Drug Testing Industry’s Contributions to the Drug War

A very good article by Isabel Macdonald in The Nation: The GOP’s Drug-Testing Dragnet.

The article goes into depth how drug testing industry came about in part as a back-door method to go after marijuana users…

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.

And, once created, the industry developed a life of its own, spending lots of money to buy votes to keep drug testing profits flourishing.

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.

So many war profiteers. One of the big challenges we face in reform is taking on those who profit from the destruction of the drug war.

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