalizing certain drugs would eliminate drug dealers, drug smugglers, and all those associated with drug trafficking. The profits from drug sales would then turn over to the government. Pharmacies would then be able to sell drugs. These pharmacies could be licensed and have to pay taxes on the drugs, meaning huge profits for government. The value of drugs would decrease remendously.

The $3000 a week cocaine habit would turn into a $20 a week habit if purchased at a pharmacy. Billions and billions of dollars could then be spent on education, the environment, and even drug education. As with prohibition, a significant boom in drug use would immediately follow legalization. However, as with alcohol, this trend would then level off. Laws that accompany alcohol use could also be applied to drugs. The main argument against drug legalization is the concern that drug use would be seen in public.

Legalization of drugs would cut 50% of the court cases each ear. Sullum 37) Courts could then focus on more serious crimes such as murder. Whatever the solution, the problem is still clear. Something must be done about the drug problem in the United States. Tactics being implemented right now in 1996 are just not working.

The future is uncertain because so many Americans have divided opinions about what to do. Government officials are also divided. There must come a day when all prejudices and personal beliefs must be put aside for the benefit of the future generations. When will this day come? That is unclear.

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