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Jailing Pregnant Women Violates Privacy Rights
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Imagine going to your doctor for routine medical treatment and supplying a urine sample. The doctor exits the examination room, goes down the hall and, without your knowledge or consent, tests your urine for illicit drugs. As you wait in your patient’s gown, the police enter the room, handcuff and shackle you, and take you off to prison on charges of drug possession. Is it legal for you to be tested without your consent? Is it legal for your doctor to call the police if you test positive? Is it legal for you to incriminate yourself with your own blood or urine? These are the questions involved in the Ferguson v. City of Charleston (S.C.) case argued last week before… Read More
True Test For Ecstacy
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Ecstasy users who happen to be in the job market have new reason to beware. A new hair drug test being used by many companies in preemployment screenings can detect the popular party drug. It also detects marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and PCP in hair samples up to 90 days after usage, according to Psychemedics Corp., which is marketing the test. Psychemedics officials say the company has 1,700 corporate clients, including many in the Fortune 500. In addition, the company does drug testing for four of the country’s largest police departments and five Federal Reserve banks. In August company officials announced they had seen a surprisingly high level of positive tests for ecstasy in the first five weeks of screening. The… Read More
Anheuser-Busch Brewery Workers Fight Hair Drug Test
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Anheuser-Busch brewery workers are fighting a drug test imposed recently that is designed to detect drug use up to three months prior. The new test relies on a lock of hair, rather than a urine sample, which has led Teamsters Local 102 to file a civil rights lawsuit and one worker to shave all of his body hair. Testers used a fingernail clipping for his test instead the union said. The union, representing 500 brewers, machinists and clerks at the Newark brewery, says the test is unreliable and violates privacy rights. “We are not going to accept this lying down,” Jack Riley, Local 102 secretary-treasurer and chief executive officer, told The Star-Ledger of Newark. So far, his local is the… Read More
New York Lawmaker Proposes Drug Testing For Pro Wrestlers
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A New York lawmaker is recommending mandatory drug testing for professional wrestlers competing in his state, saying it’s not a jab at the simulated violence but a way to protect children trying to emulate their heroes. “Almost all other major professional sports have adopted similar requirements for legal participation,” said Republican Sen. Thomas Libous. Drug testing as part of the state’s licensing requirements would show fans the wrestlers are drug-free, plus it would improve the level of competition and protect the wrestlers’ health, he said. World Wrestling Federation officials say it’s a plan that hits below the belt. “We are performers, we are showmen, he’d be drug testing everyone on Broadway. He’d be drug testing the circus,” said WWF Entertainment… Read More
Delta Drug Testing Debacle
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The Association of Flight Attendants, AFL-CIO, urged Delta Air Lines CEO Leo Mullin today to fix the airline’s drug testing program which has resulted in the firing of flight attendants who did not test positive for drug use. “We support the idea of a drug free workplace, but we also believe in fairness,” said Patricia Friend, president of the Association of Flight Attendants. “The results of recent tests call into question Delta’s drug testing program. Delta should bring back all those who were fired while it makes the changes needed to restore the flight attendants faith in the integrity of the testing process.” Recently, Delta fired a veteran flight attendant with a spotless work record and absolutely no history of… Read More
Fair Tresses Hide Drug Excesses
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Blondes have more fun, and they may be more likely to get away with it, too—that is, if their idea of fun is taking illegal drugs. Redheads, however, are even less likely to get caught. The darker a person’s hair, the more it accumulates traces of ingested drugs, new research shows. Since hair color is often a reflection of skin pigmentation, the results suggest that drug tests of hair samples may have a racial bias. However, experts said that in practice, hair differences are just one of many factors between individuals or ethnic groups that can influence the results of a drug test. The work was presented at a meeting this week of the American Society for Clinical Pharmacology and… Read More
Paul McCartney & His Band On The Run
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Timothy White interviewed Paul McCartney, formerly of the Beatles, for a book and developed it into a radio program called “McCartney: The First 20 Years.” He asked the songwriter to explain his song “Band on the Run,” on the album of the same name. “Well, at the time, bands like us and the Eagles were feeling like and being treated like outlaws and desperadoes, you know,” replied McCartney. “I mean, people were getting busted for pot, that is. And that’s about all they were getting popped for: Never anything serious. “And our argument was that we didn’t want to be outlaws. We just wanted to be part of the regular scene, you know, and make our music and live in… Read More
Junk Science Drove America To Drug Testing
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In the 1950s, employers spooked by the Red Menace instituted mandatory loyalty oaths, forcing employees to forswear any ties to communism. In the 1990s, the drug scourge had replaced communism as the great looming societal threat, and the pee-in-a-cup employee drug screen became de rigueur. But the march of time has a way of exposing baseless hysteria. Just as the loyalty oath has been shelved as an overblown reaction to the Cold War, so soon will the drug test become an abandoned relic of the war on drugs. While drug testing exploded during the past decade, with the rate of major U.S. companies engaging in it rising from 21 percent in 1987 to 81 percent in 1996, there are compelling… Read More
Scientists Check THC Content Of Hemp Beer
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Sometimes the scientists get to be the lab rats. Lynn Kurtz works as a forensic toxicologist at the state crime lab in Missoula, Montana, where the staff has recently had occasion to drink beer—all in the name of science. In October, Kurtz and his co-workers came across a letter to the editor of the Journal of Analytical Toxicology. The letter writers had tested a beer called Hempen Ale to determine whether drinking the beer might lead to a urine test that showed positive for THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. The test struck Kurtz as a good idea. Kurtz, other lab employees and acquaintances spent an evening drinking Olde Bongwater beer, brewed at Kettlehouse Brewing Co. in Missoula. Olde Bongwater… Read More
Hair Testing’s Color Blind
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The popularity of so-called hair testing to detect drug use is skyrocketing nationwide—a boon for the Cambridge company that is the nation’s largest provider of hair testing services. But with the increased popularity comes new controversy over the accuracy of hair testing, and its possible bias against people with dark hair. Employers, including some of the nation’s most established corporations, favor hair testing over urine testing because it can reveal drug use months earlier, rather than just the previous few days. A snippet of an employee’s hair is sent to one of the companies that provides analysis—most often Psychemedics Corp. in Cambridge—and the strand’s composition is examined for evidence of drug residue. General Motors, Anheuser Busch, BMW and Rubbermaid are… Read More