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Determination and Immunoassay Quantization

May 23rd, 2005 · No Comments

When I arrived home from school last week, I was determined to do two things. The first was to be able to completely run around Rockland Lake (a three mile loop) by the end of May. The next was to pass my pre-employment drug screening.

At first, the former seemed like a loftier goal than the latter. I hadn’t run in a systematic fashion since maybe once or twice over winter break. My primary source of exercise at school is rollerblading, which I admittedly use to both feel energized and to work up a sweat. So, when I did get home, I called Slava and asked if he’d be interested in running. He’s always good company, so naturally, when he said that he’d run with me, I got excited. Amazingly, although I couldn’t make it around the lake (which I anticipated), he couldn’t either. Mind you, he was involved with track during high school. I guess time off-task can really make that much of a difference! We ran as much as we could, but still had to take two or three breaks. The next morning, I was incredibly sore all over, but it felt great.

The latter goal, passing the drug screen, was slightly more complicated. My employer (who, I’ve learned, should remain nameless to prevent even the slightest possibility of retaliation) initially told me that I wouldn’t have to repeat my paperwork processes (such as an I9 and W2 tax form), and specifically mentioned that I wouldn’t have to take a drug screen. So, when I got a call the first day I was home that mentioned my “new hire packet containing information on direct deposit and my drug screening”, I became a little bit concerned. Now, ironically, the reason I was concerned was that I wasn’t doing hard drugs. If I had been doing cocaine, heroin, barbiturates, or any derivative thereof, I would have known that by simply abstaining as little as two days prior, I would have been able to pass a standard NIDA-5 urinalysis.

The problem was that I had smoked pot after my finals. That simple act will affect the contents of my urine weeks from now. Surely, my job performance couldn’t really be affected by something I did weeks prior. Why is it no longer acceptable to judge a person on objective performance criteria? Drug screens are justified by employers to supposedly increase workplace safety and productivity. After all, a drug-free workforce is absent and sick less frequently, amongst other things claimed by the drug testing industry – the $700 million per year drug testing industry.

Well, if it’s simply a matter of improving attendance, why not reprimand or release employees that fail to meet minimum attendance requirements? Or, at the very least, put it at the discretion of the manager. A better policy might dictate that if a manager suspects that an employee’s performance is being adversely affected by their drug use, or if the employee is suspected to arrive to work under the influence of drugs, that it be recorded and action be appropriately taken. But how can it be reasoned that my workplace will be any safer just because they reject me for hire on the premise that I smoked pot at some point historically? If it’s the case that on-the-job performance really is adversely affected by pot smoking that may have taken place weeks ago, couldn’t the case be made that adverse affects could linger months, or even years after the initial ingestion? In that event, should people who smoked pot in the 1960s not be hired because they may have smoked a joint during the summer of love? Cocaine and heroin use, mind you, are detectable only for up to two days. Harmless metabolites of pot trapped in fat cells can be detected in urine for up to twelve weeks in a heavy smoker. For a heavy crack cocaine addict, the same could not be said. A crack user would have a much easier time passing a drug test than someone that had smoked pot even once.

On the job drug testing is a joke – unless you’re involved in an industry like trucking, where you’re a complete idiot if you do drugs on the job. Also, I’ll concede that there are some positions where a drug free workforce is desirable. A police officer, after all, should be subject to random testing for illegal substances. If they enforce the law, they most certainly should be subject to it. Are they, though? Or do cops in our country frequently make drug busts only to pinch their seizures and take a small quantity home? It’s just one of the many things that are completely backwards about drug policy in our country.

For the record, with determination and perseverance, I was able to run the full three miles around the lake today. If I can work that hard, and realize my goals, why would any employer not want me? We’ll see what happens with the drug screen, and an update will come soon.

Another MAR tag appears in Rockland County
I’ve been seeing this tag a lot around Rockland County. This particular tag was on a van in the parking lot behind Posa Posa in Nanuet. I noticed it first on Tweed Boulevard, which of course is my favorite road, one that I feel compelled to protect and preserve. Another tag on Tweed that sticks out in my mind is AIR – mainly because the vandal used a decal technique to hit up a diamond shaped warning marker near the intersection of Tweed Boulevard and Clausland Mountain Road. If you know who is responsible for these tags, and you tell me, I promise I will not publish it here or reveal your identity. It’s just a matter of curiosity.

On the matter of graffiti though, if you’ve been seeing green pot leaf stencils all over Rockland, the Ramapo police have apprehended a suspect. The suspect is a minor and their identity has not been released. It’s really a shame, because it’s one of the only tags that I’ve ever actually appreciated rather than merely bashing on principle. Good work, anonymous vandal, you certainly made me smile and likely made all kinds of uptight conservatives in our area cringe.

Tags: My Thoughts · Police, Law, & Justice

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