mandatory drug testing



At What Cost?
It has become all too common for governmental institutions across the nation to pass rules saying that certain people are subject to random drug testing. The central question that is raised deals with the righteousness of being subjected to testing even when there is no overwhelming warrant. Under the protection of the unreasonable search and seizures, including bodily searches, in the fourth amendment of the constitution, certain people, such as students and welfare recipients, to name a few, feel that their rights as citizens and human beings are being violated when they have to submit to mandatory drug tests, but on the other side there are those who believe that if someone is willing to participate in a program, then they should be subjected to these tests.
Disagreements happen because of the belief that drug test are used to protect and save lives and to improve the environment that the person is present in. Even though this may be true, others believe that mandatory testing is unjust and biased towards certain people. Controversy arises when the people that have to take the tests are chosen. While the controversy may center on the validity of the act, the real problem is that the effects of implementing such programs comes at a large expense. In one case, arguments form because of the mentality that all athletes should take a test due to the fact that they are more prone to taking drugs, but then what about the student who is not involved in any extra curricular activities and does drugs? Is the athlete being discriminated against because of a generalization? Also in the case of welfare recipients, they are asked to submit to these tests, just because they are more apt to take illegal substances, does that mean the they should always be checked for drugs? If implementation does occur, the sacrifices would relate to the monetary cost, lose of privacy, and violation of the constitution.
To understand the arguments being made one must look at the people that have expressed their views on this topic. The first is the Calvert Institute for Policy Research. It is a non-partisan, educational institution dedicated to the research and propagation of solutions based upon the principles of free markets and personal responsibility. On the other side there is the American Civil Liberties Union, or ACLU, which is the nation\'s foremost advocate of individual rights -- litigating, legislating, and educating the public on a broad array of issues affecting individual freedom in the United States. It is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, public interest organization devoted exclusively to protecting the basic civil liberties of all Americans. Another organization that supports this side is the Cato Institute, which seeks to broaden the limitations of public policy to allow traditional American principles of limited government, individual liberty, and peace. The Institute strives to achieve greater involvement of the intelligent, concerned lay public in questions of policy and the proper role of government. Both sides examine the issues presented and provide much insight in to the task to resolving the conflict.
In a capitalistic economy the first thought on ever implementing a new government policy relates to the cost. There is always public concern on how much new governmental programs cost the taxpayer, and the issue of mandatory drug testing is no different. In order to understand arguments there is a need to understand who is arguing. According to Robert Taylor who is a professor of economics at San Diego State University, uses the principles of mathematics to justify his argument. His study, entitled “Compensating Behavior and the Drug testing Of High School Athletes,” says that for many schools the financial barrier of drug testing, $20-30 per standard drug screen and $100 per steroid test, is far to big of a burden (5). In a time where extracurricular activities are being cut because of a lack of funds, the cost of drug testing does not seem practical. On the other hand, some of the strong supporters for the mandatory testing policy, such as Dr. Douglas P. Munro, who is the co-director and CEO of the Calvert Institute and Michael Krauss, who is a professor of law at George Mason University and a member of the institute’s board of advisor have