A few days ago the Evansville City Council voted down the resolution to be drug tested, while serving in office. With a 7-2 vote against the drug testing policy, it was stated that it was simply 'lousy'. Interesting opinion on a policy, that most anyone who has a job must submit themselves to, at least randomly. Missy Mosby and Jonathan Weaver were both sponsors of this resolution, that fell short.
So, I have a few questions, in regards to this resolution vote. Why are we leaving the decision to be drug tested up to the people whom would be tested? What is the exact reason for not submitting to this requirement, besides a 'lousy' opinion?
Laws providing for government employee drug testing.
There are two court cases that allow the drug testing of any city employees. Skinner/Van Raab allows for drug testing of city workers, based on need over privacy. Therefore, if they are in a position that is security or safety related, it's supported and even encouraged. To justify the privacy concern, if the ability of a city official could be affected by drugs, then it overrides the need for privacy and the individual should be subjected to testing.
An argument against the drug testing is the actual cost of the test. Why should we subject the city of Evansville to this increase in cost, that may not be necessary? I argue that I don't trust anyone in the public service sector, so they should be tested. These city workers should be held at a higher standard than their constituents and even they have to take drug tests, at least randomly at private companies.
Why do private companies drug test?
According to the 2007 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 8.4 percent of full-time employees (10.2 million) and 10.1 percent of part-time employees (3 million) aged 18 or older reported using illicit drugs within the past month. Employees who abuse drugs are 2.5 times more likely than other non-substance abusing coworkers to be absent for eight or more days.2 Drug abusers are 3.6 times more likely to be involved in an accident at work and 5 times more likely to file a workers compensation claim.2 Forty-four percent of abusers have sold drugs to other employees and 18 percent have stolen from co-workers to support their habit.
This study brings up some serious concerns for a private business. I feel these same concerns can be applied directly to city employees and their involvement in the community. What do you think? 14News.com has a poll on their homepage asking whether Evansville City Council members should be drug tested, I encourage you to place your vote.