Education


SAMHSA ( Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) states that as many as 7 percent of adults employed full time, and 9 percent employed part time in the United States use illegal drugs, yet preemployment testing (mostly done by urine in the US) detects far less that this.

The reason is that drug abusers are two fold:

1.  Drug abusers can easily defeat urine-based testing, especially if they are sent to an offsite collection facility to donate urine.

2. Most urine tests are “5-panel” and based upon drug usage trends that are 30 years old.  Prescription drug abuse, especially oxycodone (Percoset, Oxycontin) lead as the number on threat to workplace safety, exclusive of alcohol, and are NOT detected by SAMHSA’S  / DOT’s 5-panel urine test.

Note:  Don’t be mislead by laboratory claims that they can detect most instances of adulteration or substitution.  This is patently false.  Even SAMHSA acknowledges that the only method to successfully mitigate “beating the test” is via observed specimen collection.

What is preemployment workplace drug screening?

Urine

The most common, be lest  effective way for companies to screen potential employees is through urine tests.  Specimen are typically conducted at offsite urine collection centers and drug abusers have plenty of opportunity to stop along the way and purchase substances to adulterate or substitute their sample.  Samples are then sent to an offsite an independent laboratory such as Quest Diagnostics or LabCorp. Urine tests supposedly provide results within 24 to 72 hours of when the test is taken, however delays are common.

Five Panel

The typical urine test includes testing of the following drugs: amphetamine and methamphetamines, cocaine, marijuana, opiates (codeine and morphine – NOT oxycodone, oxymorphone, hydrocodone-Vicodin, or hydromorphone) and phencyclidine (PCP or angel dust). These tests typically only detect drug use within the past 72 hours.

Nine Panel

The more extensive, and expensive, nine panel test includes all of these mentioned in the five panel test as well as tests for barbiturates (i.e. Amytal), benzodiazepines (i.e. Xanax or Klonopin), methadone and propoxyphene (Darvocet).

Onsite

Although more commonly used for employees than as a pre-screening method, rapid result drugs tests that test all the drugs in the nine panel exam can also be purchased by companies to administer drug tests.

Oral Fluid, Hair, Sweat, And Blood

Other types of drug screening is available including oral fluid / saliva drug screening (on-site and lab-based),  and oral fluid / saliva alcohol screens (on-site and lab-based). Hair testing is used as it can detect drug usage from as far as 90 days prior, however can only be done at a laboratory and can not detect recent drug usage (within the past seven days).  Sweat testing is rarely used as it involves placing a patch on the body and it subject to concern about accuracy and tampering.   Blood screen, the true “gold standard”, like oral fluid, detects recent drug abuse, however  is far more expensive and invasive, they are unlikely to be used at most pre-employment drug screenings.

The drug cut off concentration level is the defined level of drug or metabolite concentration in the specimen (blood, hair, oral fluid / saliva , urine , sweat ).

Any concentration of drug or metabolite at or above the cut off level leads to “non-negative” result while below leads to a negative result.

The amount of drug / drug metabolite that can be detected by and on-site screen , laboratory screen , or quantitative confirmatory test (GC/MS, LC/MS/MS) depends on factors like dosage, method of use, time, metabolism, sex, metabolism, frequency of use, specimen type, methods of drug testing, and other factors.

Immunoassay (IA) technique is used to initially screen the specimen ( lateral flow immunoassay for on-site devices) while a Gas Chromatography and Mass Spectrometry (GS/MS), or Liquid (LC/MS/MS) test is conducted for confirmatory testing.

The five most commonly abused drugs are Cocaine, Amphetamines, Marijuana, Opiates, and Phencyclidine (PCP), however, these are ” outdated ” relative to current drug abuse patterns in society.  Prescription drug misuse is the dominant health and safety concern, in addition to alcohol. PCP using is virtually zero.  ” DOT ” testing does not produce “positives” for Oxycontin (Oxycodone ) or Lortab / Vicodine (Hydrocodone).

Urine Drug Testing
In Urine drug testing, the immunoassay (IA) technique is used to perform initial screening of specimen and detect the presence of drugs.

If the concentration of specified drugs is found at or above the cut-off level in initial screening, the results are declared as positive. Later a Gas Chromatography and Mass Spectrometry (GS/MS) test is conducted in laboratory for confirmation.

The initial drug cut off concentration level for five commonly abused drugs using 5-Drug Test Card are:
Cocaine (Benzoylecgonine) — 300 ng/ml
Amphetamines (D-Amphetamine) — 1000 ng/ml
Marijuana (11-nor-?9-THC-9 COOH) — 50 ng/ml
Opiates (Morphine) — 2000 ng/ml
Phencyclidine (Phencyclidine) — 25 ng/ml

The Cut-off levels in urine drug testing are measured in nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml).

The major issues with urine testing is that it is easily and commonly defeated by drug abusers via adulteration and substitution.  Also, traditional five panel tests do not detect the prevalent prescription drugs abused.

Hair Drug Testing
The hair drug testing can show drug abuse history for as long as 90 days, however, has can only be performed at a laboratory, and can not detect drug use within the past week or longer… thus only viable for historical drug abuse.

Furthermore, there are issues with variability in results due to hair color.

The initial drug cut off concentration level for the five commonly abused drugs using 7-panel test are:
Cocaine (Benzoylecgonine) — 0.5 ng/mg
Amphetamines (Amphetamine) — 0.5 ng/mg
Marijuana (cannabinoids) — 0.005 ng/mg
Opiates (Morphine) — 0.2 ng/mg
Phencyclidine (Phencyclidine) — 0.3 ng/mg

The confirmatory drug cut-off levels for these drugs are:
Amphetamines (Amphetamine) — 0.1 ng/mg
Marijuana (cannabinoids) — 0.1 ng/mg
Opiates (Morphine) — 0.1 ng/mg
Phencyclidine (Phencyclidine) — 0.1 ng/mg

Oral Fluid / Saliva Drug Testing
Oral fluid is the proper term, as only 20% of substance in the mouth  is saliva. Oral fluid drug testing is an effective way to detect the presence of drugs consumed in last few days, thus well suited for most employers that are primarily concerned with recent and/or “on-the-job” misuse.  It is also generally concerned superior for post accident or reasonable suspicion testing as it most closely mimics the results obtained from blood testing.

It is convenient, non-invasive, and gives quick results.

The immunoassay technique is used for initial screening of oral specimen for detection of drugs for on-site devices and/or at a laboratory.  A GS/MS or LC/MS/MS test is used for confirmatory purpose if initial screening test is non-negative.

The initial cut off concentration for five common drugs in oral drug testing:
Cocaine (Benzoylecgonine) — 20 ng/ml
Amphetamines (d-Amphetamine) — 50 ng/ml
Marijuana (THC-COOH) — 4-50 ng/ml
Opiates (Morphine) — 20 ng/ml
Phencyclidine (Phencyclidine) — 10 ng/ml

The cut-off concentration, drug class detected, and specimen type are crucial parameters to detect the presence of drugs and conclude whether result is non-negative or negative.

As a non-negative and eventually positive test result can have a significant impact on safety in the workplace as well as providing employee assistance.

http://www.navigent3.com

Traditional urine-based drug screening suffers from the prevalent practices of specimen substitution and adulteration.

Also, employers and employees alike view urine testing as degrading and generally distasteful, and most urine samples are analyzed at a lab, which is an expensive and inefficient process.

Oral fluid-based testing cannot be ‘cheated’ because specimen collection is directly observed, is a socially acceptable practice and enables employers to implement random testing, which experts consider the most effective method of deterring on-the-job drug abuse.

At the national level, random drug testing such as this can significantly impact occupational safety and health by reducing injuries, accidents and fatalities.

Properly implemented drug testing programs that use random, oral fluid-based testing, in addition to educational and associated employee assistance programs, can reduce on-the-job accidents by up to 50% or more.  Further benefits may include lower employee turnovers rates and absenteeism as well as reduced inventory shrinkage and workplace violence.

The U.S. consumes over 60% of the world’s illicit drug production,” he adds. “Each year, the costs to U.S. employers exceed $140 billion, as 77% of all drug abusers are employed, and eight to ten percent of workers in any company abuse drugs. On average, each drug abuser costs a corporation $10,000 per year.

Given these statistics, it is no surprise that the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) actively and openly supports drug testing in the workplace.

OSHA is working with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to manage the Drug-Free Workplace Alliance, “a cooperative agreement that focuses on improving workplace safety and health in the construction industry through substance abuse prevention and intervention.”

While SAMHSA and DOT related agencies are considering expanding their practices to include alternative testing (oral fluid and hair), this process will likely take years due to the general nature of government and lobbying on the part of urine testing providers.

DOT testing accounts for only about two percent of all testing done in the U.S. Additionally, it should be noted that the latest National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Causal Study for Large Truck Crashes cited driver error as the number one factor, with prescription painkillers as the number one associated variable.

Drug abusers can negatively impact employee morale and corporate viability as well, which makes the need for drug testing among U.S. employees great.

Drug abuse in the U.S. is worse than ever. The use of prescription painkillers is becoming more widespread than marijuana in our school systems and in the workplace, and the results are insidious.  However, based on our experience, a successful, company-wide, random drug-testing program can improve annual productivity rates while lowering medical and workers’ compensation costs.

One of our customers within the construction sector tested all of its workers after providing a 90-day notification that it was about to do so. Despite the notification, 30% of the workforce tested positive and was terminated. But within six weeks, the company was more productive—with 30% less workers. This is not a unique experience in industry.

Safety, health and environmental (SH&E) professionals who work with with us are receptive to the idea of drug testing in the workplace because they understand the need to proactively address drug abuse in the workplace through a combination of drug testing, education and support programs.  The are  on the front lines, and they deal with day-to-day accidents, workplace violence and related issues.

Many are capable of educating senior management on the strategic importance of a drug-free workplace and the need for the company to play an active role in developing, implementing and monitoring the success of drug-free workplace initiatives. Sometimes they must rely upon human resources personnel to implement the drug testing programs, as there are no internal structures such as corporate wellness departments. In this instance, it is key that human resources understand the criticality of a comprehensive drug-free workplace program.

Companies that implement comprehensive, oral fluid-based, company-wide, random drug testing programs can generally expect the following:

  • Up to 50% fewer reportable accidents (which translates into lower workers comp premium costs)
  • 30% less employee turnover
  • Lower health benefit utilization rates
  • Up to a 40% reduction in inventory shrinkage
  • Fewer incidents of workplace violence

Unless required, companies should avoid basing their drug-free workplace polices on the “DOT standard” as their outdated technologies don’t confirmatory test forOxycontin ®, Percoset® or Vicodin ®, which are widely used misused in the workplace.

Most companies  can benefit from a tailored and comprehensive drug-free workplace program that includes:

  • Corporate-wide buy-in.
  • Goals, objectives and metrics.
  • Drug policy development and review with appropriate consideration for federal, state and local regulations.
  • A drug and testing program inclusive of all testing modes (pre-employment, random, reasonable suspicion, post-accident, return-to-duty).
  • GC/MS confirmatory testing.
  • MRO services.
  • Education and training.
  • EAP/SAP programs.
  • Links to business goals and reports on quantitative metrics.

The goal is prevention and employee wellness and, not punishment.

Advanced Oral Fluid Drug Screening Technology http://www.navigent3.com

via American Society of Safety Engineers.

Gil Kerlikowske, recently named director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, met with local leaders at the United Way of Broward County office, seeking advice on President Barack Obama’s drug-control strategy.

“We have been back and forth and up and down the country,” Kerlikowske told the group, made up mostly of members of the United Way of Broward County Commission on Substance Abuse. “Your help and your advice is most important.”

During the roundtable discussion, Kerlikowske recognized Broward’s rank as the nation’s top site for obtaining the prescription painkiller oxycodone.

So did Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti. More than a million pain pills are dispensed in the county each month, he told Kerlikowske.

“Those are shocking statistics,” Lamberti said.

Part of the focus should be on children, said Broward Judge Gisele Pollack. Addiction to pain killers has spread at an alarming rate among them, she said.

“It’s so scary because they’re so vulnerable,” Pollack said. “I have lost a lot of my juveniles to prescription drug overdose.”

Drug enforcement officials, child advocates and other leaders also stressed a need for tougher regulation of pain clinics and stricter guidelines for filling out-of-state prescriptions.

ADVANCED ORAL FLUID DRUG SCREENING TECHNOLOGY – WWW.NAVIGENT3.COM

via United States’ drug czar seeks advice in Broward County on battle against prescription drug abuse — South Florida Sun-Sentinel.com.

PORT ANGELES — While methamphetamine use is down on the North Olympic Peninsula and across the state, abuse of narcotic prescription drugs like OxyContin, Vicodin and Percocet are taking meth’s place, state Attorney General Rob McKenna said Monday.

Community action teams like those used to curb meth use earlier this decade should be used to fight prescription drug abuse now, McKenna told the Clallam County Community Meth Action Team at the Clallam County Courthouse.

“The community meth action team has proven to be an effective model,” McKenna said.

“I think it’s the model we’re going to need to use when it comes to prescription drug abuse as well.”

Two appearances

McKenna met with local leaders in Port Angeles on Monday, speaking to the Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce at noon before addressing the meth team in the afternoon.

“I predict this problem [of prescription drugs] is going to be more difficult even than meth,” McKenna said.

“As difficult, challenging and dangerous as meth is, I’m guessing this is going to be a harder problem for us to really start to make progress on.”

Advanced Oral Fluid Drug Screening Technology Targets Prescription Drug Abuse – http://www.nagivent3.com

via State attorney general in Port Angeles targets prescription abuse — Port Angeles Port Townsend Sequim Forks Jefferson County Clallam County Olympic Peninsula Daily news.

random-student-drug-testing

Random Drug Testing On Hold For Now

A federal judge has granted the request for a preliminary injunction the West Virginia American Federation of Teachers had filed.  The group is challenging Kanawha County’s random drug testing policy for teachers and school workers.

The Kanawha County Board of Education approved the policy back in October.

Attorneys for the WV-AFT are arguing that random drug tests qualify as illegal searches and are prohibited under the Fourth Amendment.  Attorneys for the Kanawha County Board of Education had argued that teachers and school service workers are in safety sensitive positions and, because of that, should be tested.

Another disgraceful action by the once proud Unions?

Source: WCHS-58 Charleston

http://www.navigent3.com
Drug Free Workplace Information

There is no doubt that random drug testing is an effective deterrent to drug use. When done on a “regular” basis, it delivers the strong message to the youth that they cannot use illegal drugs and be able to “hide” it all the time.  – Dr. Ramon Ricardo A. Roque, CESOI

(Source-Tempo.com 2008-September)

The San Juan City  (Phillipines) government,  after passing an ordinance authorizing the City Mayor and the city health officers to conduct random drug testing among students of both private and public schools,  has already rolled out plans for the full implementation of the measure.

R.A. No. 9165 provides, among others, that all drug testing expenses shall be borne by the government.

Local governments should prioritize the appropriation of funds for drug testing because it is undoubtedly the wisest use of public funds – an “investment” that will surely yield the highest “gain” for the people and the society. All other “investments” made by the government for the people and the country’s future like in education, infrastructure, and programs to alleviate poverty will mean nothing as widespread illegal drug use will certainly negate developmental gains. - Dr. Ramon Ricardo A. Roque, CESOI


But more than being just a deterrent, random drug testing can likewise serve as a venue for the government to address the rehabilitation needs of those who are already hooked to illegal drugs.

All local governments in the country should implement a random drug testing program in schools. It is the best service they can provide to the people and their indispensable contribution to the creation of a truly drug-free Philippines.

I believe the ACLU has lost its way.

It is violating the very principles it stands for, by intimidating schools to succumb to their beliefs

Random drug testing in schools and the workplace has already been ruled upon the by Supreme Court.  schools are allowed to random drug test can test, provided they do so in a proper, unbiased, manner – and the drug policy is well communicated to all involved.

Source:  Channel 6, Waite.com

ACLU demands Roane Co. schools stop drug testing athletes

By ANN KEIL
6 News Reporter

KINGSTON (WATE) – The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee is demanding that Roane County schools stop the random drug testing of student athletes.

The ACLU sent sent a letter to the school district Wednesday, saying the school policy violates state law.

According to that law, students shall only be drug tested, “if there are reasonable indications to the principal that such a student may have used or be under the influence of drugs.”

The ACLU’s letter was sent on behalf of David Higgins, whose daughter is a Harriman High School freshman. Higgins is also a volunteer softball and basketball coach.

The ACLU claims Higgins’ daughter has been drug tested without cause eight times in recent years. All the tests have been negative.

“It is very unsettling to me as a parent that school officials would subject our children to such embarrassing and degrading practices by forcing them to create urine samples in order to participate in the sports program,” Higgins said in an ACLU press release.

“I just hope that school officials come to their senses and do what is right by both Tennessee law and common decency,” Higgins added.

The ACLU letter gives the district 30 days to stop its drug testing policy or face a lawsuit.

In response, Roane County School Board member Hugh Johnson says it would be a mistake to do away with the policy. Plus, the U.S. Constitution allows it.

“If this will keep one kid from attempting drugs, that’s wonderful. If it makes one kid stop drugs, that’s terrific. I’d rather see young people have to spend 10 minutes in the restroom taking a drug test than 10 years or 10 months in a drug rehab center,” Johnson says.

Johnson was a teacher and coach in the county for 39 years. He says board members intend to look at the legality of the policy, but still argues its relevance.

“I’d rather prevent a problem than have that problem occur and then you have to take drastic action,” Johnson explains.

The Roane County School Board will meet next Thursday.

School Board Chair Everett Massengill says that’s when they’ll likely set a date for the policy committee to meet to discuss the random drug testing of student athletes.

Thursday, September 11, 2008
Personally, I think it is ridiculous. Student athletes are ambassadors of their schools, and I could see why the schools would want to protect their images. Also, it is a protection of the students. If the random drug testing of student athletes is taken away, and a student gets injured, or worse, due to an incident that occurs with one of these students who is on drugs, there will be another lawsuit. I guarantee that if Higgins’s daughter was involved in an incident with an athlete that was on drugs, he would turn around, again, and want to try to sue the school system for not taking measures to prevent the occurrence. He may try saying that, under the law, the school should have tested that student for SUSPECTED use. What if this student has not had “symptoms” of drug use in the presence of a school official because they’ve always participated in the drug use, say, after school hours, and the effects have worn off before school the next day (therefore, no suspected use)? Take it a step further, the aforementioned student then, one night, gets high before a game. Now, if there is an incident involving this student and Higgins’s daughter, and his daughter is injured, he will want to sue again, saying that the offending student should have been tested. Say, for instance, the principal never saw effects before that night. Had they been allowed to randomly test, and this student was pulled, the residual chemicals of the drugs would have still been in the system of the student, and they would have been removed from the team, most likely preventing any incident.Personally, participation in school sports is voluntary. If you don’t want to run the risk of having to pee in a cup, then don’t play. If you want to play, then deal. I would personally much rather know that my teammates were clear headed and not doing anything dangerous, and if that meant that I would have to get tested, too, then so be it!!!
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Sounds like this Higgins dude has guilty written all over him. Either that or he is Gold Digging and trying to get some money and this is what he came up with. It takes stupidity to go public and question drug testing for student athletes when some have FAILED!!! Why dont you just furnish the drugs for them?? That’s what your saying. How embarressing it must be for this child. This is a classic example of not thinking before doing something. Way to go dude!!! GO JACKETS!!!!
bone15
Thursday, September 11, 2008
I was a student/athlete at Roane County High School during the first four years after they implemented the drug testing. I never felt embarassed or degraded. We even had multiple team members fail their tests and were kicked off the team. Some athletes even got around the tests when we heard that they were happening. This was never the most secretive process in a small high school. If anything there should be a tipline to inform administrators of those abusing the system. Keep testing, if they want to play, they must pee in the cup!
skibsjunk
Thursday, September 11, 2008
There’s NOTHING wrong with random drug tests for any athletes. You go and pee in a cup. What’s embarrassing about that?

The below again highlights the need for more drug education… in this case among superintendents.

 

Research finds school superintendents reluctant to drug-test teachers

Source: The following is a press release issued by The University of New Hampshire on July 9, 2008.

DURHAM — School superintendents are reluctant to drug-test teachers, even though most believe student safety outweighs a teacher’s right to privacy when it comes to drug testing, according to new research from the University of New Hampshire.

Researchers queried 500 superintendents nationally; of those, 144 responded. The researchers sought information on the following issues:

* Have school districts adopted a mandatory drug testing policy, either preemployment or random, for teachers?

* Do superintendents support a mandatory drug testing, either preemployment or random, for teachers?

* Do superintendents have different support for preemployment and random drug testing policies for teachers?

According to DeMitchell, the researchers found that superintendents believe they have the authority, without offending the Constitution, to implement teacher preemployment and random drug-testing policies. However, in large part, they are not implementing such policies.

“The superintendents have a greater comfort level with preemployment testing than random drug testing of teachers. Most superintendents believed that the drug problem among teachers was not large enough to warrant action, but many reserved the right to revisit the implementation of such policies if the circumstances in their school district changed,” DeMitchell said.

The key research findings include:

* 85 percent of superintendents do not believe drugs are a problem with their educators.  (odd, at 6-7% of educators self-report drug abuse, and self-reporting underestimates by a factor of 2-3x)

* 22 percent believe drug testing teachers is an effective means for combating drugs in schools.  (okay..it’s effective… but there’s no problem…and we know there is no problem because?)

* 70 percent agree that student safety outweighs a teacher’s right to privacy in drug testing. (but safety is not important enough to test teachers… how many of these supers want to drug test kids?, maintenance staff? others?)

* 48 percent believe teachers have a diminished expectation of privacy because they work with students. (this is acutally astounding…. teachers, like other “Public servants- police, firemen, etc. – certainly should be random drug tested)

* 71 percent believe that teachers hold “safety-sensitive” positions a momentary lapse in judgment can have disastrous consequences. (but unfortunately it gets worse… supers agree that random drug testing works, they agree it’s a safety requirement, but they don’t agree to do it… go figure, I can’t)

* 48 percent support mandatory preemployment drug testing for teachers; 73 percent believing that such policies do not violate the constitutional rights of teachers.  (now here is another indication of the need for education – almost all substance abuse professionals realize that pre-employment testing is little more than an IQ test for drug abusers, and that random testing is a requirement for both deterrence and detection)

* 35 percent support random drug testing of currently employed teachers; 59 percent believe random drug testing does not violate the constitutional rights of teachers.  (random drug testing is not a violation of constitutional rights…already legal in 50 states for safety reasons – if only supers were more educated on the subject… only 35% knew this?)

DeMitchell said there are several reasons why superintendents prefer preemployment drug testing to random testing of current teachers.

Superintendents perceive that random drug testing is more invasive of potential rights. In addition, they believe that the ongoing monitoring of a random drug testing program may be more cumbersome and costly than preemployment testing. Finally, the superintendents, who largely came from small school districts where they know the employees, may find it difficult to subject their colleagues to the indignity of urinating into a cup. (Great.. now the supers aren’t even aware of more accurate and less invasive technologies that have been around for a decade…like oral fluid testing…and cost about $15 each.)

“It is easier to subject the unknown person to drug testing than to subject that same person to drug testing once he or she has become one of us.’ Because most superintendents did not believe that there was a drug problem with their current professional employees, there was no sense in disturbing the status quo,” DeMitchell said.

 

The research is presented in the June 2008 issue of Teachers College Record in the article “To Test or Not To Test? Drug Testing Teachers: The View of the Superintendent.” The lead author is Todd DeMitchell, professor of education at UNH. Co-authors are Stephen Kossakoski, assistant superintendent with Supervisory Administrative Unit #16, Exeter, N.H.; and Tony Baldasaro, doctoral student of education at UNH and a school district improvement administrator with Supervisory Administrative Unit #16, Exeter.

Some Unions just don’t get it, preferring to spread misinformation and rely upon scare tactics vs. acting responsibly and in the best interests of safety.

1.  Random drug testing is NOT unconstitutional, nor illegal in the United States

2.  Teachers should be subject to random drug testing, just as should firefighters,  police, and other individuals in occupations where drug abuse would create serious safety issues.

3.  Random drug testing via observed speciment collection, has proven to be effective at both detection and deterrence.

(Source: ABC News, KITV.com)

Random Drug Test For Teachers Meets Opposition

Teachers Union Says Drug Test Unconstitutional

HONOLULU — There are more problems with a plan to randomly drug test school teachers. The union that represents public school teachers now said it can’t knowingly agree to a plan it believes is unconstitutional.

 

The Hawaii State Teachers Association sent a letter to the school board that revealed where the two sides were far apart. The two sides had agreed to have a drug testing plan in place at the end of June, but missed the deadline.

 

 Those eager to begin the new school year said the start is being clouded by drug testing controversy.”I hope there is some reasonable resolution to this. It just going to take away from education and that’s a shame,” principal Mike Haramo said.

 

“We are starting the school year and they are still talking about it. You just wonder how long it’s going to go on for,” parent Rikki Wells said.

 

Wells said he worries it’s all about red tape and politics and not enough focus on the children.Dragging it on, going into the courts, the political fees, the arguing back and forth and the truth,” Wells said.

 

The first day of class for most public schools is the end of July, and at some campuses, teachers are to report to work next week.

 

Others who get random drug tests frequently said the same should apply to teachers.

 

“I think everyone in the HSTA should be drug tested just for the safety of the children,” a construction worker said.  Gloria Chi thinks random testing a good idea, but she thinks taking classroom money to pay for it is bad.  “BOE should be doing something for the kids for education but the government should really pay for it,” Chi said.

 

And when pressed about what appears to be an about face for the teachers union…

 

“Random is what teachers agreed to. We agreed to random and reasonable suspicion, but when we got into procedures we found complications of constitutional issues,” HSTA Executive Director Mike McCartney said.

 

McCartney said the latest proposal is unworkable. Both sides have appealed to the labor board to help resolve the conflict.

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