100 workers recalled. Then they all flunked their drug tests.


Michigan companies are sometimes caught between a desire to hire qualified workers and anxiety about workforce substance abuse.

A Macomb County factory owner sees a chance to increase production at his metal-stamping plant. He puts out a call for job applicants and dozens respond.

About half are rejected. Why? They cannot pass a basic pre-employment drug test.

A major manufacturing facility in Detroit furloughs workers during a downturn. When 100 of the workers are called back several months later, every last one of them fails the company’s drug screening, mostly for marijuana.

In Traverse City, an addiction treatment center surveys 30 companies across the region and finds only 1-in-4 conduct drug tests. The reason: They fear the results would require them to reject or fire the workers they desperately need.

“More often than not, we are finding that employers are not testing because of that problem,” said Chris Hindbaugh, executive director of Addiction Treatment Services. “They’d rather not know. And that’s dangerous.”

Across Michigan, employers say they can’t fill job openings because too many people can’t pass a drug test. Shortages are particularly acute in manufacturing, construction,  warehousing or shipping companies, which routinely impose pre-employment drug screening for workers who operate heavy machinery or heavy-haul trucks.


Chris Hindbaugh, executive director of Addiction Treatment Services in Traverse City, said some companies in northwest Michigan are reluctant to conduct drug testing because they don’t want to know the results. (Courtesy photo)  

In response to worker shortages, some companies are either not testing workers or skirting the results. One example is in the service industries, from retail to restaurants, because business owners often don’t view accidents as a serious issue. Others are scaling back by only testing for illegal drugs, such as marijuana or cocaine, but not for abuse of prescription medicines such as opioids.

“That’s why we don’t drug test,” an executive at a Macomb County mold-making manufacturer told Bridge. “Because if we did, we’d have no employees.”

The stress that substance abuse places on businesses and their workers shows up in higher rates of absenteeism, workplace injury and impaired performance, particularly in physically demanding industries. And because most companies lack comprehensive drug programs, fewer workers get the long-term (and often costly) treatment experts say they need to beat their addiction, even as Michigan sinks further into an opioid crisis.

Instead, workers are simply fired, perpetuating the cycle.

“It’s certainly a major topic of discussion,” said Andy Johnston, a Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce vice president. “Employers are struggling to fill open positions and the inability (of applicants) to pass a drug test is certainly a concern. It’s really tough to deal with. It makes it tough to find a qualified job pool.”

Reconsidering drug testing

It’s difficult to gauge the extent to which drug abuse and drug testing impact statewide employment rates. Michigan does not collect comprehensive data on workers who lose jobs from failed results. And companies and academics say it’s impossible to know how many potential job candidates simply walk away from job opportunities once they learn there is a drug test.

Wendy Block, director of health policy for the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, said failed tests are a constant concern among frustrated employers. In addition to opioids, the prevalence of medical marijuana and the prospect that Michigan voters may legalize recreational marijuana usage in 2018 has businesses wondering how to maintain a safe and sober workforce.

Companies, she said, also are increasingly questioning the benefit and consequences of drug testing. For example, does testing positive for smoking pot on the weekend actually indicate a worker would be impaired on the job Monday morning? So many factors can have an impact on test results.

“Many employers have started questioning the value of drug tests when they experience large pools of applicants who fail,” Block said. “You cannot rule these people out in a tight job market. Given the current labor market, employers are looking at all applicants ‒ in many industries.”

Workplace drug screening remains a sensitive topic among business owners. Bridge interviewed dozens of employers, industry groups, academics and workers across Michigan. Many business owners and consultants agreed to talk on condition they and their companies or clients not be identified. That includes the companies cited at the top of this article.

Employers’ frustration is palpable.

“There are many very qualified job candidates where the only issue keeping them from a solid job with growth potential is the inability to pass a simple drug test,” said one  executive, who works at a wood products supply company in Oakland County. “It’s hard on the employer, and on the employee.”

That sounds about right to Steve Fishman, 55, who works as a bartender and server at two Detroit-area restaurants. He has been clean for more than four years after abusing opioids, which then led to a heroin addiction.

Fishman said he has met former addicts in recovery programs who lost hope for their futures after failed attempts at treatment and getting back in the workforce.  

“It’s such a struggle for them because they can’t pass a drug test,” Fishman said. “Or they’re so high – or going through painful withdrawals – that they can’t maintain employment until they get clean.”   

Drug treatment experts say some jobless workers, ravaged by the self-defeating duo of drug addiction and depression, gradually view themselves as unemployable. Substance abuse is one of several factors leading to Michigan’s high worker-disability rates, and is one reason why only 62 percent of working-age Michiganders hold a job or are looking for one.

Meanwhile, said Hindbaugh, the Traverse City treatment specialist, the imperative of business owners to fill jobs, despite potential danger signs, increases the risk of injury or accident. He said businesses would be wiser to develop a coherent, empathetic approach to finding help for workers who need it.

“They’d rather turn a blind eye,” Hindbaugh said. “When we ask, ‘Do you do testing?’, they say, ‘Well, we can’t get employees if we do that.’ So, they’re just kicking the can down the road.”

No county is immune

Research indicates Michigan’s drug abuse problem is at an all-time high. A study released in May found Michigan ranks 10th for drug use and addiction among the 50 states and the District of Columbia, with analysts considering such factors as abuse of prescription drugs, illicit drugs and the rate of overdose deaths.

In 2016, Michigan recorded 2,335 fatal drug overdoses – more than six per day – with nearly three in four related to opioids. That death rate represents more than a 10-fold increase from 1999, with opioid deaths up nearly 33 percent in one year.



Brian Spitsbergen, a veteran of the drug treatment business, said workers are more likely these days to abuse prescription medication than to feed their addiction through a drug sale on the streets.

No part of the state is immune. The highest rates of overdose deaths, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services, are nearly all in southern counties. And yet in the last five years, opioid prescriptions were highest in rural areas of the state, with Roscommon County in northern Michigan among the top 1 percent of counties nationally.

According to Gov. Rick Snyder’s administration, painkiller prescriptions in Michigan rose four-fold between 2007 and 2014. Dosages prescribed for high-potency drugs, such as OxyContin and Vicodin, come out to about 75 pills annually for every Michigan resident.

Treatment professionals say the physical nature of some jobs explains why some workers are more susceptible to prescription abuse.  

According to a survey by CompPharma, an industry group that seeks to control employee health care costs, 10 times as much is spent on opioids for worker’s injuries than on all other medical problems covered by insurance.

Here’s a typical scenario: A company-associated medical clinics will prescribe a painkiller, often for months, to help workers cope with the injury. That can lead to  dependency, which then leads to “doctor shopping” for duplicate prescriptions, or visiting so-called “pill mills.” Back on the job, these workers then test positive in a random drug test. In the end, they are fired rather than sent for treatment.  

Brian Spitsbergen of Plymouth, who has been in the drug treatment business for more than 25 years, said workers are less likely to risk a shady street-corner sale when they can quench their addiction by opening the home medicine cabinet. Once fired, studies indicate idle workers are prone to abuse opioids as they struggle with unemployment. Some may turn to heroin, which is cheaper than prescription medication.

Critics say the state can limit this kind of downward spiral by doing more to crack down on prescription abuse. The nonprofit National Safety Council in 2016 ranked Michigan among the nation’s three worst states in crafting safeguards that help to minimize prescription abuse.  

Employers balk at treatment

According to the Society for Human Resource Management, 57 percent of U.S. companies engage in some type of drug testing, while nearly one-third do not test under any circumstances. The drug screening process typically ranges from pre-employment testing to testing current workers randomly or when there is reason to be suspicious.  

Drug treatment professionals say businesses should do away with a simple pass/fail approach to random testing, in which workers are automatically fired if drugs are found in their system. But most employers are not willing to grant drug-dependent employees the typical four to six weeks of time off for treatment while they try to become drug-free.

Indeed, about 40 percent of U.S. company owners and executives surveyed say they view a positive drug test as evidence the worker cannot be trusted or suffers from a “moral or ethical failure.”

Treatment specialists cringe at such attitudes.

“As a society, we need to understand that addiction is a health care issue, not a criminal justice issue,” said Tom Watkins, former director of the Detroit-Wayne Mental Health Authority, which oversees drug treatment throughout Wayne County.

“More effort needs to be made to properly diagnosis, treat and support those who are addicted and to not force individuals that test positive for substance use out of the job market.”  

One worker-friendly approach to drug abuse is being embraced by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Vicki Bucciere, owner of Bluewater Behavioral Services, a treatment/counseling center in Northville, works with USDOT to evaluate workers in “safety sensitive” jobs. Those include federally regulated employees in the trucking, rail, airline, pipeline and shipping industries.

USDOT policy allows employees with a drug problem to complete a treatment program and, once they test negative and are again deemed safe, they become eligible to return to work.

Bucciere said business owners who shun a similar path and hope for the best will see that approach will “catch up with them” because opioid addiction requires intensive treatment, and with relapses not uncommon.

For those drowning in addiction, nothing comes easy, and maintaining a job isn’t necessarily at the top of the list.  

Fishman, the bartender who made a comeback, said employers who believe drug users lack discipline and don’t want to work fail to understand that addiction causes countless self-destructive setbacks beyond failure in the job market.

“I needed to get high to function. I needed to get high to go to work,” he said. “I paid a huge price in a lot of different ways – I lost my marriage, I lost my relationship with my kids … If I didn’t fix my mess, it would have ended permanently because I would be dead.”

Michigan fighting failure

The report issued last July by the National Safety Council, which is authorized by Congress to help reduce accidents and injuries, established basic criteria for tackling the opioid crisis. They include safeguards that make it harder for patients to obtain prescriptions from multiple doctors, more training for doctors on responsible pain management, and expanding treatment programs for substance abusers.

Michigan failed to meet those standards and was one of just three states the council said had made no progress.

Gov. Snyder’s administration took several steps over the past year to correct the state’s shortcomings. A 17-member commission, which includes a Macomb County judge whose daughter fought through a heroin addiction, oversees the transition.

In addition, a package of bills introduced in the Legislature in March could tackle many facets of the opioid crisis, including a requirement that doctors use a new computerized system to keep tabs on a patient's history of prescription drug use.

“Michigan has recently made great strides in our fight against the opioid epidemic,” Lt. Gov. Brian Calley told Bridge, noting the recent bills, which include increased penalties for overprescribing doctors.

Attorney General Bill Schuette recently said that the state needs a mix of better drug treatment programs plus a crackdown on illegal trafficking of opioids. But he warned that “we can’t arrest our way out of this problem.”

In the meantime, treatment advocates say there has to be more coordination between treatment professionals and the business community, and employers need to reconsider their approach to substance abuse.  

Business owners didn’t ask for this problem. But across Michigan today, it is right on their doorstep, knocking to get in.

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Chuck Fellows
Thu, 07/20/2017 - 8:51am

For your readers:

"In addition to these limitations, the studies were extremely diverse in terms of the characteristics of study participants and their occupations, the specificity and scope of data on cannabis use and occupational injuries, and the extent to which the authors effectively controlled or accounted for potential confounders or effect modifiers. In light of the diversity among and limitations of these studies, it was not possible to determine whether general, nonmedical cannabis use is associated with a clearly increased risk of occupational accidents and injuries across a broad range of occupational and industrial settings in the absence of other important risk factors."

Michigan Girl
Thu, 07/20/2017 - 9:33am

I find it interesting that the article paints the picture that, if you fail your drug test, you are automatically "addicted" to the substance that was in your system.
Many people have a few beers after work or a glass or two of wine with dinner, yet they're not addicted to alcohol. Others may smoke pot after work or on the weekend, yet they are not addicted (no, I'm not a pot user, I don't like it and don't like those who smoke all the time, but most are not "addicted"). Others may take a vicodin on occasion, perhaps they had it left over from a dental procedure or slipped disc issue in the past, but they keep it in their medicine cabinet for those occasions when they pull a muscle, hurt their back, etc. and Advil isn't cutting it. Personally, I may take a vicodin once every 3-4 months. Just 1/2 to 1 pill. They are old, leftover personal prescriptions. I only take them when standard nsaids aren't working. Now, if subject to a random drug test at work, I may be fired or labeled as an "addict"? Ridiculous. (and for those few perfect saints out there... to say, "well, if you hurt that bad, you should go to a doctor and get a new prescription or physical therapy or whatnot". My response is, why take the time off, the dr's time, my insurance costs, etc., for a pain that may present itself once every few months, especially if I'm not using the medication in an abusive fashion? Yes, it DOES absolutely suck that so many in MI actually are addicted or abuse these substances, but we need to figure out a better way to "test" to weed out those who are truly a threat to the safety of themselves/others and those who are not actually abusing substances (like many who recreationally drink/smoke/etc).

Allan Blackburn
Thu, 07/20/2017 - 10:29am

Not sure who would be labeling you an addict for having a positive test. All this indicates for the employer is the need for an assessment to determine if a problem exists and the potential course to deal with it provided there is an issue. Even a DUI in the State of Michigan may warrant an assessment though that is used for a pre-sentence investigation and sentencing guidelines.

Thu, 07/20/2017 - 1:23pm

You are labeled an "addict" when you fail a drug test. The federal dept of transportation mandates at minimum, counseling before returning to a so called "saftey sensitive" job after a failed test and strict follow up random testing after returning to work. That is if your lucky enough to work for a company that will actually hire you back. So your statement that you could just go for an assessment after failing a drug test, tell the counsolor you just use marajuana once in a while in the evening and then return to work the next day like nothing happened is out of touch with reality. You will be labeled an addict.

John Q. Public
Sat, 07/22/2017 - 2:38pm

Of course you're an addict. Once accused--and you're always accused by those whose livelihood depends on having a never-ending supply of "addicts"--it's impossible not to be one.

Here's the drill.

Scenario A

Counselor: "You're an addict."
Victim: "Yes, I am."
Counselor: "That's fantastic! The first step in recovery is admitting you have a problem."

Scenario B:

Counselor: "You're an addict."
Victim: "No, I'm not."
Counselor: "You're in denial! We can't help you (and you can't have your job back) until you admit you have a problem."

Sun, 07/23/2017 - 5:53pm

Sorry but I'm a Michigan alum too and although my
father gave me beer starting when I was five or six
I've always attempted to respect drugs and try not to abuse them.
I don't know what the level of use is necessary to test positive
and I know there can be false positives but if somebody is so
disrespectful of themselves and the job that they can't at least
stay off drugs so that they can register on the test as drug free
I wouldn't respect that person's product or their judgement
if I were their boss. Come to work ready to work or stay home.

Lake Michigan Kid
Fri, 10/13/2017 - 9:23pm

I agree with much of what you say, and to your general point.... right up to the occasional Vicodin. That is how some people sneak up on an addition. Having to check back into a doctor doesn't hurt.

If yours is left over, then it's unlikely you have enough for trouble. I don't have a problem with that. It's the repeated scripts, people selling and stealing them, etc. They do run a relatively high risk of complications, bowel blockage, for one, and transference to herion.

Edward Hejka
Thu, 07/20/2017 - 10:29am

It should be illegal for companies to drug test without probable cause.

Steve Williams
Thu, 07/20/2017 - 12:30pm

Let's see high at work operating dangerous machinery or vehicles. Sounds safe to me.

Tony Thomas
Thu, 07/20/2017 - 7:49pm

For most occupations, yes. There will always be co-worker and public safety concerns for some jobs. I'm proud to say that my employer does not drug test. I also don't operate a backhoe or drive public transit.

Jay Stark
Fri, 07/21/2017 - 9:27am

The state of Michigan does random drug tests for employees of Corrections and possibly other departments.

Mark W.
Mon, 07/24/2017 - 11:28pm

Tell that to the person whose spouse is killed by a worker who is high or drunk on the job.

Wed, 11/01/2017 - 11:20pm

There's a difference between doing it at work and doing it at home on your own time.

William C. Plumpe
Thu, 07/20/2017 - 10:45am

Part of the answer is to somehow make it more difficult for doctors to prescribe narcotics.
A tougher standard of care and a second opinion from another doctor? And more oversight of doctors and pharmacists especially in regards to prescribing narcotics. And tighten the regulation and oversight of major drug manufacturers who produce the drugs. That will not totally solve the problem because addiction to drugs is a fault of the human condition and will never be completely "cured" but we can at least make it less tempting to become addicted by not outlawing the drugs but making them more difficult to obtain.

Bob N
Thu, 07/20/2017 - 5:45pm

I used to do hiring for a low wage service business. I had to ask the industrial health clinic where we sent applicants for preemployment physicals to stop reporting the cannabis drug test results, otherwise I couldn't fill the positions. Never had any real problems with the results of doing that. The major substance issue for which I had to suspend and fire a number of employees was alcohol use.

Michigan Observer
Thu, 07/20/2017 - 5:51pm

I have some sympathy for those who become addicted to opioids because of prescriptions given them for pain. But it should be possible to monitor the appropriateness of those prescriptions by considering the strength and length of the prescription in relation to the severity of their injury or condition.

I disagree with Tom Watkins who says, ?“As a society, we need to understand that addiction is a health care issue, not a criminal justice issue,” I understand that many people place a high value on harm reduction, but we cannot medicalize all anti-social behavior. And it may very well be that by being too supportive that we do not, in fact, reduce harm in the long run. He goes on to say, “More effort needs to be made to properly diagnosis, treat and support those who are addicted and to not force individuals that test positive for substance use out of the job market.” We cannot expect business to absorb the often large costs of often unsuccessful drug treatment programs. I prefer the approach outlined by the author when he said, "USDOT policy allows employees with a drug problem to complete a treatment program and, once they test negative and are again deemed safe, they become eligible to return to work."

Perhaps the best approach is to legalize drugs as long as someone's drug addiction is not imposing costs on other people.

Cheryll Ruley
Thu, 07/20/2017 - 6:32pm

Great article, Chad. This is a subject discussed quite often in my area. Too much drug use and the inability to properly staff businesses. It's really shocking how normal the problem has become. It should never be normal.

Thu, 07/20/2017 - 8:30pm

"A major manufacturing facility in Detroit furloughs workers during a downturn. When 100 of the workers are called back several months later, every last one of them fails the company’s drug screening, mostly for marijuana."

Sounds like an urban myth. Chad Selweski, can you provide some details? If not, I call bullshit.

Thu, 07/20/2017 - 9:27pm

Do you want some one high fixing your brakes, operating on you, or wiring your house. Peace R.L.

To R.L.
Fri, 10/13/2017 - 9:44pm

The Dr who (successfully) operated on my mother was stone drunk! Took hits of O2 to keep him going. It is more common than drugs by far. I wish we could be more clear and open about our problem.
For example; folks complain about gun deaths, but if you look closely they are associated with.... alcohol! Of course! So what is the problem, the gun? Another; crime, rape, violent crime... alcohol!
I'm not a tea total-er My point is we need to back up and get a bigger, less judgemental, more opened view of these issues.
Is the problem pot? Or...

Fri, 07/21/2017 - 9:30am

With this terrible epidemic of social drug use combined with comfortable poverty, we are increasingly becoming a least productive society. Sad.

Fri, 10/13/2017 - 9:46pm

I agree.
But the poverty isn't as comfortable as you may think.

David C.
Fri, 07/21/2017 - 6:52pm

I find it highly improbable that 100 out of 100 recalled workers would fail a drug screen. If you have genuine statistics on the prevalence of drug use, fine, use it. But likely apocryphal anecdotes shed no light on the problem.

Sat, 07/22/2017 - 8:24am

Some aspects of this problem is legitimate especially the opioid abuse, some of it is the war on drugs mentality and the hysteria it has generated. Addiction Treatment Services and others have built their business model on exaggerating the abuse of drugs, especially marijuana. So to has the law enforcement community that has turned drug use and abuse into a highly profitable endeavor. The prisons are full of people who's only failing is using the non-approved drugs instead of cigarettes, prescription drugs & alcohol. Couple this with the never ending morality play going on over drugs, poverty & a system that uses workers up and discards them as they age or suffer the sometimes insurmountable challenges of modern life & you have the above situation. Moving substance abuse from the criminal approach to a medical / mental health approach & ending the inane stupidity of the use of the "war on" metaphor for every social challenge would go along way to lowering the hysteria over this very real modern life issue. "note" - I am not advocating people being impaired in any way while at work, but if we are serious about worker & public safety then it goes way past substance abuse to physical & mental fatigue, abusive employer practices, little or no sick leave & other actions that directly impact worker and public safety daily. Unfortunately you won't find the Michigan Chamber of Commerce on board regarding these other issues since they advocate policies that cause them in the first place.

Thu, 07/27/2017 - 10:06am

I agree with much of your comment. The "war on" phenomena is outdated. For profit manufacturing companies have used and abused employees for years, and created a "catch 22" for both employees and employers.

This is a complex issue that requires critical thinking and problem solving. Every player who has commented here should be brought together to solve this problem (employers, employees, government officials, treatment centers, the chamber of commerce, prison officials etc). All stakeholders have a part of the solution, and until all of you are willing to do this this problem will not be solved.

John Q. Public
Sat, 07/22/2017 - 2:09pm

The mantra of way too many employers:

Have an IQ of 140, but no college degree? Can't work here.
Blood test shows you took a recreational drug on the weekend, but you always show up to work dead cold sober? Can't work here.
Posted something to a blog or personal social media account that I, or some vocal chronically offended group or person didn't like? Can't work here.
Won't earn one or more college degrees, then agree to work for fifteen bucks (or less) an hour? Can't work here.
Got convicted of a misdemeanor for getting in a fight thirty years ago? Can't work here.
Missed work a couple of days because of personal emergencies? Can't work here.

"Gee, it's tough to find workers!"

Sun, 07/23/2017 - 11:15am

Exactly!! Combine those reasons with the fact that many employers here in TC hire only Mexicans so they can pay less and local employment suffers even more.
I have personally talked with winery owners who refuse to even consider hiring locals, yet their fields are full of Mexicans. Greed is a powerful mindset.

David Light
Sat, 07/22/2017 - 9:14pm

Stop viewing cannabis as a "drug," which it isn't. Stop testing for it, and stop assuming that people who use cannabis products, either recreational or medicinally during their off-duty hours are a problem for an employer when those people are on the job. Urinalysis tells nothing about impairment, but simply shows the presence of the metabolites, that are a byproduct of previous cannabis use. Businesses are doing a huge injustice to themselves by often turning away highly qualified and talented individuals over something so silly and misguided as the fact that they use pot. It's easy to see who the real fools are in this scenario.

Mrs A.
Mon, 07/24/2017 - 11:59pm

Thank you for bringing a voice of reason into this argument. Can't tell you how many comments I scrolled through to find the word "metabolites" - not to mention the fact that the article itself completely ignored it! It can take up to 30 days for cannabis metabolites to leave the user's system -- but in the meantime they are NOT HIGH. To explain to an alcohol user: What if you went out for drinks with a friend on a weekend and got blitzed, then you went home and slept it off; the next Monday you are fine and head back to work -- but a drug test result indicated that you were drunk, and showed that you were still drunk for the next couple weeks when you hadn't had a drop? It's ridiculous that cannabis users get punished, tarred with the testing brush, as ridiculous as the fact that that a mildly euphoric drug with an LD-50 of essentially Zero is STILL classified as Schedule 1 with the Feds. Whatever happened to judging workers by performance, attendance and contributions to the company effort?

Sat, 07/22/2017 - 10:03pm

Add one more thing to our discussion of employees rights. AT WILL contracts only benefit the employer not the employee. Pay a decent wage have some type of health benefit and don't make it a disincentive to get of assistance and go to work. 28 hour work weeks just doesn't cut it. R.L.

Sun, 07/23/2017 - 4:52am

Just this morning, the Detroit Free Press ran a story that showed a schoolus driver, high on opoids drove the bus into a parked vehicle, and a logging truck driver, similarly impaired, drove his truck into an elderly couple, killing both. I'm sorry folks, but drug use in most occupations can not be tolerated.

Brutal Honesty
Sat, 03/23/2019 - 2:11pm

Truck drivers and school bus drivers get random tests in almost every case. It didn't stop those accidents. "High on opioids"means heroin or synthetic heroin in most of the time. That is vastly different from pot. Cannabis was the main focus of this article. The fact that many people hold down safety sensative jobs for years and don't have any worse of a safety record than those that drink regularly or abstain from any substance proves that there is an outdated and antiquated view of cannabis users in the workplace.

Just removing it alone frome 5 and 10 panel drug screenings could open up 15-20% of the population as a potential employee pool for the 65% of jobs that drug test for it. Meanwhile alcoholics cause serious accidents at a much higher rate and yet alcohol doesn't get tested for in the vast majority of drug screenings. Almost every pole or survey about cannabis use indicates that estimated use is probably higher due to the general public's reluctance to admit use for fear of social stigma by people like you that lump everyone into a "drug user" category.

John Saari
Sun, 07/23/2017 - 7:09am

It is time to bite the bull -it. Our past should not be reason to descriminate.

Sherry A Wells
Sun, 07/23/2017 - 9:15am

I appreciated comments pointing out marijuana as a painkiller instead of addictive (real) drugs, and that weekend recreational use does not mean a danger in the workplace. (And the "Can't work here" one. Wry--as in truthful--humor.) Hope not Handcuffs is an organization working with law enforcement to help those addicted to opioids / prescription drugs. That needs state financial investment and is highly cost-effective.

Sun, 07/23/2017 - 11:08am

The government war on drugs has failed miserably. It has focused on stopping the flow and availability and been found totally lacking. Prohibition's failure taught us nothing. Gov't can not control any behavior through education, imprisonment or psychological intimidation . The solution is to set up a system to provide legal availability just as we do with alcohol. Yes, there will be abuse....but that is going to happen anyway. So why not use the public forum to at least make it less costly to the taxpayer who's paid for all this Gov't interventionism anyway. I'm an employer who no longer tests anyone, because all of them have probably used something. I need employees to do the job that I need done...I don't want to be their "Mommy" and watch over their every dysfunctionality. More Gov't is NOT the answer or the solution. Stop trying to coddle every perceived flaw in people.

William C. Plumpe
Sun, 07/23/2017 - 11:32am

It's simple.
If you want employees less likely to fail a drug test make it
very clear that they will immediately be let go if they fail the test.
No ifs, and or buts. Provide for an out if they have evidence
that the test was a false positive. But make sure they know the consequences
of failing to pass the test. Not only does an actual for real positive test result
show that you may have a major stoner on your hands but shows the individual
is so irresponsible and unable to follow the rules that they can't be disciplined
enough to lay off the weed for 3 or 4 weeks. I sure don't want anybody like that
making parts for my new car. Might create a bad part and a safety hazard.
If you want the job be sure to fulfill the job requirements.
And there must be a great number of sober potential applicants who don't know about
your job offer. I happen to be one of them and would be more than happy to work
20 hours a week at assembly and make $12.50 an hour. Advertise in the right places
with the right message and I'm sure you'll find qualified applicants.

Fri, 10/13/2017 - 10:03pm

You'd be happy to be poor too!

Charles Buck
Sun, 07/23/2017 - 12:50pm

The Michigan Chamber of Commerce should re-instate taxes on small and medium sized businesses to fund a build up of drug rehabilitation resources for voluntary and involuntary services and sign people up on Medicaid to receive effective long-term treatment for their underlying pain issues.

John S.
Sun, 07/23/2017 - 8:42pm

It may be necessary for the FDA to limit the production of opioid medications in line with the actual need for these medications to relieve pain. There are drug companies and unethical doctors who are profiting from the misery of people addicted to opioids. Professionals presumably know what treatment programs work. The medic in my Army unit just cuffed an arm and a leg to a bunk bed, left one bucket for vomit, and another bucket of water with a sponge for fever. That's probably not SOP today, even though it worked for soldiers who wanted to test clean and get home and "back to the world." Employers are liable for the behavior of their employees acting as agents and thus have an incentive to drug test where it's in their interest to do so. For certain jobs, where impairment can create dangers for other workers or the public, testing should be mandatory.

Mon, 07/24/2017 - 10:27pm

What if drugs is only a symptom and not the problem?
If the symptom is all that is addressed then is there any reason to believe things to get better?

M. Whelan
Mon, 07/24/2017 - 11:26pm

Put the drug dealers and crooked doctors in jail so the drugs won't be available. Wait I'm sorry that's racist. Its wrong to put criminals in jail.

Mark T
Fri, 10/13/2017 - 10:07pm

Your bringing up race on the subject of drugs was supposed to be racist: but it was stupid.

Richard Meckstroth
Tue, 07/25/2017 - 5:50pm

Big picture. China missed the entire industrial age because 80% of China was addicted to opium. China was so dysfunctional that Communists took it over, and brutally solved the drug problem, killing millions, and today 100% of China lives under an oppressive Communist regime. You want to live in a free country, you need to act responsibly and like an adult when you are an adult. Personal responsibility, personal liberty, sobriety and the concept of a citizen run government are all related.
You want to talk about operating dangerous heavy equipment, what do you think driving is? You are hurling a 2 ton vehicle down the road at 104 feet a second. (70 mph).
Stay sober, and vote.

Tue, 07/25/2017 - 8:03pm

So basically I'm an army veteran I don't have a job cause I smoke pot. Which helps my anxiety and helps me sleep as well. I feel I'm better smoking marijuana than taking 4 prescription meds a day. Every job I've had I've been one of the best workers yet businesses judge me for what I do after work. I feel I would rather have a worker who smokes pot than one who doesnt.They focus on the job at hand more than someone who doesn't trust me I've worked with people who don't smoke ...

Thu, 07/27/2017 - 7:25am

I find it amazing that I have a veteran Marine living with me that has had a very difficult time finding a good paying job and he doesn't use drugs whatsoever. Shouldn't be hard for a good veteran to find a good paying job when they are drug-free!

Thu, 07/27/2017 - 6:31pm

Until the lies about marijuana being a "drug" are stopped Americans will continue to be "drug" users.

Sun, 09/17/2017 - 6:47pm

I recently had a very good job rescinded (meaning they made me the offer and were GOING to hire me based on my qualifications). It was rescinded because cocaine was detected in my urine which I think is grotesquely unfair. Consider that it was taken ON MY OWN TIME 3.5 days before the test. I was not even working for these people yet. So how does THAT outweigh 30 years of work experience (without there ever ONCE been a drug-related issue) and positive interviews and such? It doesn't make sense and has HURT me VERY much. It was a WORK FROM HOME job on top of it. I don't even see where they had the RIGHT to test me in the first place. I was looking forward to working and getting out of the place where live - which contributes heavily to the usage I was doing. I wanted to live somewhere else and stop using (THIS IS THE TRUTH) - but now I can't - or at least it's proving VERY difficult - I've applied several times to other places afterwards with negative results (is there some sort of 'blacklist' that you get put on for this?).
It's just terrible and seems totally unfair.
I mean, what does having cocaine in your urine really MEAN? What does it say about the kind of person you are or the quality of your work (that isn't conjecture or presumption)?

Sun, 10/01/2017 - 6:05am

It's not only people can't pass, it's costing the employers too much money. 1 person fails , they test another, then another.

Jacqui Schulte
Wed, 11/01/2017 - 6:04pm

As an employment & labor law defense (management side) attorney, I see the main question as being, "Do you have a health or safety reason (i.e., product liability) that you need unimpaired employees?" The answer may not be the same for all job positions. If yes, then the question is how & when will you drug (&alcohol) test?

Tue, 11/06/2018 - 9:03am

As far as marijuana goes, just stop testing for it if it's legal. You don't test for alcohol right? If someone can go home after work and get shit faced drunk every night but still do their job the next day, do you care? What's the difference if they go home and smoke a couple joints?