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It’s Not About Public Safety
Posted by A. Shapiro
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National shyster-in-chief (aka “drug czar”) John Walters has done it again. Walters’ “drugged driving” initiative calls for “zero tolerance” for driving under the influence. “It’s about public safety,” Walters claims. Not only is the initiative not about public safety. It’s not even about driving while drugged. Smoke marijuana on a Saturday night, for example. Drive on that Sunday. Guilty. For that matter, smoke a week before. Guilty. Neither situation has anything to do with driving under the influence—marijuana’s components simply remain in the bloodstream for awhile after it is used, days or weeks after the high disappears. But head drug propagandist Walters isn’t interested in that. He wants zero tolerance, for its own sake. Not only will Walters’ so-called “drugged… Read More
Survey Reveals Employees Fear Job Loss If They Seek Treatment
Posted by A. Shapiro
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Although Americans expect that their employer’s health insurance will cover alcohol or drug addiction treatment, more than one in five insured employees believe that if they sought coverage for that treatment, they would face negative consequences at work. Fears range from being fired outright to losing a license or failing to get a promotion, according to the results of the September 2002 “Workplace Recovery Benefits Survey” released today by Minnesota-based Hazelden Foundation. Hazelden’s new survey also reveals that more than half of this country’s 74 million workers with job-sponsored health insurance would prefer to ask a boss about their company’s insurance coverage for treatment of a disease like diabetes, rather than face retribution or punishment for merely asking what kind… Read More
Court Upholds Drug Tests For Michigan Welfare Recipients
Posted by A. Shapiro
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A three-judge panel of the Cincinnati-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit held unanimously that a Michigan law that would subject welfare recipients to random drug testing as a condition of receiving benefits is justified by the state’s interest in preventing drug-related child abuse and other crimes. “This decision opens doors that I don’t think the full 6th Circuit would be comfortable with,” said Graham Boyd, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer who represents welfare recipients. “Its reasoning could be applied to all parents, welfare or not.” An appeal to the full membership of the 6th Circuit is likely. The 1996 federal welfare reform law authorized random drug testing by the states, but only Michigan adopted it, in… Read More
Michigan Welfare Recipients To Get Drug Test
Posted by A. Shapiro
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A federal appeals court Friday cleared the way for Michigan to test welfare recipients for drug use. U.S. District Court Judge Victoria Roberts halted a pilot drug-testing program in 1999 after a group of welfare recipients and the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan argued that the testing is unconstitutional. A three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed Roberts’ decision Friday, saying the testing program is based on a legitimate need to ensure that public money is not used for illegal purposes. Robert Sedler, the attorney who sued the state Family Independence Agency on behalf of several welfare recipients, said he will appeal to the full court. “We are dealing here … with the suspicionless testing… Read More
Snacks Can Make People Obese, But Get Them Fired?
Posted by A. Shapiro
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Snacks can make people obese and high-wired. But get them fired? A U.S. Border Patrol agent dismissed from his job earlier this year after testing positive for drugs is blaming a San Diego-based manufacturer of hemp bars for his downfall. Michael Baranic, a San Diego attorney representing the fired agent, said his client’s troubles started last year after he ate Govinda’s Fitness Foods hemp bars just before a random drug test. The Border Patrol fired the agent in May based on the results of the test, which indicated the presence of psychoactive chemicals in his blood. “My client has never used (illegal) drugs,” said Baranic, adding that he would seek reinstatement, back pay and attorney’s fees for the former agent… Read More
Alabama Rape Victim Ordered To Provide Urine Sample For Drug Test
Posted by A. Shapiro
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A Saraland, Alabama, woman who filed a rape complaint after a 4th of July date turned ugly was ordered to provide a urine sample for a drug test in Mobile County District Court on July 9. The order came after Judge Delano Palughi ruled favorably on a defense motion asking the court to force the accuser to submit to a drug test. Defense attorney Rick Yelverton, representing 26-year-old Emanuel DeWitt, implied that the woman could have been under the influence of drugs at the time of the alleged rape. Yelverton argued that if the woman was on drugs when the incident occurred, the test results could go “to her character and to her ability to recall what happened that night.”… Read More
Despite Supreme Court Ruling, No Wave Of High School Drug Testing Foreseen
Posted by A. Shapiro
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When the Supreme Court ruled in June in Earls v. Tecumseh that local school districts could constitutionally drug test students involved in extracurricular activities, the drug testing industry, some congressional drug warriors, and at least one well-known political hired gun got excited. But a round of interviews conducted by DRCNet this week suggests that school districts are not about to embark on a headlong rush into student drug testing despite the high court’s green light. In a 5-4 decision, the Court expanded its 1995 Vernonia ruling, which allowed districts to test athletes in certain circumstances, to include students who wish to participate in activities such as debate society, chess club, and the like (http://www.drcnet.org/wol/243.html#schooldrugtesting). But while some anti-drugs groups predicted… Read More
The Pentagon’s Battle
Posted by A. Shapiro
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The Pentagon’s battle to keep illicit drugs out of the barracks and off warships has faltered during the past few years as more servicemen and women have failed drug tests and been discharged. Drug use has increased after a 20-year decline, and 17,000 people have been kicked out of the Navy, Army, Air Force and Marine Corps since 1999, according to statistics compiled by The San Diego Union-Tribune. Some critics worry that a higher incidence of substance abuse may weaken preparedness in a military at war. The Pentagon argues that its drug problem remains small compared with the civilian world. Yet military authorities acknowledge that repeated warnings about the penalties for drug use—and frequent random testing—are failing to deter some… Read More
Pissing Away Our Rights
Posted by A. Shapiro
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Thank you, Jed Gottlieb, for your “Pee to Play” article on the recent Supreme Court ruling approving “urinate on demand” testing for high school students. The broad application of suspicionless drug testing does not bode well for a free society. Of particular concern to NORML and organizations like it is that urine testing can detect traces of marijuana for 30+ days after use, much longer than cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, or alcohol-and obviously much longer than any impairment is present. This means that you can binge regularly on a dangerous cocktail of vodka, meth, and heroin, and not be too worried about drug testing, but smoke the occasional weekend joint and you could lose everything. Due to this fact, drug-testing programs… Read More
Police To Test Face Software
Posted by A. Shapiro
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If you’re a criminal, a runaway or a terrorist, a day at the beach here may soon be anything but that. The city will become the second in the nation—Tampa, Fla., is the other—to employ facial-recognition software to assist police in identifying and catching criminals and missing persons. The system is to be tested along the city’s oceanfront resort strip this holiday weekend, and police hope to have it fully operational in two to three weeks. “We’re adding to our ability to prevent crime and keep Virginia Beach safe,” Deputy Police Chief Gregory Mullen said Wednesday. Critics say the software is inaccurate and an invasion of privacy. “This is a Big Brother contraption,” said Kent Willis, executive director of the… Read More