Send ‘Em To Jail That Day!

Apr 12, 2013

The annual Drug & Alco­hol Test­ing Indus­try Asso­ci­a­tion (DATIA) con­fer­ence, held in 2012 in San Anto­nio, Texas, looks like any other indus­try gath­er­ing. The 600 or so atten­dees sip their com­pli­men­tary Star­bucks cof­fee, munch on small plates of muffins and fresh fruit, and back­slap old acquain­tances as they file into a sprawl­ing Mar­riott hotel con­fer­ence hall. They will hear a keynote address by Robert DuPont, who served as drug pol­icy direc­tor under Richard Nixon and Ger­ald Ford. Noth­ing odd about any of this until you con­sider that the main sub­ject of the con­fer­ence is urine. Seventy-seven years old, DuPont adopts the air of a sprightly tel­e­van­ge­list as he out­lines what he calls “the new bat­tle lines” in the war on drugs, one that “begins with kids.” At the cli­max of his speech, DuPont offers “the new par­a­digm” of drug treat­ment: a pro­gram that one con­tro­ver­sial Hawai­ian judge admin­is­ters to all drug-addicted pro­ba­tion­ers he over­sees. “If they test pos­i­tive,” he says, his voice slowly ris­ing into a high-pitched yell, “they go to jail that day! No dis­cus­sion!… No dis­cre­tion! To jail that day!” As DuPont fin­ishes his speech, the hun­dreds of drug-testing com­pany rep­re­sen­ta­tives in the audi­ence rise to give him a stand­ing ova­tion. DuPont is in an expan­sive mood fol­low­ing his speech. Since the 1980s, he has been in the busi­ness of sell­ing drug-testing ser­vices to employ­ers. As far as he’s con­cerned, drug tests should be given to “any­body who receives a ben­e­fit,” from unem­ploy­ment insur­ance to wel­fare. “Test ‘em all!” he exclaims. This may sound overzeal­ous, but Repub­li­can law­mak­ers around the coun­try are already enthu­si­as­ti­cally embrac­ing the idea of mak­ing clean urine a con­di­tion of receiv­ing pub­lic ben­e­fits. Since 2011, seven states have passed laws man­dat­ing drug tests for Tem­po­rary Assis­tance for Needy Fam­i­lies (TANF) appli­cants and recip­i­ents, and in 2012 at least twenty-five other states con­sid­ered pro­pos­als to tie wel­fare cash assis­tance, and in some cases also food stamps, to drug tests. In Feb­ru­ary 2012, Con­gress passed a law paving the way for states to urine-test the recip­i­ents of unem­ploy­ment ben­e­fits seek­ing work in sec­tors where such screen­ings are required. Since then, six­teen states have con­sid­ered laws tying unem­ploy­ment insur­ance ben­e­fits to drug tests. The thirst for urine can be traced to the military’s 1971 Oper­a­tion Golden Flow, aimed at detect­ing drug­gies among Viet­nam vet­er­ans. Launched in response to rumors of heroin addic­tion, the test dis­pro­por­tion­ately net­ted mar­i­juana users, since one byprod­uct of mar­i­juana, carboxy-THC, lingers in the body longer than that of harder drugs. (In con­trast, the body flushes out the byprod­ucts of harder drugs, such as cocaine and heroin, within a day.) Nev­er­the­less, before long, all ser­vice mem­bers were required to uri­nate in a cup at least once every two years. Then there was the exec­u­tive order issued by Ronald Rea­gan in 1986, which warned that “the use of ille­gal drugs, on or off duty, by fed­eral employ­ees in cer­tain positions…may pose a seri­ous risk to national secu­rity.” The order man­dated that all fed­eral agen­cies imple­ment drug-testing pro­grams to “show the way towards achiev­ing drug-free work­places.” Two years later, Rea­gan went one step fur­ther, sign­ing the Drug Free Work­place Act, which man­dated urine tests for every employee work­ing for a fed­eral grantee and even those work­ing for some con­trac­tors. At first, the med­ical pro­fes­sion dis­missed urine test­ing as “chem­i­cal McCarthyism”—and inef­fec­tive to boot, since a worker using cocaine sev­eral times a week was more likely to pass a drug test than a col­league who’d smoked a joint at a party the pre­vi­ous Sat­ur­day night. Mean­while, most tests ignored alco­hol, which is the drug most often blamed for work­place acci­dents. “It’s like learn­ing that some­body drank beer three days ago,” says Bill Piper, direc­tor of national affairs with the Drug Pol­icy Alliance. “What’s that going to say about how func­tional they are at work today? It’s unsci­en­tific and dis­crim­i­na­tory.” But the Rea­gan admin­is­tra­tion saw drug tests as essen­tial for crack­ing down on a pop­u­la­tion largely out­side the reach of law enforce­ment: peo­ple smok­ing pot in the pri­vacy of their own homes. “Because any­one using drugs stands a very good chance of being dis­cov­ered, with dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion from employ­ment as a pos­si­ble con­se­quence, many will decide that the price of using drugs is just too high,” read a 1989 White House report. In the decades since, drug-testing com­pa­nies have mar­keted urine tests as a wise invest­ment for all employ­ers. They claim that any drug user is a less pro­duc­tive worker, and more likely to cause work­place acci­dents, show up late for work or sim­ply quit. Such claims per­sist despite a 1994 review, by the National Acad­emy of Sci­ences, of all the inde­pen­dent research pub­lished on work­place drug test­ing, which found lit­tle sup­port to back up those claims. Indeed, one study of employ­ers in the high-tech sec­tor found that drug test­ing “reduced rather than enhanced pro­duc­tiv­ity.” Performance-based tests, researchers found, are far more effec­tive at assess­ing a worker’s abil­ity to per­form safety-sensitive jobs than drug test­ing. Unlike urine tests, these tests detect drug impair­ment and a host of other fac­tors (fatigue, stress, alco­hol) far more likely to com­pro­mise a worker’s con­cen­tra­tion than past mar­i­juana use. Nev­er­the­less, the esca­la­tion of the drug war would prove more pow­er­ful than the evi­dence that under­mined it, pro­duc­ing a pow­er­ful coali­tion of gov­ern­ment and pri­vate indus­try play­ers deter­mined to con­vince employ­ers of the wis­dom of mon­i­tor­ing their work­ers’ blad­ders. One of the entre­pre­neurs drawn to the bur­geon­ing drug-testing indus­try was Elaine Taulé. A long­time DATIA board mem­ber, she says she got into the busi­ness because she wanted to test her own sons. When she told this to the staff of National Health Lab­o­ra­to­ries, a major drug-testing lab, in 1987, they were incred­u­lous. “The lab just sort of looked at me and said, ‘What! Do you really think your 17-year-old is going to pee in a cup?’” But Taulé was insis­tent. “If I say, ‘It’s either your urine or your car keys,’ I may get his urine,” she said. She went on to found her own drug-testing busi­ness, NMS Man­age­ment Ser­vices, in 1989. Taulé’s tim­ing was impec­ca­ble. Around the time she started test­ing her sons, other, much larger play­ers were enter­ing the field, includ­ing the Swiss phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal giant Hoffmann-La Roche, the man­u­fac­turer of Val­ium and a range of pop­u­lar sleep­ing pills. The com­pany estab­lished one of the first major drug-testing labs in Amer­ica and won an early urine-testing con­tract with the Pen­ta­gon, lead­ing to $300 mil­lion in annual sales by 1987. The fol­low­ing year, Hoffmann-La Roche stepped up its sales efforts with the launch of a major PR and lob­by­ing cam­paign to “mobi­lize cor­po­rate Amer­ica to con­front the illicit drug prob­lem in their work­places.” The drug man­u­fac­turer called its new cam­paign “Cor­po­rate Ini­tia­tives for a Drug-Free Work­place.” Before long, with the help of a New Jersey–based lawyer named David Evans, Hoffmann-La Roche was orga­niz­ing work­shops around the coun­try to con­vince employ­ers to set up drug-testing pro­grams. In an inter­view with The Nation, Evans likened his role to that of “a doc­tor com­ing in to talk about how to set up a med­ical device.” Dur­ing that first cam­paign, 1,000 employ­ers signed up. “There’s clearly a momen­tum here,” gushed Irwin Lerner, then the drug company’s pres­i­dent, at the campaign’s launch in 1988. “I think we’ve tapped a chord among cor­po­rate Amer­ica.” The sleep­ing pill manufacturer’s enthu­si­asm evi­dently impressed Rea­gan him­self, who deliv­ered a keynote address at the launch of Hoffmann-La Roche’s Cor­po­rate Ini­tia­tives cam­paign. Rea­gan praised the com­pany for mak­ing “it clear that not only are drug users not part of the ‘in crowd,’ but unless they quit tak­ing ille­gal drugs they’ll be part of the out-of-work crowd.” The drug-testing indus­try took aim at law­mak­ers as much as employ­ers. Hoffmann-La Roche, for instance, worked “with fed­eral and state gov­ern­ment offi­cials,” accord­ing to a press release issued by the PR com­pany hired to mar­ket the cam­paign. Lerner told the press that the drug com­pany also envi­sioned a “grass­roots strat­egy” to pre­vent states from pass­ing laws to decrim­i­nal­ize mar­i­juana. By 2006, 84 per­cent of Amer­i­can employ­ers were report­ing that they drug-tested their work­ers. Today, drug test­ing is a multi-billion-dollar-a-year indus­try. DATIA rep­re­sents more than 1,200 com­pa­nies and employs a DC-based lob­by­ing firm, Wash­ing­ton Pol­icy Asso­ciates. Hoffmann-La Roche’s for­mer con­sul­tant, David Evans, now runs his own lob­by­ing firm and has ghost­writ­ten sev­eral state laws to expand drug test­ing. Most sig­nif­i­cant, in the 1990s Evans crafted the Work­place Drug Test­ing Act for the Amer­i­can Leg­isla­tive Exchange Coun­cil (ALEC), of which Hoffmann-La Roche was a pay­ing mem­ber. Lay­ing out pro­to­cols for work­place drug test­ing, the bill—which has been enacted into law in sev­eral states—upheld the rights of employ­ers to fire employ­ees who do not com­ply with their com­pa­nies’ drug-free work­place pro­gram. Over the past decade, lob­by­ists like Evans have focused on what a DATIA newslet­ter recently dubbed “the next frontier”—schoolchildren. In 2002, a rep­re­sen­ta­tive from the influ­en­tial drug-testing man­age­ment firm Besinger, DuPont & Asso­ciates her­alded schools as “poten­tially a much big­ger mar­ket than the work­place.” That year, the Supreme Court upheld the right of schools to drug-test any stu­dent involved in extracur­ric­u­lar activ­i­ties, from the foot­ball team to the chess club. (Many in the drug-testing indus­try advo­cate test­ing all school kids ages 12 and up, but they have failed thus far to con­vince the courts.) Like Elaine Taulé, David Evans turned to his own kids for inspi­ra­tion. He helped the two New Jer­sey high schools where his chil­dren were stu­dents to craft drug-testing poli­cies and then set about pro­mot­ing them as mod­els for schools across the coun­try. In a 2004 radio address, Pres­i­dent George W. Bush sin­gled out one of them, Hun­ter­don Cen­tral Regional High School, as a ster­ling exam­ple of “the pos­i­tive results of drug test­ing across the coun­try” and pro­posed com­mit­ting $23 mil­lion of fed­eral edu­ca­tion funds to drug-testing high school­ers. Stud­ies have shown that there is no dif­fer­ence in lev­els of drug use at schools that sub­ject stu­dents to test­ing and those that do not. And some drug pol­icy experts worry that drug test­ing may push stu­dents away from mar­i­juana and toward drugs such as cocaine, heroin and alcohol—those not gen­er­ally detected by urine tests. Nev­er­the­less, Taulé sighed con­tent­edly in the hotel lobby out­side DATIA’s 2012 meet­ing. “It’s like it’s come full cir­cle,” the Florida entre­pre­neur says. “I started off want­ing to help kids, and now I am.” Taulé, who has received two grants from the Depart­ment of Edu­ca­tion to col­lect the urine of Florida school kids, some­how can’t stop test­ing her own sons. Now well into mid­dle age, and both employed at their mother’s drug-testing firm, her sons walk up to us and shyly ask per­mis­sion to join the inter­view. Set­tling into an uphol­stered chair across from his mom, 50-year-old Marc Taulé laughs ner­vously, recall­ing the last time his mom made him hand over his urine—last year. To everyone’s sur­prise, he tested pos­i­tive for cocaine. He’s not a cocaine user; he had been pre­scribed a painkiller called Lido­caine after minor surgery. “I love them, and just don’t want to see them in trou­ble,” Elaine Taulé explains. How has the indus­try coun­tered charges that its tests catch casual mar­i­juana users more effec­tively than users of cocaine or heroin? By demo­niz­ing pot as par­tic­u­larly destruc­tive. Despite hav­ing pre­vi­ously advo­cated decrim­i­nal­iz­ing mar­i­juana, the first thing Robert (“Test ‘em all!”) DuPont did after leav­ing office in 1978 was to hold a press con­fer­ence declar­ing that “in many ways it’s the worst drug of all the ille­gal drugs.” With that dec­la­ra­tion, he broke from all expert opin­ion at the time, includ­ing his own. Only three years ear­lier, he was listed as a co-author of a white paper call­ing mar­i­juana “a minor prob­lem.” DuPont, who now sells his ser­vices as a “drug-testing man­age­ment” con­sul­tant, would explain his turn­around on cannabis in a PBS inter­view by say­ing: “I real­ized that these pub­lic poli­cies were symbolic—all that really mat­tered was you were for [the decrim­i­nal­iza­tion of mar­i­juana] or you were against it…. I think about it as a lit­mus test.” In other words, one’s posi­tion on mar­i­juana is, above all, a moral­ity test—one in which the use of any ille­gal drug at all is under­stood to be a social ill, and there­fore the most com­monly used ille­gal drug in Amer­ica is seen as par­tic­u­larly insid­i­ous. It was not so long ago that the Amer­i­can Man­age­ment Asso­ci­a­tion pub­lished a sur­vey show­ing that work­place drug test­ing was rapidly declin­ing. In 2006, HR Mag­a­zine cited human resource pro­fes­sion­als and test­ing experts who explained the drop-off by point­ing out that drug test­ing “shows no demon­stra­ble return on invest­ment.” In other words, there was noth­ing to gain by spend­ing money to fer­ret out employ­ees who might be per­fectly effec­tive work­ers. This seemed only nat­ural to Lewis Maltby, who in 1999 wrote an ACLU report titled “Drug Test­ing: A Bad Invest­ment,” and who sees the decline in pri­vate employ­ers’ use of drug test­ing as proof that “test­ing never meant any­thing to begin with.” Nearly 60 per­cent of the 1,000 com­pa­nies who responded to a DATIA-funded sur­vey in 2011 claimed to drug-test all job can­di­dates. But the same study found a rise in the num­ber of com­pa­nies that do not con­duct any form of pre-employment test­ing, with sev­eral report­ing that they do “not believe in drug test­ing.” Schools have been sim­i­larly reluc­tant to embrace test­ing. But indus­try lead­ers like DuPont remain opti­mistic about the ben­e­fits of tar­get­ing recip­i­ents of gov­ern­ment assis­tance. In 2011, Elaine Taulé’s NMS Man­age­ment Ser­vices was one of sev­eral com­pa­nies enlisted by Florida’s Depart­ment of Chil­dren and Fam­i­lies to inspect the urine of wel­fare appli­cants. That year, Repub­li­can Gov­er­nor Rick Scott—whose wife owns a net­work of Florida clin­ics that profit from drug tests—signed a law requir­ing all appli­cants for cash assis­tance through the state’s TANF pro­gram to take a drug test. Wel­fare appli­cants were required to pay the $25 to $30 charged by the drug-testing firms for the tests; those who tested neg­a­tive would be reim­bursed by the state. The courts struck down Florida’s law soon after it went into effect, fol­low­ing a law­suit by the ACLU. In the mean­time, only 2.6 per­cent of appli­cants tested pos­i­tive for a drug, mostly for mar­i­juana use. The tests cost the state $113,000, in addi­tion to $595,000 in court-ordered retroac­tive ben­e­fits for those who tested pos­i­tive or refused test­ing. By July 2012, Florida had spent $88,783 defend­ing the pro­gram in court—a costly legal bat­tle that the state ulti­mately lost when a court ruled in Feb­ru­ary to uphold the deci­sion strik­ing down the law. Unde­terred, Geor­gia passed a law nearly iden­ti­cal to Florida’s, although its imple­men­ta­tion was put on hold pend­ing the rul­ing on Florida’s law. (It is unclear how Geor­gia will pro­ceed now.) In all, in 2012 twenty-eight states con­sid­ered insti­tut­ing wel­fare drug-testing laws; four of them passed wel­fare drug-testing bills into law. Given that Ari­zona and Mis­souri had already recently man­dated drug tests for some appli­cants for social assis­tance, this brings the num­ber of states cur­rently requir­ing drug tests for wel­fare appli­cants to seven. In the mean­time, sev­eral Repub­li­can law­mak­ers in Con­gress have pushed hard for the manda­tory drug test­ing of any­one, any­where, apply­ing for wel­fare. Lead­ing the charge in the Sen­ate is Orrin Hatch, long­time con­ser­v­a­tive stal­wart from Utah, who received a $8,000 cam­paign con­tri­bu­tion in 2012 from the polit­i­cal action com­mit­tee of Lab­o­ra­tory Cor­po­ra­tion of Amer­ica (Lab­Corp), a behe­moth in the drug-testing indus­try and a Hoffmann-La Roche spin­off. Hatch has also received $3,000 from another polit­i­cal action com­mit­tee to which Lab­Corp contributes—the Amer­i­can Clin­i­cal Lab­o­ra­tory Asso­ci­a­tion PAC—as well as $4,000 in cam­paign con­tri­bu­tions from the PAC of another com­pany with major inter­ests in drug test­ing, Abbott Lab­o­ra­to­ries. GOP Con­gress­man Charles Bous­tany is among those push­ing wel­fare drug test­ing in the House. In the 2012 cam­paign cycle, he received $15,000 from Abbott Lab­o­ra­to­ries’ PAC. Data released by the National Con­fer­ence of State Leg­is­la­tures demon­strates that law­mak­ers’ obses­sion with drug-testing the poor has shown no sign of abat­ing in the cur­rent leg­isla­tive ses­sion. Twenty-nine states have pro­posed wel­fare drug test­ing in 2013. A day after assum­ing the vice pres­i­dency of the Kansas State Sen­ate in Novem­ber 2012, Repub­li­can Sen­a­tor Jeff King vowed that his state would pass a law man­dat­ing drug tests not only for wel­fare but also unem­ploy­ment recip­i­ents. King’s pro­posal was approved by the House on March 26. Drug test­ing for wel­fare recip­i­ents is also being dis­cussed in Ohio and Texas, where Abbott Lab­o­ra­to­ries spent $133,500 on cam­paign dona­tions to state politi­cians in the lead-up to the 2010 and 2012 elec­tions, in addi­tion to more than $500,000 spent by the com­pany on state lob­by­ing con­tracts since 2010. Watts Key is the national direc­tor of ser­vice providers at Lab­Corp. Sit­ting in the hall­way of the Mar­riott dur­ing the DATIA con­fer­ence, Key says he’s con­fi­dent that when the legal­ity of urine test­ing for ben­e­fits is “sorted out,” it will “be a very big part of drug test­ing.” To him it’s inevitable that wel­fare becomes “a huge poten­tial mar­ket of drug test­ing.” He’s hardly the only indus­try leader point­ing to good times ahead. “It’s a mat­ter of time” before drug test­ing for wel­fare ben­e­fits is wide­spread, says Philip Dubois, DATIA’s chairman-elect. Dubois’s own drug-testing firm is now gear­ing up to test wel­fare appli­cants in Geor­gia. As more states con­sider manda­tory drug test­ing as a con­di­tion of finan­cial help, DATIA staffers are prepar­ing for a busy 2013. “Say Michi­gan pro­poses a wel­fare drug-testing law,” says Laura Shel­ton, DATIA’s exec­u­tive direc­tor. “What we’d do is look at what we like about it, what we don’t like about it, and then pro­vide [mem­bers] the sam­ple text that they can then send to their leg­is­la­tor in sup­port of the law, and if there’s any changes that we sug­gest.” Sit­ting in a hotel hall­way at the con­clu­sion of the con­fer­ence, Shel­ton says that she envi­sions a setup in which drug-testing for ben­e­fits “would go hand in hand with…welfare. It’s basi­cally the same thing, when you look at it.” Because so many peo­ple must undergo drug tests “to have a job to pay taxes,” she rea­sons, it makes sense that “if that tax­payer money is being used for [unem­ploy­ment insur­ance] or for wel­fare, that test­ing [should] be a part of that pro­gram as well.” Con­gress agreed when, in Feb­ru­ary 2012, it amended fed­eral rules to allow states to drug-test select unem­ploy­ment appli­cants. The Drug Pol­icy Alliance dubbed it a “pol­icy [that] broadly expands and sub­si­dizes drug test­ing in a way that may be dif­fi­cult to reverse for many years, if ever.” Among the Repub­li­can law­mak­ers who pushed hard for the change was Con­gress­man Dave Camp, who owns at least $81,000 in assets in com­pa­nies that are major play­ers in the drug-testing indus­try, such as Lab­Corp, Abbott Lab­o­ra­to­ries and Hewlett-Packard. He has also received $5,000 in fed­eral cam­paign con­tri­bu­tions from Lab­Corp over the past three years. The Labor Depart­ment has yet to issue guide­lines to states inter­ested in drug-testing unem­ploy­ment insur­ance applicants—but states are hardly wait­ing for guid­ance. With six­teen states con­sid­er­ing such bills since 2012, the idea has found enthu­si­as­tic cham­pi­ons in Texas’s GOP-dominated leg­is­la­ture. Forc­ing job­less Tex­ans to pee in cups would cost the state $30 mil­lion a year, accord­ing to the Texas leg­isla­tive bud­get office, with $27 mil­lion of this sum going to a drug-testing com­pany. Yet last Novem­ber, Gov­er­nor Perry pub­licly endorsed the idea at a press con­fer­ence with State Sen­a­tors Tommy Williams and Craig Estes, as well as State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Bran­don Creighton. All four have recently received cam­paign money from Abbott Lab­o­ra­to­ries. “What bet­ter way to shake it and move it, and drive some of ‘em outta the pro­gram, than to imple­ment drug test­ing?” says Chris Williams, a vice pres­i­dent at Arc­Point Labs. His firm is already mar­ket­ing its “wel­fare drug-testing ser­vices” in more than a dozen states, and pro­vid­ing more hands-on ser­vices to one of the law­mak­ers lead­ing South Carolina’s efforts to drug-test unem­ploy­ment insur­ance recip­i­ents. Seated in a secluded cor­ner of the Mar­riott on the final day of the DATIA con­fer­ence along with sev­eral other Arc­Point exec­u­tives, Williams explains that the com­pany has been advis­ing Repub­li­can State Sen­a­tor David Thomas, the spon­sor of a pro­posed 2010 South Car­olina bill to drug-test the job­less. The bill was defeated. In 2012, South Car­olina leg­is­la­tors con­sid­ered three sep­a­rate bills to drug-test the unem­ployed, and the idea has been cham­pi­oned by the gov­er­nor, ALEC alum Nikki Haley, who exclaimed at a Lex­ing­ton coun­try club gath­er­ing in Sep­tem­ber 2011, “I so want drug test­ing. It’s some­thing I’ve been want­ing since the first day I walked into office.” The same year, despite a statewide unem­ploy­ment rate higher than 9 per­cent, South Car­olina law­mak­ers slashed the dura­tion for such ben­e­fits from twenty-six to twenty weeks. “Ini­tia­tives like this, [which] scape­goat those who need—and are enti­tled to depend on—basic social insur­ance pro­grams, are incon­sis­tent with the unem­ploy­ment insur­ance program’s pur­pose and his­tory, insen­si­tive to the real­i­ties of today’s econ­omy, and insult­ing to mil­lions who are shoul­der­ing the great­est bur­dens of job loss and inabil­ity to find new work,” says Rebecca Dixon, an ana­lyst at the National Employ­ment Law Project. But for Repub­li­can law­mak­ers push­ing to slash a fed­eral pro­gram that has become a life­line for mil­lions of Amer­i­cans, scape­goat­ing the vic­tims of the worst eco­nomic down­turn since the Great Depres­sion seems to be pre­cisely the goal. For decades, drug tests have dis­pro­por­tion­ately tar­geted vul­ner­a­ble groups, such as low-wage work­ers, chil­dren and parolees. And every­where these tests have been insti­tu­tion­al­ized, civil lib­er­tar­i­ans have crit­i­cized them as an infringe­ment of pri­vacy and rights. Yet if Repub­li­can law­mak­ers get their way, mil­lions of laid-off work­ers and wel­fare recip­i­ents around the coun­try will be sub­jected to the kind of inti­mate intru­sion that Elaine Taulé imposes on her middle-aged sons. Back at the DATIA con­fer­ence, Marc Taulé, who has been rewarded for his years of sub­servience to his mom’s urine test­ing with a posi­tion as vice pres­i­dent of busi­ness devel­op­ment at NMS, remarks, “We’re still on the ran­dom drug-testing pro­gram in the Taulé fam­ily!” “I’m sure our nieces and nephews are gonna be random-drug-tested, too!” he adds, his stac­cato laugh­ter ring­ing out ner­vously through the lobby of the Mar­riott. This arti­cle orig­i­nally appeared in the Nation Mag­a­zine. This story was pro­duced with sup­port from the Eco­nomic Hard­ship Report­ing Project. Isabel Mac­don­ald is AlterNet’s NYC-based pub­li­cist. Before join­ing Alter­Net, she was the com­mu­ni­ca­tions direc­tor at the media watch group Fair­ness & Accu­racy In Report­ing, and her writ­ing has appeared in Extra Mag­a­zine, Huff­in­g­ton Post, the Indypen­dent and Z Mag­a­zine. New­shawk: After­burner Source: Alter­Net (US) Author: Isabel Mac­don­ald Pub­lished: April 10, 2013 Copy­right: 2013 Inde­pen­dent Media Insti­tute Con­tact: letters@​alternet.​org Web­site: http://​www​.alter​net​.org/

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