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West Virginia Bill Would Drug Test Teens for Driver Licenses

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #772)
Drug War Issues

A bill introduced Tuesday in the West Virginia House of Delegates would require prospective teen drivers to pass three separate drug tests before receiving a full drivers' license. It's only the latest drug testing proposal to emerge at the statehouse in Charleston this year.

teen driving lesson
Introduced by Del. Joe Ellington (R-Mercer), House Bill 2528 would require teens to "pass a drug test designed to detect illegal consumption of controlled substances" before getting a learner's permit, before getting an intermediate license, and before getting a full license.

"So the goal was: they really want to get that driver's license -- their incentive would be to not use anything and maybe not bow down to peer pressure to succumb to drug use," Ellington explained to WSAZ News Channel 3 in Charleston Tuesday night.

Ellington, an obstetrician, is the minority chair of the Health Committee and member of the Roads and Transportation Committee, where the bill has been referred.

Charleston has been a hotbed of drug testing fever in recent years, which have repeatedly seen bills introduced that would require drug testing of welfare recipients. There's another one this year, as well as bills that would expand drug testing of coal miners and require health care providers to release drug testing records of minors to their parents.

It's not just Republicans at the statehouse. Last year, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (D) issued an executive order requiring participants in the state's job training programs to undergo mandatory, suspicionless drug testing.

The enthusiasm for drug testing in Charleston remains despite the sobering results of Tomblin's job trainee drug testing. The first six months of testing resulted in just five failed tests out of 562.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


saynotohypocrisy (not verified)

That doesn't bother silly pig Ellington because he doesn't understand that alcohol is a drug, and one that is far more likely to lead to car crashes than weed. It might also push  some people to use cocaine instead of weed, because cocaine also leaves the body more quickly than the byproducts of cannabis use that they test for do.

Doesn't this obstetrician know anything about the cause of fetal alcohol syndrome? Maybe he thinks it's caused by cannabis, that wouldn't be any crazy than the widespread belief that it's ok to hand out DUI's for marijuana when a person isn't under the influence of weed in the slightest, let alone impaired by it. 

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 10:50am Permalink
kelemi (not verified)

But you don't have to pass any drug test to buy firearms.

You can have alcohol in your system.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 10:56am Permalink
Uncle Bob (not verified)

Drug Testing is part of the "demand reduction" strategy, moreso than it is a public safety measure.  Drug testing was popularized under the notion that it would reduce people's demand for drugs because they were afraid of getting in trouble.

In actuality, decades of drug testing has done nothing to stem the demand for drugs in our country... it causes people to use more dangerous drugs like cocaine instead of Marijuana, because the window for detection is much smaller.

Smoke a joint and you may "pop positive" weeks later... but it's a well known fact in party circles that you can totally do cocaine as a weekend thing and be able to pass a drug test two-three days later...

So really it's just one more in a long chain of "more harm than good" failed "solutions" to the war on drugs which must end.

Furthermore... drug testing is designed to catch the RESPONSIBLE users... those who are irresponsible are the ones out on the street doing stupid stuff and getting caught and arrested.. THEY are the ones who effect public health and public safety.  Drug testing is designed to catch the drug users who otherwise would NOT be caught.. because they are able to effectively hide their drug use to the point that no one else would ever know they used them.. these are the ones who do is responsibly at home not driving anywhere, not doing it in a way that would endagner anyone else.. and drug testing is designed to root these people out and punish them.

It just seems so pointless to me.

"You're doing a good job, we have no reason to suspect you of drug use.. but here take this test 'JUST IN CASE'"

There's no greater infringement to our rights in America than this...

Thu, 02/21/2013 - 3:36am Permalink
kickback (not verified)

Someone is profiting by taking away the rights of the citizenry . Random drug test being the norm in the workplace is the objective . In 15 years , kids will accept random drug testing as normal . A National I.D. for everyone . If your number comes up that week , then you have 48 hrs. to report to the local sanctioned clinic for the drug test . Positive results will be forwarded to the local Magistrate . This is you and your kids future .

Thu, 02/21/2013 - 11:32pm Permalink

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