Indiana first to require drug tests for job training

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A new Indiana rule requiring drug tests for unemployed people participating in state-funded job training programs reflects a hard stance many states are taking regarding public assistance as they struggle with limited financial resources.

The U.S. Department of Labor says Indiana is the first state to require drug testing of people seeking job training. But at least 30 states have considered requiring drug tests for those receiving government assistance, including Florida, which began requiring drug tests of welfare applicants on July 1.

Workforce Development Commissioner Mark Everson says Indiana's change reflects the state's economic realities and also some frustration from business owners, who've questioned why drug users should be participating in the job training program when they won't pass workplace drug screening.

"Why should we invest in that individual? They're less likely to complete their training if they're using drugs," Everson said. "We want to help people who are motivated to get jobs. They can't get a job if they're using drugs."

Indiana's new policy gives people applying for job training one business day to undergo a urinalysis test at a site approved by the state. Tests will be conducted for marijuana, cocaine, opiates, the hallucinogen PCP and amphetamine and methamphetamine.

Those who pass the test will be reimbursed the $35 cost of the test. Those who fail will not be reimbursed and are not eligible for job training for 90 days. A second failure makes a person ineligible for job training for a year.

Failing a test will not affect unemployment benefits.

Everson said the state is confident the requirement will pass constitutional muster despite court challenges in other states. Michigan briefly required drug tests for welfare recipients in 1999, but the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit. A federal judge ordered the tests stopped, and a federal appeals court in Cincinnati later ruled the law unconstitutional.

Indiana already is in court over a sweeping school voucher law, efforts to cut Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood and its new illegal immigration law.

"When we looked at this, we determined this was allowable," Everson said.

Ken Dau-Schmidt, an IU professor of labor and employment law, isn't so sure. He thinks the requirement violates the Fourth Amendment's guarantee against unreasonable searches.

The state argues that private employers require drug tests, but Dau-Schmidt said those employers aren't governed by the Fourth Amendment. The state is, and drug tests are considered searches under existing law, he said.

Dau-Schmidt said courts have ruled that drug tests generally are only allowed in cases where there is some risk or expectation of harm, such as in the cases of truck drivers or train operators.

"To just take a person who is a trainee, I'm having trouble seeing the reasonableness of the search," he said. "They may get away with it. They could say there's no right to job training, so therefore it's a voluntary waiver when you go into it, so you're not actually giving up anything. But that seems a stretch."

Many of those visiting a WorkOne unemployment office in South Bend recently said they supported the new policy.

Debra Loprete, who was laid off from her job as a special education teacher in South Bend more than a year ago, said she was informed she would need to be tested for drugs if she wanted the state to pay for a class on autism.

"I told them I have no problem with that," she said. "I have nothing to hide. I'll be glad to take a drug test."

David De La Rosa, a 59-year-old from Mishawaka who was laid off from his maintenance job 18 months ago, said he doesn't want to work next to someone who's using drugs.

"It's not safe for you and it's not safe for the people around you," he said.

Everson said he proposed the drug testing change because employers frequently complained that people coming out of training programs were failing drug tests.

Tom Easterday, executive vice president at Subaru of Indiana Automotive, thinks the new rule is a good idea.

"You have to have a very strong work ethic to succeed in today's manufacturing and a lot of other industries, and strong work ethic goes with not using drugs," he said.

Everson said the program will cost the state between $300,000 and $400,000 a year, depending on how many people take the test. He said the money is worth it to make sure people who are motivated to get jobs are receiving the training.

"Why should we give one person the benefit of the training if they're going to fail a drug test and not get a job and deny it to another person who is clean and would get the job? That just doesn't make sense to us," he said.


  • Screwing the Poor
    Why is it only the poor need to be drug tested, when the majority of real crimes (non-victimless) are committed by the wealthy. A person can be an alcoholic and pass a drug test, then go into work, be drunk and get fired. The only people this will keep from getting the help they need is a marijuana smoker that is poor and can't afford the fake urine for the test. Pills last about 7 days in your system, meth about 3-5 days, and marijuana at least 30 days. Why should any of you care what someone does when they get home? I say we drug test the "job creators", maybe they are not creating any jobs because of using cocaine, smoking rock, or just drinking and forgetting. Prohibition didn't work with alcohol and it will not work with drugs, control it and help those whom need the help, don't punish someone for an addiction that they cannot deal with.
  • To Jason Gillispie
    Jason, the state cannot require drug testing for Welfare recipients because, legally, Welfare IS a right (specifically an entitlement), and not a privilege. That's also the reason why the state cannot terminate someone's Welfare benefits without a hearing first. So requiring a drug test before Welfare benefits are paid out would be like requiring a drug test before firefighters would put out a person's burning house, or requiring a drug test before allowing a high school student to receive public education, or requiring a drug test before allowing a person to vote in an election.
  • read icculus
    Who is the genious who came up with this idea? The taxpayers are going to pay hundreds of thousands to drug test even though you can walk into any "head shop" in Indianapois and purchase clean urine? Brilliant!
  • Testing for drugs
    How about drug testing multibillionaires and multimillionaires who demand taxpayer welfare. How many would pass?
  • Drugtesting?
    The two most dangerous and lethal drugs in our society are still legal? Many more people die violent deaths every year from alcohol than all other illegal and illegally used drugs combined. Tobacco is still the leading cause of preventable illnesses.

    Yet for whatever reason, these yahoos want testing to see if someone has some pot in their urine because they might be a danger to society. Talk about having misplaced priorities.
  • Education is a right
    Sorry, but education in Indiana IS a right.

    Article 8 "Section 1. Knowledge and learning, general diffused throughout a community, being essential to the preservation of a free government; it should be the duty of the General Assembly to encourage, by all suitable means, moral, intellectual scientific, and agricultural improvement; and provide, by law, for a general and uniform system of Common Schools, wherein tuition shall without charge, and equally open to all."
  • Thanks
    Thank you for your comment. I thought I was the only one... :)
  • penny wise
    Perfect solution applied by a flawed system will create unforeseen negative consequences. Until proven otherwise this is actually an expenditure that will cost at least $300k (as stated in the article) and will not save any money, but will certainly accidently exclude some participants that have not engaged in any illegal drug use. People with little life experience and no understanding of how bueracracies operate will applaud, but this is nothing to celebrate.
    • not good
      you thank it a good idea but did you know that if your dr give you meds and you do not pass there drug test then you cant get the help you need.does that mean every one who may be on meds is a drug abuse.go look in you bath room and see how many of you would not pass a drug test
    • AMEN
      I couldn't agree more!!! I work in staffing and the number of people who can't pass a drug screen is SHOCKING!
    • Agree and more
      I agree that people seeking job training should be drug tested and those that fail should not get the training. However, what about those of us that have been unemployed for over a year and can't afford the $35 fee? I understand that it will be reimbursed, but how long does that take? I can't afford to hope for a check for more than a week! That is a big part of our budget as it is!! We live on less than $700 cash and $200 foodstamps and that is not enough! Workforce Development (WorkOne) isn't helping me find a job. Temp agencies tell me "We'll put you on our list as available." I have put in hundreds of applications over the past year and have yet to get even a part-time job! I will GLADLY take a drug test every day if I could actually have a job! For those that think people on public assistance and disability get too much, try living on a total of $874 a month for a year to pay for EVERYTHING! See how far behind you get!
    • 4th Amendment--Not A Problem
      A person on Probation or Parole, as a condition of it, voluntarily surrenders their 4th Amendment rights. Furthermore, another condition of these items is to secure employment AND stay drug free. This is NOT a bad thing. One other thing...a person on such conditions can be searched or tested at any time by a Probation Officer or a Parole Agent. Ken Dau-Schmidt needs to remember that probationers and parolees are part of the job search process as well. This is a win-win to let them know that government and courts ARE serious!
    • Makes sense
      I for one am tired of dishing out help to those who only want to abuse the system that is tring to help them. Drug test everyone that gets anything or help from someone else.
    • finally
      ...I do not remember reading anywhere in the bill of rights that you were "entitled" to job training. If a person wants a better paying job they should be willing to comply with some very 'LEGAL" rules to get the needed job training. the last I knew all of the tested for drugs are listed as illegal and in my opinion should make the test very legal and in fact should mark the failed applicant ineligible for unemployment benefits as well until they can pass the test. My reason for this is that to get unemployment benefits a person has to be able to take a job and if you cant pass a drug test you are not able to work. I am glad to be from INDIANA and would gladly take the test for a better job.
      • more tests please!
        Last time I checked, there was no "right to job training" listed in the Bill of Rights. Don't want to get tested? Don't apply for job training or unemployment-problem solved! There are not god given rights to jobs, homes, cars, and cell phones. If you want them, you need to earn them with a job. If that means putting down the bong or the crack pipe to get trained, then that is a responsibility you must take. Time to grow up and act like adults-from the looks of some of the posters here, job training applicants aren't the only ones who need drug testing, there are a lot of others who are obviously high all the time..............
      • welfare and drug testing
        AMEN to that one! I know so many people receiving welfare that spend that money on booze, drugs, smokes and then go around begging at the food pantry's for food for their kids. I say do random drug testing and if it is positive, have them follow the same rules as the testing for state training program. Go Indiana!
      • AMEN
        I agree, the welfare I believe have more than my famiy. They get to have their nails done and there kids get to participate in sports and activities that I can't afford for my own children and we are struggling. It is very depressing to know that we are just trying to stay afloat and others are just out having a grand ole time. Seems like they should have to pass some tests to to have welfare also. Show proof they are looking for jobs on a weekly basis. Because what I see are kids coming from welfare families are also then on welfare. Just saying. But, yes unemployment should put the hammer down also that if they are not passing the test for class how are they going to pass a test for a job. Their unemployment should be declined if this is a factor.
      • welfare reform first
        Seems we need to drug test welfare recipients FIRST. They can't get job training if their on drugs, but they can sit home and do NOTHING and receive the working person's tax dollars. I work in health care and I am subject to random drug screens. Not sure who's been living in the stone age...all health care personnel are subject to drug screens.
      • Nurse and drugs
        I am an RN and there are so many safety nets in place now it is almost impossible for anyone to take or obtain drugs for their own use. I have never understood why anyone that worked their butts off for 4 years to get a license would ever take the chance of taking drugs and lose everything they worked for. That is insane! And, if there is any suspicion of them taking drugs, management can always test them without their permission or be terminated.
      • Wrong People
        I always wondered why the people with the most access to drugs don't have to be tested.I think medical personnel and law enforcement should absolutely have to be randomly tested.They have a greater responsibility than anyone. Common sense doesn't seem to be the politicians strong suite.
        • drug test
          provide both drug treatment/training. the problem is drug producing places. B-52 will destroy the plants, which will slow the shipments, which will drive the price higher so many people cant afford.
        • what a mess we as a nation have become
          I know if they don't get obesity and drug addiction under control,down the road, there will be no one physically/mentally fit to protect and serve our county. I also know, my former employer had to interview/drug test 24 applicants to find 4 whom could pass a drug test. Sad but true
        • What The ????
          What the heck is it about Indiana lawmakers? Why is it that these people can not ever come up with truly effective and unbiased laws? Drug testing??? Are you serious??? How much is that gonna cost? Its like this no alcohol on Sundays law... these people need to be voted out & replaced by people that really serve & represent the population.
        • right
          I think your last implication is absolutely correct. The following formula applies:

          Big Business + Big Government = Big Brother
        • Waste of Money
          Any good drug user knows how to pass a drug test. So this $300 - $400,000 is just a waste of time. Unless you have a camera or person in there with the testee, you can't prove it's even their urine. And you would have to have it pointed at just a particular angle to really know the truth. Since the courts would definitely stop this, drug testing using urine analysis is wasting the tax payer money. If you aren't going to use hair follicles, the test will prove nothing. I just wonder who's really behind this - say, maybe the labs doing the testing, is that the "business" promoting the need for it?
          • Fine Establishment Indeed, Zak
            Zak, since when is a drug house a "fine establishment?" Secondly, since drug houses aren't listed in the Yellow Pages, how do you even know where they are?
          • This is the answer!
            While the solution may seem "radical".

            The US has been here before (prohibition) and discovered the answer.

            We can do it again.

          • essential liberty
            They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
          • costing more?
            Now days you can go to the store and pick up some fake urine. I just wonder if these drug test might cost more than the people they will cut from the programs. I know some people are stupid or ignorant to this but most arent. Also will they be given another chance to redeem themselves or banned from these programs for good?
            • drug dangers
              Since when are taking illegal drugs not breaking the law? There are many instances when there have been workplace killings by someone on drugs because their reasoning ability is impaired. I just lost a very good friend who was killed by someone who couldn't control himself because the other one got a promotion. Then he killed himself. Do you think that might not have happened if there were not drugs involved? Many innocent people have lost their lives because of illegal drug use. I don't like to see my hard earned tax dollars being wasted. I say test them all. The people who are clean have nothing to worry about.
              • AGREED!
                you wont get this passed becouse the spineless,lyeing magot poloticians in charge want the welfare recipients vote!! sooo much abuse and scam on the day that these "people" receive thier entitlements.... CAN U SAY BLING BLING AS IN NAILS SALONS AND DRUG HOUSES?? look for yourself at these fine establishments on the very day the gov gives out the checks/ebts and food stamps!
                • The reason for the american revolution
                  Warrentless searches incidently along with taxation without representation was one of the primary reasons for the american revolution and was there fore one of the cornerstones of our constitution and I wonder if some high court somewhere supreme or otherwise told us our freedom of speech was unconstitutional would you fall in line or stand your ground and draw the line!
                  • Joke
                    They need to test those who are working with the state and government. My opion is they are the ones that needs to be tested, and this law proves it.
                  • A flawed rule enforcing a flawed test
                    Using this drug testing as a system to keep out people who use drugs is a joke and a travesty of justice. In the first place anyone who is a regular drug user already knows how to beat the test. The other problem is the most common tests used such as the urine test is only 97% accurate meaning 3% of the people are being unjustly denied services they are entitled to and guess what? How do we know the tests are even this accurate? Well because the people that make the machines that do these tests tell us so. To date... no government agency has bothered to question or even investigate the validity of these claims.
                    This brings to mind a quote by one of the authors of our constitution.. Ben Franklin
                    When a people or government sacrifices it's liberty for security it deserves neither!!!
                  • 4th amendment??!?
                    Ken Dau-Schmidt must not be up with the times...4th amendment isn't applicable in Indiana.

                    Police entry at any time (IN supreme court)...Warrantless searches (US Supreme Court).... all perfectly legal

                    If the State can do these, they can do drug tests on anyone/anytime
                    • Drug Wars
                      Conservative creature that I am, I am all for protecting employers from bad apple employees. You have to learn how to hire and fire, BUT drug testing is a violation of individual rights if no crime has been committed or there is no reasonable cause to test. I am a school bus driver and we should be tested as often as we are, because public safety is at stake. But the guy who brooms the bus terminal is not putting anyone at risk, and I think we are just getting a little too hysterical over this stuff.
                    • minimal
                      its amazing they are wanting people to be free of drugs for these minimal paying jobs that they cant live on to begin with, I say we run atest on the politicians and the Govs wife while we are at it! And even tricky Mitch! You know he used to be a drug dealer!!!
                    • The drug war. 30 years, 90 billion dollars
                      from the article...."The state argues that private employers require drug tests...".
                      Thankfully the state is wrong. Not all employers require a drug test. I would not work for an employer that did. Sure, it might take me a bit longer to find good, well-paying employment. But thats fine. Because I have not compromised ethics.
                      "will cost the state between $300,000 and $400,000 a year"
                      Nice! Throw good money after bad.
                    • Good Idea
                      If Indiana can require drug testing for job training, then why can it not require drug testing for welfare payments. Welfare is funded by the tax dollars of hardworking hoosiers, so why can we not insist on drug testing? If someone does not want to be tested, they have that right, but they should give up their claim for welfare money. After all, welfare is not a right, but a privilege, afforded to some by the hard work of others.

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