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Indiana drug testing program under scrutiny

An Indiana program mandating drug testing for an Indiana job training program has both its supporters - in that it prevents individuals entering the workforce that are addicted to drugs - and its detractors that feel such requirements would result in a hostile work environment because such requirements could be deemed unconstitutional. Since the program was first introduced back in July, approximately 2 percent of the applicants have failed the drug test and have tested positive for marijuana, cocaine, opiates, PCP, amphetamines or methamphetamine.

The Indiana Workforce Development Commissioner, Mark Everson, feels that the testing has been successful in more ways than just eliminating workers that have tested positive for drugs from participating in the job training program. It also has prevented others who know that they will likely fail the test from even applying to the program.

Officials from the ACLU have not been so complimentary concerning the program. Such officials believe the drug tests as conducted are unconstitutional under the 4th Amendment concerning privacy and limitations on unreasonable searches. The ACLU is also concerned about expansions on drug testing that may go beyond the employment area and subject individuals to drug testing for any number of actions such as applying for welfare benefits.

The arguments for or against such employment requirements are always complex. Instead, such mandatory drug testing may be one of those solutions that seem to some individuals to be neat, simple and wrong. Such drug testing has been successfully challenged or stalled in other jurisdictions under similar circumstances.

In any event, we can likely expect to see the mandatory drug testing requirements being challenged in Indiana courts sometime in the near future.

Source: CBSNews.com, "Indiana: 2 percent fail job training drug tests," Dec. 29, 2011

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