bird icon for twitter

Pissed off about Drug Testing

by Ballard Quass, the Drug War Philosopher

August 8, 2020

'm glad that I managed to escape the indignity of drug testing when I was young, although I'm sure there are Drug Warriors out there right now who are trying to come up with ways that elderly freelancers like myself can be drug-tested as well.

When I was a teenager, the major injustice of the hiring process involved having a rent-a-cop test you to see if you were lying - and I lost at least one job that way, not because I was lying but because the whole scientistic process of the "lie detector" test made me extremely nervous (with wires everywhere and a community college freshman taking notes like he's some kind of Einstein carefully crunching numbers to determine my precise level of personal integrity). Plus, I have a habit of overthinking questions. ("Have you ever stolen anything?" Do they mean as an adult? What if I stole from my little sister in grade school? "Have you ever lied?" What exactly constitutes a lie? Am I lying if I don't even realize it at the time?) And it turns out that this habit of overthinking things brings about the same physiological symptoms that the second-rate Einstein associates with lying.

That's why you never saw me behind the counter of a convenience store in Gloucester, Virginia, in the late 1970s: because some rent-a-cop pegged me as a shady character thanks to the magic of American pseudoscience.But I had it easy compared to kids of today: they have to face the blatantly unconstitutional indignity of drug testing, which enforces the Christian Science theological doctrine that human beings must not use "drugs," but rely only on faith instead.

Bullcrap. I would end up starving if I had to start my career today. No way am I going to urinate so that young amoral lab technicians can find out if I've been using plant medicines of which politicians disapprove. None of their blankety-blank business.

In a sane world, someone would be "outing" these lab technicians who are in the business of ruining the lives of Americans merely because they demand the same rights that everyone in the world had prior to 1914: the right to use the plants and fungi that grow at our very feet. But these amoral pseudoscientists no doubt get fancy benefit packages thanks to their daily efforts to ruin American lives for no reason whatsoever.

Funny, back in the '80s, when Bush and Reagan did everything they could to demonize this boogieman scapegoat that they called "drugs" - including the Stalinist practice of asking kids to turn in their parents should they use substances of which politicians disapproved - the very few who protested this injustice were considered crazy spoilsports. What's wrong with making sure that everybody is straight and sober and a good Christian, after all?

The problem, of course, is that I have a right to the plants and fungi that grow at my very feet. This is my birthright as an American under the natural law upon which Jefferson founded this country. That's why Jefferson spun in his grave in 1987 when the DEA marched onto Monticello in jackboots and confiscated the ex-president's poppies, in a blatant coup against the very concept of natural law. And who says "drugs" are bad in any case? A psychoactive substance gave birth to the Vedic religion and the psychedelic Eleusinian mysteries were the most important event in the lives of such western heroes as Cicero and Plato.

Moreover, there has never been any proof that the drugs for which one is tested actually conduce to poor work behavior.

To the contrary, Sigmund Freud used cocaine to improve his work performance, in the same way that Benjamin Franklin and Francis Crick used opium and psychedelics respectively to improve theirs. If work behavior was a factor, then drug-testers would blacklist the users of Big Pharma dope such as SSRIs, which are highly addictive and lead to anhedonia, a lack of feelings, which is not exactly a good employee trait, at least in the service industry. Meanwhile, responsible marijuana use and the use of Ecstasy actually lead to more friendly employees: which in a sane world would be considered a good thing.

But the Drug War is all about judging folks by the substances that they have in their digestive systems, rather than by the way that they actually behave in life. That's why the Drug War is a recipe for endless violence - a fact that conservatives love, because it lets them steer public debate off of bad social policies (like the Drug War itself) and indulge in militarizing the police and cracking heads of political opponents, both at home and abroad. How? Through tyrannical laws that guarantee that the police, the Army and the DEA have carte blanche to be as mean as they wanna be. Far from decrying this trend, Americans cheer it on. They flock to drug-war movies, like Ancient Romans flocking to Gladiator fights, applauding as the DEA agents on screen hang Latino "drug suspects" from meat hooks and shoot them dead in cold blood.

This is the kind of world that we create when we fight a boogieman called "drugs" instead of dealing with the real social problems, like the Drug War itself, which lies about drugs (falsely claiming that they fry the brain) and then limits our access to plant medicines to the point where only the most addictive and dangerous substances are available on the black market - a black market created out of whole cloth by the Drug War, complete with worldwide gangs and cartels and omnipresent government corruption thanks to the great financial temptation that prohibition dangles before the unscrupulous bureaucrat.

And we haven't even gotten to the part where the Drug War blocks research on godsend psychoactive substances that hold the promise of curing Alzheimer's, beating depression, and helping hospice patients make their peace with death.

For these reasons and many more, I would "just say no" to drug testing were I transformed into a teenager at this very moment, destined to live my life again.

At least I hope I would. Mind you, I can't blame young people for docilely acceding to drug testing, even though it represents the extrajudicial enforcement of Christian Science Sharia. The government message to Americans, after all, is: comply or starve.

But someone's got to start pushing back.

Back in 1732, Polish nobleman Tadeusz Retjan collapsed in front of the door of his country's Parliament building to protest the partitioning of Poland among the Russians, the Prussians, and the Austrians. His message to his fellow deputies: "you will destroy our Motherland over my dead body." Unfortunately, he was the only one to complain against the apparent fait accompli: everyone else was too scared or too demoralized to resist the aggressors. But Poles remember Retjan to this day while the names of the other deputies have faded into obscurity.

Where are the modern Retjans that will actually say what so many of us know in our heart of hearts: that the Drug War is a canard, an excuse to ignore social problems and to militarize the world - and that drug testing is the extrajudicial enforcement of Christian Science sharia, thus the establishment of a religion and the overthrow of the natural law upon which America was founded?

I can't ask young readers to "play the Retjan" and spoil their job chances by refusing drug testing. Perhaps, though, we freedom lovers (we fans and would-be avengers of the trampled rights of Thomas Jefferson) can find a creative way to fight back.

Here's an idea: the next time you're asked for a urine sample, submit that sample along with a signed copy of this essay (warning: you'll still be taking a chance, of course, since the employer may be so mean-spirited as to disqualify you for a job merely because you dared to protest the corrupt status quo):

Dear ______:

I am providing this urine sample under protest since I do not believe that this business has the constitutional right to demand it. My rationale for this action is explained in the essay above.

Sincerely Yours:

Author's Follow-up: August 9, 2022

I remember three decades ago now, when I was at a party and the topic of drug testing somehow was broached. A 60-year-old (then twice my age) told me that he had no problem with drug testing because, quote, he had "nothing to hide."

I had been so primed with Drug War ideology by that time that I really didn't know how to respond -- although I sensed that my aged interlocutor was full of crap. Besides, this was the 1980s, when American kids were proudly turning in their parents at the behest of the president because mom and pop were using botanical medicines of which government disapproved.

Today when I consider the oldster's response, I want to say with 20-20 hindsight:

"If they were checking for the drug called alcohol, old man, you'd have something to hide, all right."

Drug testing is an outrage because it essentially removes an American from the workforce for a non-crime -- without a trial, and with no way of appealing.

It demonstrates how easily America can find a pretense to strip citizens of their rights. Americans would be outraged if even a murderer was convicted without trial and without hope of appeal. But when Congress outsources drug testing to corporations, suddenly the denial of trial is gladly welcomed and embraced. Literally overnight, Americans lost their right to a fair trial. Moreover the punishment for this stealth conviction was cruel and unusual: namely, the loss of one's right to make a living in America.

And this is all based on the lie of the Drug War, which tells us that there is a class of substances which has no positive uses, for anyone, anywhere, under any circumstances whatsoever.


In truth, there are no substances of that kind. Even deadly botox has a use for some people in small doses.

Listen to "Urine Testers Wanted"...

Next essay: MDMA for Psychotherapy
Previous essay: How the Monticello Foundation betrayed Jefferson's Legacy in 1987

More Essays Here


Yeah. They drive to their drug tests in pickup trucks with license plates that read "Don't tread on me." Yeah, right. "Don't tread on me: Just tell me how and how much I'm allowed to think and feel in this life. And please let me know what plants I can access."
We don't need people to get "clean." We need people to start living a fulfilling life. The two things are different.

essays about

Testing Employee Urine for Fun and Profit
Drug Testing and the Christian Science Inquisition
Depressed? Here's why.
Surprise Drug Test!
The Joy of Drug Testing
The Joy of Drug Testing
Eight Reasons to End Drug Testing
Cup of Urine, Pissed By Me
To Pee or Not to Pee

front cover of Drug War Comic Book

Buy the Drug War Comic Book by the Drug War Philosopher Brian Quass, featuring 150 hilarious op-ed pics about America's disgraceful war on Americans

You have been reading an article entitled, Pissed off about Drug Testing published on August 8, 2020 on For more information about America's disgraceful drug war, which is anti-patient, anti-minority, anti-scientific, anti-mother nature, imperialistic, the establishment of the Christian Science religion, a violation of the natural law upon which America was founded, and a childish and counterproductive way of looking at the world, one which causes all of the problems that it purports to solve, and then some, visit the drug war philosopher, at (philosopher's bio; go to top of this page)