Dr. Blackwell's BLOG

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Despite Huge Cost to Taxpayers and Unconstitutionality, Scott Orders Drug Testing

Filed under: Politics — Dr. Christopher Blackwell @ 02:15

Florida is facing perhaps its largest budget shortfall in history; and it’s tough economic climate has constrained state dollars unlike ever before. However, although it is likely to cost the State of Florida millions of dollars and state and federal courts have already deemed it as unconstitutional, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed an executive order today mandating random and routine drug testing of state employees. With a workforce greater than 100,000 employees and a per test cost over $100, Florida taxpayers will spend millions of dollars per year to have every new hired employee screened at their time of hire and random testing for current employees will occur up to 4 times per year. Although Scott hailed the order as positive for the state, there is no documented evidence that drug-screening programs are effective at reducing substance abuse. Perhaps more importantly, there have been no factual data presented supporting that Florida’s state workers have higher rates of substance abuse that would warrant the screening. A great concern for resources, which are already stretched so thin, is the cost defending this order in court will cost Florida’s taxpayers. Courts have already ruled that mandatory drug testing for state and federal employees who do not directly impact public safety is a violation of the 4th Amendment of the US Constitution. Scott’s order equates to a very expensive, non-evidence based approach to solving a problem that is non-existent to begin with. Unfortunately, it will also be one that will drain financial resources from the state at a time when funds are at an all-time low.  Scott’s order shows that poor leadership has consequences beyond politics. When unemployment is at an all-time high and the state is operating at a major budget deficit, drug testing state employees is a poor choice of resource allocation and only further cripples Florida’s already ailing financial situation.

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