Recently, a college in Missouri made drug testing mandatory for all students, according to an article published on Oct. 10 in the New York Times.
Linn State Technical College informed its students they would be required to submit a urine test that would be checked for all illegal drugs as a requirement of enrolling there. I do not think this is a bad idea.
Of course, some students felt this was an intrusion on their personal freedom and privacy – those who were on some form of illegal drug(s). The intention of drug testing is not to invade privacy, but to ensure the safety of others.
Many places require drug testing for their workers. It is not a bad idea to start this as people enter college. College is supposed to prepare students for the workforce. Personally, I do not want someone high out of their mind operating heavy machinery or filling my prescriptions.
If someone is showing up to class with some mind-altering drug in their system, there is a chance they might show up to work in the same condition. Anyone who is using marijuana, cocaine, opiates, PCP, or oxycodone needs to be tested. If they happen to have a problem, they need to be sent to a drug rehabilitation center.
The college’s lawyer, Kent Brown, told New York Times reporter Timothy Williams, “There was a feeling that the college wasn’t properly stepping up to prepare the students for getting jobs in industries where drug testing was becoming the norm and an unavoidable barrier to getting and keeping good jobs in the industry.”
I wouldn’t mind it at all if Ferris started requiring incoming students to be drug tested. Students using illegal drugs are wasting their time, the professors’ time and the time of others. The use of illegal drugs for “stress relief” is one of the poorest excuses I have ever heard.
Brown said some of the programs Linn State offers deal with heavy equipment operations, high-voltage electricity or dangerous chemicals; drug testing is necessary to ensure the safety of all students.
Ferris offers similar programs, and I’m certain many of us don’t want someone who is hallucinating mixing chemicals or running heavy equipment. That’s quite a dangerous combination.
National Drug-Free Workplace Alliance indicated that drug use in the workplace has cost America billions of dollars every year in lost productivity and has increased health problems and workplace accidents.
According to consumeraffairs.com, the American Council for Drug Education reported more than 70 percent of substance abusers hold a job. While this statistic includes abuse of both legal and illegal drugs, Quest Diagnostics, a diagnostic testing company, reported the use of prescription opiates by American workers and job applicants has increased by 40 percent since 2005.
In addition, results from more than 5.5 million urine drug tests revealed an 18 percent jump in opiate positives in the general U.S. workforce in a single year (2008-09), and a more than 40 percent climb from 2005-09.
I wonder how many people who are currently in college will contribute to raising that number. Drug testing as a requirement to attend college is not a bad idea. It would help make the academic and work environment much safer in the long run.