MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Opinion

May 30, 2013

County right to drug test applicants

— Muskogee County commissioners made the right move in requiring pre-employment drug testing for all potential hires.

It’s really long overdue.

In the past, the decision to drug test was left up to the elected official making the hire.

That’s just not a good idea.

While there is no implication of wrongdoing in the past, having elected officials decide whom to drug test is a dangerous policy.

Job applicants should be able to assume that everyone will be treated in the same manner during the hiring process.

It should never have been left up to each elected official to decide who gets tested.

How would that decision be made?

Did the elected official have reason to believe the applicant had a drug problem?

The change in policy also is a good move for public safety.

Someone who is under the influence of drugs does not need to drive for the county or operate any kind of machinery that could cause an injury to the employee or a citizen.

There is added cost to drug test every potential hire.

However, if all hires are free of drugs at the time of hire, then the county’s insurance premiums for its 200-plus employees will go down.

Even if the cost of drug testing applicants was not offset by lower insurance premiums, the idea of drug screens still makes common sense.

The taxpayers would save money by helping to ensure every employee was drug free.

In the long run, drug testing applicants makes long-term fiscal and common sense.

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