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Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 38,549

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the premise really is the elephant in the room

"I have to get drug tested for my job ..."

Up here in Canada, that premise does not apply. Unless there is some direct connection between the job and drug use (e.g. truck driving or air traffic controlling, where drug use is a safety hazard).

Here's an example - the Ontario Human Rights Commission's policy on drug testing:


The Code states that it is public policy in Ontario to recognize the inherent dignity and worth of every person and to provide for equal rights and opportunities without discrimination. The provisions of the Code are aimed at creating a climate of understanding and mutual respect for the dignity and worth of each person so that each person feels a part of the community and feels able to contribute to the community.

The OHRC recognizes that it is a legitimate goal for employers to have a safe workplace. One method sometimes used by employers to achieve that goal is drug and alcohol testing. However, such testing is controversial and, especially in the area of drug testing, of limited effectiveness as an indicator of impairment. It is not used to a significant degree anywhere in the world except in the United States (the “U.S.”).

It is the OHRC’s view that such testing is prima facie discriminatory and can only be used in limited circumstances. The primary reason for conducting such testing should be to measure impairment. Even testing that measures impairment can be justified only if it is demonstrably connected to the performance of the job; for example, if an employee occupies a safety-sensitive position, or after significant accidents or "near-misses," or if there is reasonable cause to believe that a person is abusing alcohol or drugs and only then as part of a larger assessment of drug and alcohol abuse. It is the OHRC’s view that by focusing on testing that actually measures impairment, especially in jobs that are safety sensitive, an appropriate balance can be struck between human rights and safety requirements, both for employees and for the public.

It seems to be a common phenomenon in the US for people to complain not that their own rights are being violated (or that they are not getting a benefit they deserve, for instance), but to attack people whose rights are being protected (or who are getting a benefit they deserve).

If someone feels that they are being mistreated by their employer by being required to undergo drug testing when there is no justification for it, why is that not the focus of their complaint, and why are they not trying to do something about that?

Of course, if they think their employer's drug testing is completely legitimate, even absent a safety concern for instance, then it sounds like they're in the crowd that thinks that if you don't have anything to hide, you don't need to worry about {wiretaps, internet privacy, airport body scans, suspensions of habeas corpus ...} -- i.e. they just don't really give a shit about other people's rights anyhow.

unfortunately, bankruptcy (and debt generally)

are not uncommonly factors in suicides.


Last week, a young father of two and a political candidate for office in Bristol, Connecticut committed suicide. He left behind a note which showed that he was concerned about his finances and wanted to avoid bankruptcy. The 38 year old had just started a new business and was facing difficulties in the current economy. In Berkeley, California, a 51 year old man killed his family and then himself in a murder-suicide. His note also indicated financial problems. The issue of financial problems leading to suicide range from college students buried in credit card debt and student loans to the elderly saddled with medical bills and decreased insurance coverage.

As noted there, people who commit suicide do not always kill only themselves. And the presence of firearms is particularly associated with suicide-homicide, since firearms provide the easiest and most effective way to kill other(s) and then one's self.


In a research specifically related to murder–suicide, Milton Rosenbaum (1990) discovered the murder–suicide perpetrators to be vastly different from perpetrators of homicide alone. Whereas murderer–suicides were found to be highly depressed and overwhelmingly men, other murderers were not generally depressed and more likely to include women in their ranks.[2] In the U.S. the overwhelming number of cases are male-on-female and involve guns.[3] Around one-third of partner homicides end in the suicide of the perpetrator. From national and international data and interviews with family members of murder–suicide perpetrators, the following are the key predictors of murder–suicide: access to a gun, a history of substance abuse, the male partner some years older than the female partner, a break-up or pending break-up, a history of battering, and suicidal ideation by the perpetrator.

Though there is no national tracking system for murder–suicides in the United States, medical studies into the phenomenon estimate between 1,000 to 1,500 deaths per year in the US,[4] with the majority occurring between spouses or intimate partners, males were the vast majority of the perpetrators, and over 90% of murder suicides involved a firearm. Depression, marital or/and financial problems, and other problems are generally motivators.

So unfortunately, other people may well be at risk in situations like the one you describe.

I hope people actually read your link re Canadian wait times

The context is:

Posted on June 25, 2009
Response to the Senator accusing Canada of having "staggering" wait times from Canadian Surgeon and Hospital Executive Dr. David Zelt

By Dr. David Zelt
The Kingston Whig Standard

Dr. David Zelt, chief of staff and vice-president, medical administration, at Kingston General Hospital, sent the following reply to McConnell.

and what he said was:

Your researchers have taken data and interpreted it incorrectly, with the result that your information is inaccurate.

Your statement to the Senate: “Today, the average wait time for (hip replacement) surgery at KGH is about 196 days.” In fact, our actual average hip replacement wait time is 91 days — less than half of what you stated.

Your statement to the Senate: “What about knee replacements? Well, at Kingston General, the average wait time is 340 days, or almost a year from the moment that the doctor says you need a new knee.” In fact, our average wait time for knee replacements is 109 days.

Three months' wait for a surgery for a non-life-threatening condition, from referral to surgery? When it is available to every resident of the province on equal footing? Is someone actually concerned about this?

I took my partner to the ER just before midnight on a Saturday night a couple of years ago because symptoms he was describing sounded to me like a retinal detachment. I was right. After two hours there and very complete examination, he was told to report to the eye clinic at the hospital in our city that is the designated in-patient eye surgery facility the next morning. He was admitted and had to wait all day for the surgery, because on a Sunday only two ORs were operating and he got bumped by every car accident and emergency caesarian section that came along. All in all, it was about 19 hours from ER arrival to surgery. It was emergency surgery, needed immediately to preserve his eye, and it was done immediately, and the wait time was mainly associated with it happening at midnight on a Saturday.

More from your link:

Your statement to the Senate: “And for cardiac bypass surgery, patients in Ontario are told they may have to wait six months for a surgery that Americans can often get right away.” In fact, the median wait time for cardiac surgery in Ontario is 16 days (32 days at KGH).

That is the median time. Half waited longer, half waited less time. Again, if the situation is an emergency, it is treated as such, and surgery is essentially immediate.

I'm wondering what your point was, too.

As I sit here with my third cast on the leg I broke just over three weeks ago, having had attention (ambulance, three consults, 3 sets of xrays, plaster cast) first in the ER, then a consult week later to decide whether to have surgery, then the surgery a week later to install a plate and screws and put on another temporary cast, then a consult a week later to examine the wound and replace the cast, then this week another set of xrays and maybe one of those air cast things ...

I was really quite pissed about spending nearly 8 hours in the ER the first time. Apparently I made the mistake of breaking my leg the same day half the city broke or dislocated something; two life-threatening orthopaedic emergencies, even (whatever they might be), I was told when I finally got pissy, while I and everybody else were waiting. And frankly I'm pissed about the two-week wait for surgery, when I was told at the ER it would be within a week. But really.

So far it has cost me $45 for a medically-necessary ambulance trip (waived if I were low-income or otherwise eligible), several taxi fares, and a total of maybe $50 for prescriptions. And a little under $100 for a private wheelchair rental for two months. I'll have a few more taxi fares for a few more hospital visits before it's over. So, about $400 out of pocket all told, all for incidentals.

I paid $750 last year for Ontario health insurance, at tax time, because I'm high-income. (That's the second-highest level; the previous year I paid the top rate, $900. The scale ranges from 0 for low-income to $900; people receiving social assistance and seniors also receive drug coverage.)

editing to note: I have these out of pocket expenses because I'm self-employed and do not purchase any supplemental insurance. If I worked for the government or an employer of any significant size, I would have private supplemental group insurance which would cover my prescriptions, taxis and wheelchair rental, possibly with some sort of annual deductible which would not be significant.
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