My friend had just moved to Philadelphia, with no job and no money in his pocket.
To make a few dollars, he applied for a job at Acme.
As he filled out the application at a computerized kiosk in his local store, he saw these words on the application: “All Applicants Will Be Tested For Drugs.”
Although my friend doesn’t do any drugs, he was staggered by the idea that he was being drug tested for a minimum wage job.
You know what? So was I. And I am someone who hates drug abuse.
I grew up in a household affected by drug abuse and saw the chaos and misery that drug abuse can cause.
There is nothing more disgusting than watching people you care about self-destruct.
Friends of mine from high school have passed away from this sort of overindulgence.
But at the same time, I don’t understand the point of people being drug tested to bag groceries or stack bags of Oreos.
Will testing new employees for drugs save money for the customers?
A friend of mine, who is in charge of hiring at a large warehouse, hires about four new employees every month.
He pay’s a company $50 an hour for drug testing.
On average each test takes two hours, that’s about $400 a month.
An informal survey of some acquaintances working in human relations came up with similar results.
Cutting to the chase, drug testing is expensive.
I’m confident in guessing that the cost of drug testing isn’t paid for by the CEO out of the goodness of his or her heart, or by the company’s health insurance policy.
No, we are paying for it. The money in your pocket is going to make sure the guy working the overnight shift at Acme didn’t smoke marijuana a week before his job interview.
I’m not too happy about that, at all.
The idea that drug testing filters out incompetent employees doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.
I worked in a restaurant with a gentleman who was an avid user of crystal methamphetamine and PCP.
He also happened to be the most talented and skilled chef that I have ever worked with.
On the other hand, I have had plenty of teetotaling workers who showed up late to work or stole from the job.
Good workers and bad workers fall on both sides of the sobriety spectrum. In short, testing for drugs does not equal better employees.
Nor does drug testing mean better workers for the public, and on top of that, it costs us money.
Neal Ungerleider can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org