Next to my computer is my ePassport™ for a pre-employment drug screen at Hendricks Occupational Medicine II in Plainfield IN.
Such screens have become frighteningly routine. More times than not when you fill out an application for work, you must consent to such testing. In fact, I have yet to see a not. I have a huge problem with this. But unfortunately I have to weigh this moral reservation against the need to bring money into the household.
And it is a moral reservation, because there is definitely something unseemly and insidious here.
First and foremost of course is the invasiveness of it. They are taking bodily fluids from me. Am I the only one who finds that a little bit creepy? People should have the right to be “secure in their persons“. Such testing violates at the very least the fourth amendment.
Second, it is exploitation. Drug screening isn’t free. There may not be a cost to the employee, but people are getting paid; there is currency exchanged. Now this may sound all good from a capitalist model. But the source material that is being used is your very own bodily components. In the past I’ve given plasma and received a check. But here I am giving for someone else’s benefit — I already know my medical information, so I gain no knowledge from it — and am not being compensated for it.
Third, think about the big-picture implications. It probably sounds innocuous to many folks when you say it as “drug testing”. But let’s reword it for better accuracy: companies have the right to perform medical testing on their employees.
I’m sure some people will read that last line and say I’m just being extreme here for the sake of fun and argument. But one must bear in mind how much medical technology has advanced and is advancing. We can do all sorts of testing if we want to do so, all of which could have the same good-of-the-workforce argument made.
Brain scans, genetic testing, vaginal ultrasounds… and on and on and on. Think such a scenario is far-fetched?
There is an old joke about a man asking a woman if she will sleep with him for a million bucks. She says, “Yes.” So he then asks her if she will sleep with him for a dollar. She gets offended and says, “What kind of person do you think I am?” He replies, “We’ve already established that. Now we are quibbling about the price.”
We have allowed the establishment of medical testing as a “routine” occurrence.
Now we are just quibbling about the details.