Hair Follicle Drug Testing

By Sandy Long

There has been a debate going on among trucking companies for several years over whether hair follicle drug testing should be adapted industry wide instead of the usual urine testing.  Some companies such as Schneider and CREngland have adapted hair follicle testing as pre-employment and random testing policy.

Hair follicle testing allows testing for drug use for up to a year previously though the trucking industry says it will only test back 90 days.  To do the test, anyone trained to do so may take 50 to 120 strands of hair, preferably from the head but other body hair will work also, and then seal those hairs into an envelope and send it to the laboratory for testing.  The follicle test is thought of as more accurate than urine testing being able to detect substances dating back 1 month for every 1/2 inch of hair tested.  Drugs tested for by federal mandate are Cocaine (Cocaine and Benzoylecgonine), Marijuana, Opiates (Codeine, Morphine and 6-Monacteyl Morphine), Methamphetamine (Methamphetamine/Amphetamine & Ecstasy), and Phencyclidine (PCP).  These five drug classes are mandated for testing by the Federal Government.

A few of the reasons stated for adapting hair follicle testing over the common urine testing are that the company can see drug use further back in a person’s history, the hair can be collected at the business instead of an employee going to the clinic thereby saving time and productivity, and increased highway safety.  A few people are concerned about urine testing due to hygiene concerns where they may urinate on their hands while using the cup and not able to wash their hands until they return to the lab.

In June of 2011, Gordon Klemp, president of the National Transportation Institute (NTI) said that carriers who have adopted hair follicle testing have had a 10% increase in applicants failing the hair follicle test though they passed the urine test.  Klemp went on to say that in his opinion, hair follicle testing would also lead to a further driver shortage.  “Roughly 25 percent of the driver work force has exited the industry during the past 10 years as a result of demographic and health issues, Klemp said.  The NTI, which Klemp founded 16 years ago, conducts periodic studies of truck driver availability, compensation, and turnover, among other topics.”  Urine testing for drugs costs approximately $40 a test, hair follicle testing costs approximately $150.00.

There are drawbacks to hair follicle testing.  If a root is attached to the hair collected, DNA on the person may be obtained.  According to DrugTestingNetwork.com, hair tests provide “nearly twice the number of positives as urine testing,” but they are not infallible because “after a drug is used, it takes about 7-10 days for the hair containing the drug to grow out of the scalp enough to be cut.  Therefore, the hair test will not include drugs used in the week prior to the test.”

False returns can occur, According to a U.S. Army study, the amount of secondhand cannabis smoke needed to cause a false positive result (failure) is quite large indeed, and would require being sealed in an unventilated car or small room filled with marijuana smokers for several hours.  Hair testing however is a different matter, particularly with passive exposure to crack/cocaine, which can deposit onto hair and be readily incorporated into it.  Though for cannabis, typically only metabolites (produced by the body and thus not found in smoke) are tested rather than THC, so failure is unlikely to result from non-extreme passive exposure.

From EHow.com: “Medical research described in the publication titled “Drug Testing In Hair” reveals a potential bias that appears to be inherent in hair-follicle testing.  According to these findings, hair belonging to people of Caucasian ancestry, particularly blond hair, does not retain drug metabolites as well as that belonging to people of other ancestries.  Such findings open the possibility of future litigation as the previous drug practices of non-Caucasians would be detectable and punishable for longer periods of time.”

While drug testing has been around since Ronald Reagan enacted drug testing in the workplace laws for safety related employees such as airline pilots and truck drivers and will continue to be done in pre-employment and random scenarios, drug testing has spread throughout industry and business.  Many feel that drug testing is invasive and goes into a person’s private lives too far.  It is a moot point, illegal drug use is just that, illegal, it does not matter how a person is found out; though I would rather pee in a cup rather than lose 50 to 120 strands of hair each time my name came up.

 

The Great White Fathers

By Sandy Long

When the United States first conquered the American Indians, they first used military tactics to do so, then they used ‘paternalism’ to totally subjugate them.  What is paternalism; freedictionary.com defines it as “the attitude or policy of a government or other authority that manages the affairs of a country, company, community, etc., in the manner of a father, especially in usurping individual responsibility and the liberty of choice.”

Using paternalistic tactics, the United States government herded the Indians into reservations, took away the Indian’s means of farming or hunting to provide for themselves, forced the children into government run schools to be Americanized and provided the food for the Indians on the reservations.  This demoralized the Indian people and made them completely dependent on the Great White Fathers in Washington to survive.  It was also the testing ground of tactics for the government to use against the rest of the American population if necessary to exert control over them.

Up to around 1870, America was still primarily an agricultural society, but with the technological age coming to the fore, people had more leisure time to become aware of what the government was doing thru increased media exposure, more and more people started to protest what the government was doing.  In addition, more people were living in cities where overcrowding, lack of jobs, racial tensions and political graft were prevalent leading to rioting.  The government, by the early 1900s had to do something; the nanny state was born.

The first real nanny law was enacted in 1920 when the Prohibition Act was put in force.  Banning the sale and use of alcohol was the focus of this law, but it was also thought to enhance morals.  During the length of this law until its repeal in 1933, the exact opposite occurred.  Many young women raised their skirt hems, cut their hair and became sexually active without the benefit of marriage.  Criminal activity increased substantially with the growth of liquor drinking, smuggling and manufacturing in secret; this led to the growth of gangster activity culminating during the depression when bank robbing increased exponentially. The Volstead Act was said by Herbert Hoover, “the great social and economic experiment, noble in motive and far reaching in purpose did not work.”

The government looked at how they had enacted the Volstead Act and learned from their mistakes.  If something were completely banned, people would actually increase their usage or finds ways to get around the ban.  The government realized that instead of banning a specific habit or action, for the supposed good of the population, it was better to indoctrinate people to the so-called risks of said habits or actions. The government started using false studies and sensationalism and then passed laws incrementally to change behavior to benefit the government and control the population, of course always saying that the government only has the best interests of the people in mind.

This became standard procedure and perfected as seen in the smoking issue.  Tobacco use started in the Americas and spread throughout the world during the 1700s.  Tobacco farming was a staple in the Midwestern/central east coast agricultural economy for two hundred years.  In the late 1950’s, it was noticed that there was an increase in lung disease in people who smoked.  Other factors at the time were not considered and the government started out with a notice on cigarettes that they might be hazardous to one’s health.  Then the government started their anti-smoking campaign recognizing that revenue could be generated from smokers through increased taxes on the product.  Study after study was done, paid for by the government and special interest groups, and lawyers fought in court intensifying the sensationalistic attention given to the issue culminating in turning many people against people who smoke; this even to the extent that children turned against their parents over smoking.

The government now has their tactics down pat.  American citizens would fall for anything if promoted and sensationalized right.  Law after law has now been passed ‘for the good of the people’ when in actuality the people’s rights and freedoms have been eroded.  From the All American Blogger.com “Do you see how one law, written for our own good, can lead to others written for our own good that, instead of protecting our rights, infringe on our rights?  Again, going back to the comment from…, he shows how one law leads to another.  We already have seat belt laws, so why not have helmet laws?  We already have laws against trans-fat, so why not outlaw fried food?  We already have laws against pot, so why not alcohol?”

This quote found at AllAmericanBlogger.com says it all, “…when the law, by means of its necessary agent, force, imposes upon men a regulation of labor, a method or a subject of education, a religious faith or creed ”then the law is no longer negative; it acts positively upon people.  It substitutes the will of the legislators for their own wills, the initiative of the legislator for their own initiatives.  When this happens, the people no longer need to discuss, to compare, and to plan ahead, the law does all this for them.  Intelligence becomes a useless prop for the people; they cease to be men; they lose their personality, their liberty, their property…anonymous.”

Therein lays the rub, the removal of Americans’ liberty and freedom.  As the Indians found to their dismay, The Great White Fathers in Washington D.C. are abusive parents and do not have the people’s best interests at heart.  Instead, they only have their own agendas at heart, the removal of freedom and the control and of the American People.  The Great White Fathers speak with forked tongue.