Drug Testing Encourages Cocaine, Heroin, and Meth Use

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Anti-drug activist Debbie Fowler became a vocal supporter of student drug testing after her son Adam died from a heroin overdose:

Just a few weeks ago, Fowler testified at a congressional hearing for the Office of National Drug Control policy.

"I speak for them ... for funding of the president funding student drug testing programs," Fowler said. "I've done quite a few things for them." [Tribune-Democrat]

Certainly, Debbie Fowler would have liked to know about her son's heroin use before it took his life. Her motivations are very easy to understand. Unfortunately, she appears not to realize that drug testing encourages the use of the most dangerous drugs.

Schools rely almost exclusively on cheap urine tests, which can only detect cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine within a couple days of ingestion. Students know they can use these drugs on a Friday evening and test clean on Monday, so a random testing program is not effective at curbing use of these drugs. Unfortunately, the effect is sometimes quite the opposite.

Marijuana, the most widely used illicit drug, remains detectable for up to a month. Thus the proliferation of random student drug testing necessarily creates awareness among young people about which drugs are "safe" if you're worried about being tested. The switch from marijuana to stronger less-detectable drugs is a very real consequence of student drug testing, which has yet to be acknowledged by drug testing proponents.

I know that this problem is real because I've seen it first hand. In high school, I witnessed classmates asking around for drugs other than marijuana, precisely because they were being tested. Alcohol was the most popular marijuana substitute, but others surfaced as well. "You'll pass your drug test," became a selling point for substances other than marijuana.

This is just the truth about drug testing and how it effects the decisions young people make. Feel free to ignore me, or dismiss my judgments as the prejudiced fulminations of a pro-drug zealot. But drug testing, for very simple scientific reasons, has become a gateway to experimentation with more dangerous, less-detectible drugs. If anyone in the drug prevention community is wondering why student drug testing programs keep being proven not to reduce youth drug use, maybe you'll start thinking about these sorts of things.

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Drug Testing Fraud

Manufacturers of drug test kits are hoping for a cash windfall if a nationwide student drug testing program is implemented. The catch is that the various companies risk being fined into oblivion by the appropriate government agency if their companies misrepresent the efficacy of their products.

And that appears to be what the drug testing companies are doing when they coax school districts into believing that students will stop using all drugs if random drug testing is implemented as a school policy.

Obviously, if a student can completely metabolize a drug in two or three days, all they have to do is wait until they are clean before showing up again in class. In fact, I know state employees who refuse to smoke marijuana because of the threat of random drug tests, but they feel no such disinclination involving the use of psychedelic drugs, which are also fast metabolizers.

No significant drug deterrence exists in the claims being made by drug testing companies, except for the aforementioned, least harmful of all drugs, marijuana.

And that is fraud.

There are parallels that relate the problems of drug test kits to a recently concluded FDA fraud case. The Purdue Frederick Company, Inc., also misrepresented the facts about their product OxyContin, later known as Hillbilly Heroin. Purdue was forced to shell out $600 million, which included a criminal fine, restitution to government agencies, $276 million + in forfeiture, and a related civil settlement to the feds for $100.6 million.

Here are the FDA charges against the offending drug company, specifically that Purdue:

(1) trained sales representatives to falsely represent to health care providers the difficulty of extracting oxycodone, the active ingredient, from the OxyContin tablet

(2) trained its sales force to represent to health care providers that OxyContin didn't cause euphoria and was less addictive than immediate-release opiates

(3) allowed health care providers to entertain the erroneous belief that OxyContin was less addictive than morphine

(4) labeled OxyContin as providing "fewer peaks and valleys than with immediate-release oxycodone"

(5) represented falsely that lower dosages of the drug can always be discontinued abruptly without patients suffering withdrawal symptoms or tolerance.

The charges and fines against Purdue were summed up by Margaret O. K. Glavin, FDA’s Associate Commissioner for Regulatory Affairs, who said:

"FDA will not tolerate practices that falsely promote drug products and place consumers at health risk. We will continue to do all we can to protect the public against drug companies and their representatives who are not truthful and bilk consumers of precious health care dollars."

For the drug testing companies to falsely promote their test kits, and by doing so to increase the consumer’s health risk; and not only that, but the health risk to school children who substitute meth for pot, constitutes a serious criminal offense, in my humble opinion. But no matter how serious the alleged criminal activity may be in this case, the fact that drug testing products are erroneously considered a useful weapon in the drug war may be enough to override any of the types of reason or logic that existed during the FDA action taken against Purdue Frederick.

Giordano

Why target students?

How about drug testing members of Congress? Aren't they the ones making the most important decisions for our country? I bet they wouldn't like having to whiz in a bottle. It's all about profits for the drug test manufacturers. Next they will test employees not only for drugs, but for other health problems that could potentially impact the company's productivty. Maybe they'll start weighing people and firing employees whose BMI is too high. Then genetic screening. When will it end?

How a Drug Testing False Positive Ruined My Career

I have been a truck driver for over 20 years. Around 1986 I was required to provide urine samples both random & preemployment. At first I thought this process was rather humiliating. I figured after 20 years of having to (for lack of a better term) piss into a plastic cup to keep my job, this process would become less humiliating. It hasn't. I never had a positive test. About two years ago, I had applied for a better job. I thought I had it "in the bag". After not hearing back from the prospective employer, I contacted them. I was told by them there had been a problem with my drug test. I contacted the medical review officer (MRO) regarding my test results. I was told by the MRO that I had tested positive for prescription amphetamines. I asked why I had not been contacted about this, as proper protocol requires them to do. I was told that they had tried. My message machine and voice mail had no messages from them. When I asked about this I was told by the MRO that I was a drug user and that was it. I had no ways or means to fight this. Only days later I ended up going in for treatment, of a painful lower back. It was discovered I had a kidney infection. It took several weeks of treatment before I had recovered. Only recently I discovered that the kidney infection I had, could show up as a positive test for prescription amphetamines. If the MRO had been doing his job maybe I could be doing mine today ! If the kidney infection had been detected earlier, it would have saved me some pain and agony, and most probably shortened my recovery time. There is nothing set up to protect us from this injustice ! I do have over a million accident free miles as a truck driver and now I can not get work ! I am not a drug user but I fear I am now in some database that labels me as one ! Thank You Congress!

question re kidney infection

What exactly does the kidney infection have to do with producing a false positive?

What is really wrong about drug testing

It is only fitting that drug testing is fraught with these fatal flaws seen in the above comments -- after all, if you can't turn a sow's ear into a silk purse how can you expect to turn an unconstitutional violation of one's civil rights into an infallible, reasonable, or acceptable practice?

The real issue underlying all the problems created by this invasive and unethical probing of our private and personal business under the guise of "safety" is the only issue that should concern any of us: protection of our civil rights far outweighs any possible good -- if any existed -- that we could ever expect to see coming from it. .

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