Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Universal drug-testing on the way?

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One segment in the excellent movie The Union: The Business Behind Getting High was on the business of drug testing: it’s extremely profitable, and if the industry can just get states to legislate the requirement, they are in like Flynn. Over the years, they can gradually bring more and more groups into testing.

First it was people who had dangerous occupations that had to be tested: airline pilots and locomotive engineers and police officers. But then, how about professional athletes? Better do them, too. And amateur athletes—don’t leave them out. In fact, in the schools, give drug tests not only to every athlete, but to every student who participates in an extracurricular activity—since the activity is not required, the school can say, "If you want to participate, you have to take regular drug tests." So now we have kids who are in the elementary school chess club being required to pee in a bottle. And the industry is hoping, of course, to get legislation passed that requires every student in any public school to have to be regularly tested for drugs: so much money to be made.

Costs like these are simply another form of tax: more money spent by law. And the really bad thing about drug tests? Drugs like crystal meth and cocaine are out of your system after a couple of days, but marijuana use can be detected even 4 weeks later. So, the message: don’t use marijuana—if you want to get high, use crystal meth or cocaine.

Here’s the latest: "California adopts stricter rules for drug abusers in the health industry". Lots of new tests to be bought, over and over and over. Charles Ornstein and Tracy Weber in the LA Times:

In a major shift, California will impose tough new standards on drug-abusing health professionals, strictly scrutinizing those in treatment and immediately removing from practice anyone who relapses.

"The bottom line is we’re in the business of protecting consumers," said Brian Stiger, director of the state Department of Consumer Affairs, which announced the rules Thursday. "We’re not in the business of rehabilitation."

The rules will require nurses, dentists and other health workers in state-run recovery programs to take at least 104 drug tests in their first year — more than double any current requirement.

Health professionals will be automatically pulled from practice, at least temporarily, after a single positive result. And any restrictions to their licenses will be listed on public websites, easing the long-standing confidentiality protections that have shielded participants and kept their patients in the dark.

The changes appear to address problems raised in a July investigation by The Times and the nonprofit newsroom ProPublica, which detailed how registered nurses were able to treat patients without permission and steal drugs while participating in the confidential recovery program known as diversion.

Even when the state Board of Registered Nursing kicked them out, labeling them "public safety risks," it took a median 15 months to file public accusations, the investigation found.

The standards were drafted by a committee created by the Legislature last year after repeated audits revealed that the recovery program for doctors poorly monitored participants and failed to terminate those who relapsed. The Medical Board of California shut down that program June 30, 2008…

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

20 November 2009 at 12:04 pm

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