Science is mind boggling – especially when it means something as simple as urine could suddenly determine your future. Whether you were caught with an ounce of marijuana or are applying for a new job, this bodily fluid spills secrets of your personal life that you might rather not share.
Urine can tell whether you are diabetic, pregnant, take drugs, drink alcohol, have a sexually transmitted disease, or even if you like poppy seeds. But there are companies that are helping people avoid this leakage of private lives.
“It’s not about defrauding anybody,” said Tony Wilson, spokesperson for Spectrum Labs, a manufacturer of products for beating drug tests. “It’s about protecting privacy, because people have no privacy anymore.” Many jobs in America require applicants to go to a local screening office and give a urine sample. But as more cheating products become available, urine is being flushed out.
Companies are starting to opt for better drug tests, such as those that test hair or saliva instead. There are also new mechanisms to help see through kits like “Get Clean” shampoo or “Quick Fizz” tablets. But the creators of these products are always upgrading and always seem to be two steps ahead.
The question is how companies such as Spectrum get away with selling their urine-masking products. But there is no federal law against it. Only a few states, New Jersey for instance, have forbidden individuals to “mask” urine with any type of product.
Parolees may lose some of their civil rights, but should the average American? The fourth amendment protects us from illegal search and seizure and shields our right to privacy. Meanwhile, employers perform these tests to weed out (pun intended) drug users and to protect themselves against lawsuits. But don’t all these tests go against our rights?
To the employer, drug testing is a company policy – like mandatory uniforms or nametags on employees. If you don’t like the policy, don’t apply. But if you can perform on the job and it has nothing to do with your safety, should your employer know what you do on the weekend? And if you show no cause for questioning, isn’t the employer wasting time and money?
Working as a lifeguard for three years, there was always the threat of random drug tests. I could see asking for one from “Burnout Bob,” but what about the lifeguards who weren’t burnouts, but merely occasional users of recreational drugs?
What was once the social drinker of the mid-20th century has become the social blazer of the new millenium. Maybe it’s just me, but it seems to be the mentality of the generation entering the workforce. As Alicia Silverstone’s Cher of the late 90’s hit movie Clueless said, “It is one thing to spark up a doobie and get laced at parties, but it is quite another to be fried all day.”
Rachel Summers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.