It’s a choice: Work or toke

It’s a choice: Work or toke

Water and oil don’t mix. It should be equally obvious that marijuana, unprescribed drugs, cocaine and heroin don’t mix with oil or gas.

The message, which should go without saying, is that if you can’t pass a drug test, you won’t get a job. Certainly not in the emerging oil and gas industry in the Mahoning Valley, and not the vast majority of other industries. An increasing number of potential employers are prescreening for drug use.

It was something of a shock to read a Vindicator story two weeks ago that reported that as many as nine of 10 potential unskilled workers fail a pre-employment urine test. Even applicants for higher skilled positions fail at a rate of two out of three.

Such statistics can be all over the map, from state to state and from application to application. Critics of mandatory drug testing for recipients of welfare or unemployment benefits, for instance, claim that only a relatively small percentage of applicants fail a drug test. Those statistics, however don’t account for people wiling to forego further benefits rather than submit to a test they know they would fail.

Zero tolerance

But whatever the percentage of potential failures among all job applicants — be it 90 percent or 10 percent — no one who wants a job should risk losing the opportunity to a failed drug test.

They are on notice: drug users — even “recreational” users of marijuana — need not apply. Marijuana use can be detected in urine samples up to 30 days after the last use.

It was interesting to read some of the reader reaction on to the June 10 story. Some suggested legalizing marijuana as a response to the problem. But making marijuana legal wouldn’t make hiring marijuana users any more acceptable.

Employers have every right to expect workers to be clean on the day that they are hired and drug and alcohol free every day they show up for work. It’s a matter of productivity, safety, liability and common sense.

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