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Drug Testing Is A Violation Of The Fourth Amendment

3079 words - 12 pages


Drug testing in the United States began with the explosive use of illegal drugs, in order to curb drug abuse. This began during the Vietnam War with drug use at a climax. In general, Drug testing is a way to detect illegal drug use and deter it, usually by Urinalysis. Drug testing in the United States violates a citizen's right to unreasonable search and seizure's along with jeopardizing one's freedom. Furthermore, Drug testing is not only an unreliable invasion of a person's privacy but it assumes that one is guilty before submitting to the test.
Drug testing began to take place in the mid 1960's when drugs like Marijuana, hallucinogens and other drugs were becoming widespread (Stencel, pp.201). The military implemented mandatory drug testing because of the widespread use and the number of Vets that were returning home because of addiction. Ronald Reagan pushed for employers to implement drug testing and even had himself screened for illegal drugs to encourage employers and to reduce opposition to testing (Stencel, pp. 200). "The increased concern about drug abuse has, in part, been the result of the early 1986 appearance on the streets of crack-a new, powerfully addictive form of cocaine-and the growth of cocaine addiction" (Berger, 12). President Reagan later called for a second "war on drugs" campaign. In October of 1986, President Reagan signed into law a 1.7 billion dollar anti-drug bill, called the "Drug-Free Workplace Order". In addition to the bill, Reagan instructed his cabinet officers to create a plan to begin drug testing for federal civil employees (Berger, 14). Drug testing thus begun a sharp climb into the area of private employers. In November of 1988 Congress passed an Act requiring grant recipients or federal contractors to maintain drug-free workplaces. Most of the employers set up voluntary testing programs and many employees began to sue, claiming that individual testing is a violation of privacy rights (Horgan, 21). The argument is that the employees are being deprived of their Fourth Amendment protection (22).
Many believe that government testing programs should be unconstitutional unless the authorities have either reasonable suspicion or probable cause that the individuals being tested are on drugs. To justify the use of private employer testing, President Bush said in 1989 that "Drug abuse among American workers costs businesses anywhere from $60 billion to $100 billion dollars a year in lost productivity, absenteeism, drug-related accidents, medical claims, and theft" (Horgan, 19). This claim was derived from a source that interviewed families that were 28% lower in overall income than the average household. This was used in an effort to promote Bush's "war on drugs" forum into the private sector (Horgan, 21). Many behavior's of lower income people often differ statistically from upper-income people, therefore the statement of Bush never establishes a clear or accurate statistic. "In 1989...

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