Skip to main content

Corporations and the Drug War

I've worked at four companies in my short career: three of them required a drug test before my first day of work, a signed document consenting to random drug tests, and an agreement that I understood drug use could lead to the termination of my employment.

Most articles and stories I've seen about the drug war and decriminalization are focused on the political side of the issue. It pits the "morally correct" social conservatives against the "laissez faire" social libertarians. It's obvious what the social right has to gain from keeping drugs illegal - the belief that it will stem the immoral use of them. To what extent these laws have a deterrent effect or stomp over our freedom is debatable, and I'm not here to debate it.

It's easy to overlook the role that drug laws play in Corporate America, or the fact that the biggest and most powerful corporations have a lot to lose if the laws are loosened. Strict drug laws give corporations a legal tool to hedge against legal responsibility for bad things that happen in the workplace.

Think about this: people are at work; something goes wrong and people get hurt. The first response for many corporations is to call for drug tests. If the employees involved test positive, it gets the corporation off the hook for a lot of liability and pushes responsibility for the accident onto those individual employees.

If Congress ever gets serious about changing these laws, it's not unreasonable to expect corporate lobbyists to get involved. The PR machines will spin it as a moral issue, family values, or whatever else they can piggyback off of the Christian right; but their real motivation will be the bottom lines of their income statements. For that matter, anytime corporations can get the government to protect their interests, I'd expect them to fight for it.


Anonymous said…
This line of thinking can apply to most of what transpires with our government. Business interests often trump those of the citizen and will continue to do so while campaigns of career politicians can be privately funded.

Popular posts from this blog

In Praise of Southwest's 'C' Boarding Group

A few weeks ago I saw a tweet from someone complaining that their Southwest Airlines boarding pass had been assigned A20 (meaning they would be at least one of the first twenty passengers to board the plane). Apparently this person though they should have been assigned a higher number, less their flight experience be considerably spoiled.

Despite the complaints, Southwest has resisted demands to assign seats on its flights, a decision which I personally applaud. I'll admit that I was skeptical when they rolled out the newest boarding procedure, assigning both boarding groups and a line number; but in hindsight it seems like one of the best operational decisions they've ever made. If nothing else, it effectively eliminated the infamous "cattle call" whereby fliers were getting to airports hours in advance and sitting in line on the floor as if they were waiting for the midnight showing of the new Star Wars movie.

When I was an intern at Southwest Airlines last winter, I…

So You Want to be a Southwest Airlines Intern?

My personal website must have pretty decent SEO - because in the past year, I've received about two dozen emails from aspiring Southwest Airlines interns looking to draw on my experience in search of their own dream internship. In the past two weeks alone a few new emails have already started rolling in...

(from flickr user San Diego Shooter)

If you've found your way here, you might be hoping for the silver bullet; a secret tip that will propel you above the competition. Unfortunately, I do not know any inside secrets. I can only share my experience as an internship candidate about two years ago and, rather than responding individually to future emails I anticipate to receive, I hope that potential interns will find the information posted here valuable.

Understand: Southwest Airlines is a very unique company. The corporate culture at Southwest is truly unlike that of nearly every other company. But you probably already knew that, since it now seems mandatory for every management,…

Commuting Meets Technology

I'm finally out of the dark ages. I got an Android smartphone over the weekend and have since been in the process of exploring the Android apps market.  One thing I've immediately noticed is the really wide range of usefulness in the apps. For example, the WeatherBug app is fantastic. It automatically determines your location and gives you exact conditions for that location. On the other end of the spectrum, Google's Goggles app is supposed to be a type of 'visual search' where you snap of photo of something and Google searches for it. In each of my attempts to use it, the app hasn't returned any search results. I even took a photo of a bottle of Pepsi (figuring it as a common houseful item) and got nothing.

Somewhere in the middle is this app called Waze. Have a look at their 'guided tour':

Some people might look at it and comment on the amazing evolution of technology or on the incredible value of social networks. To me, Waze says something important ab…