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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Drug testing fairness depends on who pays

    The concept of drug testing is nothing new. Since the 1980’s, employers have drug tested employees and candidates to avoid hiring drug users. Since then, drug testing has become more and more common. But how far is too far when it comes to drug testing?

    Gov. Rick Scott of Florida signed a bill at the end of May requiring those on welfare to submit to drug tests. Many argue that this is a violation of constitutional rights and cite the Fourth Amendment, which prevents activities of search (like a drug test) without probable cause.

    But those with the above opinion fail to see that these searches are not entirely unreasonable. If taxpayers are going to spend money on welfare, which helps subsidize and support low income families, taxpayers should have a right to ensure that their taxes are going to good use, not to support potential drug addicts. 

    Another extremely controversial drug testing topic that has surfaced is Linn State Technical College’s decision to force students to submit to drug testing. The Missouri school has instituted a mandatory drug testing system for the entire student body. The school has imposed a $50 non-refundable fee to students to cover the cost of this drug testing, which will test for substances that include marijuana, ecstasy, cocaine, amphetamines, methamphetamines, phencyclidines (PCP), benzodiazepines, methaqualone, opiates, barbiturates (downers), and oxy and hydrocodones among other substances.  

    Linn State Technical College can’t run the risk that students are coming to classes under the influence. Justifiably, the school wants to ensure that every student is safe to operate the school-owned heavy machinery.

    Like the welfare case, students have challenged the tests by citing violations of their fourth amendment rights. Students of Linn State Technical College claim that the school does not have the legal right to drug test them because the school does not have probable cause or suspicion that students are drug users.

    Students have also argued that drug testing should be left to the employers that hire them. Many of the students who attend the school are being trained to be aviation, auto, construction and industrial engineers and technicians. The school believes that if it prepares their students for drug testing prior to being reviewed by an employer, it is better preparing them to succeed in the job market.

    Unfortunately, it appears as if both sides of this argument make valid points. In the case involving the state of Florida, those receiving welfare should be subject to drug testing because they are receiving taxpayers’ money for relatively nothing. While those on welfare likely do not want to take taxpayers money, nonetheless they are still receiving government aid. Perhaps drug testing those on welfare will help motivate people to get off of welfare sooner.

    The case of Linn State Technical College is a little bit of a different story. While the school has a valid point, they simply do not have the right to test students on their own tuition dollar. Unlike welfare, the students of Linn State Technical College supply their own money and should not be forced into mandatory drug screenings. Drug testing will simply force their student body to transfer to other colleges. Instead of drug testing, Linn State Technical College should take all the legal precautions possible to protect themselves from any frivolous lawsuits that could arise as a result of drug abuse.

    The ACLU has filed suit in both cases against the drug testing.In the end, it’s all up to the beloved lawyers, judges and court system now to determine the statutes of limitations on drug testing with regards to the fourth amendment right.

    — Joshua Segall is a management information systems senior. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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