I hate drug tests. I think they're dumb and ineffective as policy. But mostly I object on moral grounds. I don't think it's your boss's business what you do at home. I don't think it's the government's business what you do at home.
And I think it's a shame that the least harmful illegal drug is the easiest to pick up. Somebody drinks a bottle of whiskey and takes LSD and smokes a little weed on the side. And all we detect and care about is the joint?
I don't think police should be buying illegal drugs and I don't think surgeons and airplane captains should be high at work. But I don't think drug testing prevents any of that. Tests can be beaten. But it's in nobody's interest--certainly not those who profit from drug tests--to advertise that fact.
I also object because there's something unfair about requiring drug tests for low-level jobs. It's not right. Good forbid a stocker at Home Depot smoked weed and watched TV on his day off! I'm sure Home Depot's corporate board isn't drug tested. Corporate boards are never drug tested.
When I ask my students if they've had to pee in a cup, the majority--the vast majority--answer yes. Drug tests are now a normal part of most people's lives. Is that the country we want to live in?
I was drug tested many times in the police academy. I didn't like it. But fine. It does seem somewhat more reasonable to test police officers. When I quit the police department, I assumed I'd never be drug tested again.
Last week I started volunteering at a certain museum here in New York that takes out old boats. I like historic boats and I like being on the water.
They're making me take a drug test!
I was thinking of taking and passing the test and then quitting on principle (because if you just refuse to take the test, everybody assumes you're just on drugs). But I got a little less huffy when I learned it's not the museum's stand. It's a Coast Guard requirement. If a boat has paying customers, all boat crew (paid or not) has to be drug tested. I still think it's dumb, but I don't see my moral righteousness affecting Coast Guard policy.
Tomorrow, for the first time in nine years, I get to pee in a cup and hand my urine to some stranger. And for this I have to pay $45. Only then will I be allowed the privilege of volunteering my (drug-free) labor.
If I get stage fright, perhaps I can relax myself by thinking about what it means to live in the land of the free.
Update: September 9
I was on time for my 5pm appointment. Of course I drunk a lot of water before, both so I could piss and also to lessen the chance of a false positive. So my bladder was bursting when I got there. And then I waited. And waited. So I decided I needed to relieve some pressure. A "demi-pee," as my friend called it. That's always fun. I had to do this twice by the time I was seen at 6:15pm.
The toilet bowl was filled some magical blue substance that prevents dilution with water from the toilet bowl. I'm also told not to run water from the tap.
I could have easily brought in a fake sample. I could have easily turned the water tap just a little bit. It's not like the nurse really cares.
But I don't cheat. I fill the open cup above the 60mm line (you don't actually need much urine) and leave the bathroom and hand the sample to the nurse. She poors my piss into two vials, seals them, and makes me sign the form I get a receipt and I'm good to go.
It's all very degrading and time consuming. I guess that's why those that can only make those under them take the test.