By Mark David Blum, Esq.
A California man was recently sentenced to federal prison for designing, manufacturing, and selling the Whizzinator. In case you haven’t heard, the Whizzinator is a fake device used to circumvent and assure a clean drug test. The NFL got caught using them followed by Congressional hearings and actor Ted Sizemore got busted using one when he was on probation.
I feel sad for the maker of the Whizzonator. Talk about someone being pissed on.
The whole concept of drug testing is a failure. Instead, there should be “impairment testing.” The difference between the two is worlds apart. Impairment testing determines your ability to handle basic and complex functions at a particular point in time. Drug testing does not test for impairment and locates drug residue still in the body from consumption hours, days, and even weeks before. In a study of high tech industries, researchers found that, "drug testing programs do not succeed in improving productivity. Surprisingly, companies adopting drug testing programs are found to exhibit lower levels of productivity than their counterparts that do not... Both pre-employment and random testing of workers are found to be associated with lower levels of productivity."
Primarily an employment issue, Drug Testing on the job has fallen into disfavor. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, "overall about 1 of 3 establishments that reported having a drug testing program in 1988 said they did not have one in 1990." Forty six percent of the companies with under 50 employees dropped drug testing programs. Further, according to the American Management Association, in 1991, drug testing of some kind was conducted by 63% of companies surveyed, growing to 81% in 1996, falling to 66% in 2000 and then to 62% in 2004. Drug testing of new hires was conducted by 48% of companies in 1991, growing to 68% in 1996, falling to 61% in 2000 and then to 54.5% in 2004. Drug testing of current employees was conducted by 52% of companies surveyed in 1991, rising to 70% in 1996, falling to 47% in 2000 and then to 44.3% in 2004.
The other major concern about drug testing is the cost. It was estimated that in the mid-1990s the United States spent $1 billion annually to drug test about 20 million workers. One electronics manufacturer estimated that the cost of finding each positive result was $20,000. After testing 10,000 employees he only found 49 positive results. A congressional committee estimated that the cost of each positive in government testing was $77,000 because the positive rate was only 0.5%.
What raises my ire is the invasive nature of drug testing. It does not deter drug use and is an invasion of intimate privacy. A search of your urine is as offensive as a search of your vomit. Society’s bloodlust must be halted at the point of my nose. As an American citizen, the loss of privacy to me myself and what I do greatly outweighs government’s need to prosecute and the employer or school’s need to regulate students.
Of late, President Bush has been heavily marketing his Administration’s successes in the drug war. He focuses on children and how drug use has dropped of late. Of course it has. Our nation has embarked upon an education campaign and like with cigarettes, kids are making better decisions. At the same time, the President and his Drug Czar are silent on the violence used at the enforcement side of the drug war nor do they discussion the hundreds of billions of dollars spent. On a cost benefit analysis, only the education front seems to be prevailing. Law enforcement, imprisonment of millions, and zillions of warrantless searches do not seem to have solved the nation’s drug problem.
But now that we got the guy who made the Whizzonator, we can all be proud. With the same gusto as we punish gun manufacturers when guns are used to kill or the way we target cigarette manufacturers when people use their product as intended, the Whizzonator manufacturer is facing years of federal time.
The birth of the Whizzonator is itself a product of the drug war. By using prohibition instead of regulation and control, we created a huge vacuum. People want their drugs and simply respond to a changing market by changing habits. So long as someone wants something, there will always be someone to sell it to them. Because we foolishly believe that drug testing actually solves a problem, a market was born for those who needed to pass a drug test. So goes the cycle of the life under Prohibition. Prohibitionists create the vacuum and when someone steps into it, they are carted off to the gallows for their sins. What a great industry and self perpetuating machine. It provides guaranteed job security for the enforcers and their friends.
I am appalled that the maker of the Whizzonator is answering for the sins of its users. I am incensed at having to pay taxes to house and keeplock this guy for however many years. Mostly I just silently mourn the freedoms and privileges lost to all Americans as government’s invasion is now at the most intimate level of privacy.
We should all shed a tear for the Whizzonator. It is a victim of the government’s making.