About those urine samples


urine cup

Image: NIH.gov

It’s hard for my old Marine not to get offended when every year his VA doc tests him for illicit drug use.  (His private docs NEVER test him for them.) The screening panel is extensive:  

Amphetamines; Barbiturates; Benzodiazepines; Cannabinoids;  Cocaine; Methadone; Opiates; Phencyclidines; Ethanol; Oxycodone; Burprenorphine. 

His results are always normal/appropriate (one prescribed RX) so why subject him to this belittling ritual? Is this suspicion-based testing based on his service in Vietnam perhaps?

In many states, drug testing is mandatory if one receives food assistance (SNAP) or Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF). (LINK).  Here are the mean states:

At least thirteen states have passed legislation regarding drug testing or screening for public assistance applicants or recipients (Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Utah)

In Wisconsin, Gov. Walker wants to conduct drug testing for state unemployment benefits as is practiced in some other states. What next?

There can be valid reasons for the VA to test various drug panels since some physicians may be over-dosing patients (LINK) or if patients aren’t taking their medication.  But still, the cost to state taxpayers of these bodily-fluid searches is considerable (LINK) and one can’t help but think that the VA could better spend its limited dollars in more useful ways to help veterans rather than bother veterans with drug tests (random or routine) without good cause. The ACLU has up-to-date information if you wish to consider the ramifications of drug testing vis-a-vis our constitutional rights.  Has anyone ever declined a VA drug test?  I wonder what punishment would be meted out if so.

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5 Responses to About those urine samples

  1. SPrice says:

    They use them against them, to build their percentages they can quote in studies. To see whether they’re taking the narcotic meds prescribed to them and to deny treatment. On a letter sent to the reporter who did the Newsweek story, the VA said that veterans with alcohol or substance use are judged as being “unable to adhere to treatment”.

    Of 180,000 veterans who have been diagnosed with Hep C, only 108,810 are considered treatment candidates.

  2. clearleft says:

    perhaps. Just perhaps. If the VA wasn’t spending so much of their annually budgeted dollars on frivolous things like the Independent Living Program for severely disabled Veterans they’d have more $$$$ available for the really important things like (fill in the blank here)

    But then again what do I know.

    • Kiedove says:

      All these puzzling actions. Missouri spends almost $340,000 to drug test TANF recipients and catches, get this, 48 drug failures. That $340K would have bought a lot of food. Government insanity everywhere.

  3. hepper74 says:

    The VA is fence sitting on the subject of MMJ but not sure about any legalities involved for the other drugs. Seek out legal advice on this one for sure. It appears, at least on the surface, to be out of bounds but just not sure.

    • Kiedove says:

      The answer–must one submit provide urine–is probably in some VA manual. The point is, if anyone who gets services/money from the government must get drug tested, shouldn’t everyone, such as all gov. employees, have to get the same drug tests regularly? Like Sec. Bob, etc…on a regular basis? The cost would be insane of course.

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