Reporting failed drug tests yields paltry results for Georgia

The year-plus encouragement from the Georgia Department of Labor aimed at businesses across the state seeking employers to essentially “out” job hunters who failed a drug test as a prerequisite to employment has not yielded particularly impressive results.

In fact, the name of just a single individual was passed along over that time, an outcome that critics have seized on as evidence of the initiative’s flat failure.

Groups that have opposed the reporting program have voiced objections on myriad grounds. One such ground points to the obvious fact that virtually no benefit has been realized from the push. The state’s encouragement has been based on the concern of some legislators and business entities that unemployed residents who are receiving government assistance are using drugs and should be ineligible to obtain benefits. Based on the results seen after one year, that does not seem to be the case.

Other concerns exist, as well, relating to state intrusion and interference with personal liberty and legal rights. One labor advocate has termed the effort to report and punish a “witch hunt.” Evidence of drug possession and use of drugs such as marijuana or cocaine among job seekers or unemployed persons who are manipulating the system is, as noted in a recent media article, “scant.”

Other states have also proposed similar programs or have already begun testing people in government-funded job programs. Results seem similarly dismal. In West Virginia and Indiana, for example, only one out of 100 people testing over a measured period failed a test.

Source: Huffington Post, “Georgia drug-testing scheme nabs just one person,” Arthur Delaney, Feb. 7, 2013