Feds looking for more druggies, try to mandate random hair follicle testing of truckers
By Martin Hill
November 4, 2013

Urine testing is inadequate to determine drug use, according to a U.S. Congressman and Senator who have introduced 'The Drug Free Commercial Trucking Act of 2013' companion bills which would allow the random testing of hair follicles for commercial truck drivers.

Senators Mark Pryor (D. AR) and John Boozman (R. AR) introduced S. 1625, "to recognize hair as an alternative specimen for pre-employment and random controlled substances testing of commercial motor vehicle drivers and for other purposes." The bill, introduced on October 30, was referred to the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. The two Senators claim that they will "improve the safety of Arkansas's roads and highways by eliminating a hurdle in the commercial trucking industry's pre-employment drug screening process."

Congressman Rick Crawford of Arkansas introduced a complementary bill, H.R. 3403, in the House of Representatives. Information can be found at thomas.loc.gov. If passed, the bill will "allow motor carriers to use hair testing as a method of detecting the use of controlled substances by operators of commercial motor vehicles, and for other purposes." The four Cosponsors are Reps Tom Cotton, Tim Griffin, Reid Ribble, and Steve Womack.

Senator Pryor's press release stated, in part,

"Under current procedures in the commercial trucking industry, urinalysis is the only accepted method of drug and alcohol testing. Unfortunately, urinalysis is often less effective in detecting substance abuse, with only a 2-3 day window of detection, than hair testing, which provides a 60-90 day window. For example, from March 2008-June 2012, Schneider National's pre-employment drug testing data found 120 prospective drivers failed the urine test, while 1,400 applicants had drug-positive hair test results. This discrepancy is causing many trucking companies to take on additional costs by paying for both methods of testing. The Drug Free Commercial Trucking Act of 2013 would instruct the U.S. Department of Transportation to recognize hair testing as alternative option to give companies greater flexibility when conducting drug and alcohol testing.
"...Advanced uniform drug testing requirements for trucking companies will help cut costs, spur economic growth and improve safety on our roads,” Boozman said. "Hiring drivers who lead a drug-free lifestyle is good for the industry and other drivers who share the roads. It makes sense to have the most accurate drug tests available and the ability to share those results among the industry. This bill is a win-win situation for the trucking industry, law enforcement, and the safety of Arkansas families. By keeping drug addicted drivers from behind the wheel of rigs across the country, we can reduce liability costs while preventing accidents to keep our roads and highways safer..."
In reality, hair follicle testing is far from "the most accurate drugs test," according to the government itself, which currently does not allow the Department of Transportation to use hair tests. There are many additional sources casting doubt on the reliability and appropriateness of hair testing.

Dr. Edward J. Cone, PH.D. served as the Acting Chief of the Clinical Pharmacology Branch, Intramural Research Program, National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), (one of the research Institutes of the National Institutes of Health). He testified before Congress on the matter, explaining:
"The use of hair as a biological material for drug testing has received much attention over the last decade. While the technology of hair testing has progressed rapidly, there remain several highly controversial aspects of hair testing yet to be worked out. First and probably foremost, it is unclear how drugs enter hair... The possibility of drug entry from sweat and/or the environment are particularly troubling since this allows the possibility of false positives if an individual's hair absorbs drugs from the environment or from another person's drug-laden sweat. Another controversial issue in hair analysis is the interpretation of dose and time relationships. Although it has been generally assumed that segmental analysis of hair provides a record of drug usage, studies with labeled cocaine have not supported this interpretation. At best, only limited dose and time relationships were found. Other controversial issues that remain unresolved are the possibility of bias based on hair color and texture, appropriate means of differentiating drug users' hair from environmentally contaminated hair, appropriate applications of hair testing and the feasibility of hair testing for marijuana usage.
"Despite the controversial nature of some aspects of hair testing, this technique is being used on an increasingly broad scale in a variety of circumstances. In addition, the time record of drug use available from hair is considerably longer than any other biological materials currently being employed for drug testing... A potential disadvantage of hair analysis would be its inability to detect recent drug usage because of slow growth rate. However, this has not been thoroughly investigated. Recent evidence suggests that drug excretion in sweat is an important route of drug entry into the hair. This allows for the possibility that drug could appear in the hair within hours of drug administration."

Hair tests are several times more expensive than urine tests and test positive more than twice as often as a urine tests. Erowid.org notes "cocaine, although very easy to detect, is able to migrate along the shaft; making it very difficult to determine when the drug was used and for how long... Hair/follicle tests as of 2011 are able to detect use for months (sometimes more than a year) after use."

Cannabisnews.com reports

"There's little doubt that hair testing can catch more drug users than urine testing. Out of more than 700 job applicants, one company found 2.7 percent positives with urinalysis tests. When hair tests were used on the same group, 18 percent came up positive. As hair testing makes more inroads, there are worries that it may sometimes point the finger at innocent people, such as children of drug abusers or police working narcotics details, who may be exposed to drugs without taking them. A scientist with the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington said he's found that hair tests on young children of cocaine-using moms often come up positive. He speculates that small traces of the drug get onto the children's fingers or those of the mother and finds its way inside their hair follicles via perspiration. Another concern is that drug traces might last longer in thick, dark hair. "Black hair seems to accumulate far more cocaine than light-brown or blond hair," said Edward J. Cone of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. There's a "good possibility," he said, that "ethnic groups with dark hair are going to test positive for the drug more often." "Hair testing may turn out to have a complementary role in workplace testing," said Robert Stevenson, deputy director of the Workplace Programs Division of the federal Center for Substance Abuse Prevention."But we have yet to resolve remaining questions about its fairness and the ability to interpret results consistently."

The ACLU and Drug Policy Alliance have outlined that hair testing is:

"Expensive; Cannot detect alcohol use; Will not detect very recent drug use; The test is discriminatory: darkhaired people are more likely to test positive than blondes, and African Americans are more likely to test positive than Caucasians; Passive exposure to drugs in the environment, especially those that are smoked, may lead to false positive results; Students can outsmart the drug test. Students who fear being caught by a drug test may find ways to cheat the test, often by purchasing products on the Internet. A quick Internet search for "pass drug test" yields nearly four million hits, linking students to websites selling drug-free replacement urine, herbal detoxifiers, hair follicle shampoo and other products designed to beat drug tests. Students may also try dangerous home remedies. The president of the school board for Guymon, Oklahoma, described a frantic parent who had caught her daughter drinking bleach; the district's drug testing program was subsequently abandoned. In one Louisiana school district, students who were facing a hair test shaved their heads and body hair, making a mockery of the drug testing program."
The ACLU also notes "Students learn that they are guilty until proven innocent. Students are taught that under the U.S. Constitution people are presumed innocent until proven guilty and have a reasonable expectation of privacy. Random drug testing undermines both lessons; students are assumed guilty until they can produce a clean urine sample with no regard for their privacy rights."

The Chicago Tribune reported "Though drug testing using hair samples has been done for decades, its accuracy has been in dispute. The National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Food and Drug Administration have characterized such tests as unreliable...Dr. Peter Orris, the director of the Occupational Health Services Institute at the University of Illinois at Chicago's School of Public Health, agreed that hair testing can be flawed. He said urine tests are more reliable."

Yahoo answers notes "Hair labs can detect just trace amounts of drug metabolites. You are not going to be able to find any hair detoxification product that can be guaranteed to work 100% of the time. Do not waste your time looking because it does not exist. See if you can find a product called Precision Cleanse or Afterburner. Both are hair detoxification products and not masking agents. Neither guarantees a 100% pass but success results are about 90%. And, it doesn't come cheap. Plan on spending between $140 - $190, depending on length of your hair."

The feds have recently passed more restrictive rules mandating breaks for truckers even though they violate the rules they already have. A newly proposed House bill will reverse the recently passed FMCSA rules, which are viewed as destructive and unnecessary to the industry. On Twitter, Pryor remarked that his new hair follicle bill would "give trucking biz certainty to expand & secure safety of roads." In reality, the ever-expanding 'homeland security state' has not made Americans more safe at all, and neither will intrusive and unnecessary laws such as this one.

Intro bill w @JohnBoozman @RepRickCrawford to give trucking biz certainty to expand & secure safety of roads. Read: http://t.co/MZRyWSvJj7

— Senator Mark Pryor (@SenMarkPryor) October 31, 2013

Martin Hill is a Catholic paleoconservative and civil rights advocate. His work has been featured in the Los Angeles Daily News, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, The Orange County Register, KNBC4 TV Los Angeles, The Press Enterprise, LewRockwell.com, WhatReallyHappened.com, Infowars.com, PrisonPlanet.com, Economic Policy Journal, FreedomsPhoenix, Haaretz, TMZ, Veterans Today, Jonathan Turley blog, The Dr. Katherine Albrecht Show, National Motorists Association, RomanCatholicReport.com, AmericanFreePress.net, WorldNetDaily, OverdriveOnline.com, Educate-Yourself.org, Dr. Kevin Barrett's Truth Jihad radio show, Strike-The-Root.com, ActivistPost.com, Los Angeles Catholic Lay Mission Newspaper, KFI AM 640, IamtheWitness.com, Redlands Daily Facts, BlackBoxVoting, The Michael Badnarik Show, The Wayne Madsen Report, Devvy.com, Rense.com, The Contra Costa Times, Pasadena Star News, Silicon Valley Mercury News, Long Beach Press Telegram, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, L.A. Harbor Daily Breeze, CopBlock.org, DavidIcke.com, Whittier Daily News, KCLA FM Hollywood, The Fullerton Observer, Antiwar.com, From The Trenches World Report, and many others. Archives can be found at LibertyFight.com and DontWakeMeUp.Org.

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