Last updated: June 5, 2023
Have you noticed that nearly everything you hear on the news these days adds a spin linking the story with undertones that involve racism? There are even those who say that employee drug testing falls under that narrative. The theory behind it is that it targets minorities—that’s ludicrous. Neither addiction nor drug testing is discriminatory.
We used the word “say” in the statement above about drug testing because, frankly, we have trouble believing that deep down in their hearts anyone can truly believe that rooting out someone with a drug problem can be linked to racism.
Millions of people—and it includes every race—are affected by drug and alcohol addiction here in the United States. The number of overdose deaths continues to rise each year.
It’s genetic—not racial
No one has ever discovered an “addiction gene.” So, it’s unknown whether or not every human is born genetically predisposed to forming an addiction. But, of the people who become addicted to drugs or alcohol, 50% of them are, indeed, born genetically predisposed to it. The other 50% become addicted to drugs or alcohol due to poor coping skills.
It’s in the genes
Numerous studies state that half of the people who suffer from drug or alcohol addiction are, indeed, born that way.
One study, focusing on alcohol addiction, was done between identical pairs of twins and non-identical (fraternal) twins. If one twin formed an addiction to alcohol, odds are the other twin did too. However, that wasn’t the case among fraternal twins. The results of the study showed the difference between the two to be between 50-60%.
Everyone is born with a genetic predisposition for addiction.
It’s hard-wired into our brains. It makes sense when you think about it from an evolutionary advantage. When an animal eats a certain food and likes it, the brain associates pleasure with that food. That way, when the animal sees the food again, it triggers the memory of something good. It also causes them to look specifically for that food when foraging.
Animals, people included, overindulge on their favorite foods when the pleasure sensor is pulsing. Food isn’t the only thing that sets it off though.
Even though everyone carries the genes to genetically predispose them to addiction, some are at higher risk than others. It’s wise to heed the age-old adage, “what you don’t know, can’t hurt you” where drugs and alcohol are concerned. If you never try them, you don’t run the risk of discovering that you are someone who forms immediate addictions.
In another study, it was determined that children of addicts are eight times more likely to develop addictions to drugs or alcohol during their lifetimes. That could be due to either genetic predisposition or poor coping skills.
People have a tendency to repeat the behavior patterns they observe as children.
Do what you need to make you feel better
People who use drugs or alcohol to bolster their courage when faced with uncomfortable situations—such as, someone suffering from anxiety, for instance—are likely to form an addiction as time passes.
Many don’t consider that they’re putting themselves in danger even when using drugs or alcohol socially for an extended length of time.
After a period of time—which ranges depending on both the personality type and the drug—the brain accepts the sensations it receives from ingesting the drug as being normal. When it doesn’t maintain the sensation, it alerts the body that something is wrong. That, in turn, triggers cravings and physiological side effects that can become life-threatening in extreme circumstances.
Disputing the claims
Despite recent reports touting drug testing as a display of racism, there are other studies that disagree.
In fact, a recent study by the Upjohn Institute for Employee Research concluded that it’s true. In the past minority groups—specifically, African Americans—were indeed discriminated against prior to the onset of drug testing in the workplace. Ultimately, the study findings contradict the outcry that there is still a problem today. In fact, its final conclusion showed that employee drug testing has actually helped African Americans since coming on the scene in the late 1980s.
In looking at drug testing data available from its onset, Upjohn determined that it has impacted African American hiring in a positive manner. The study concluded the following:
- Drug use rose steadily for all groups, including African Americans.
- African Americans were more likely than whites to be employed in the testing sector prior to the rise in drug testing. This fact is enough to cast doubt on the statistical discrimination assumption according to the Upjohn Institute.
- Overall, the research shows that drug testing has improved their access to jobs in large firms, with better benefits and higher wages.
While the Upjohn study focused on the African American community, it stands to reason that the same findings would apply to all races.
Drug addiction is destroying our nation
Employers drug test their employees for safety’s sake.
Drugs impair our ability to think clearly. They affect motor skills too. An employee, who is high on drugs, could cause an accident. Anyone who happens to be around them if one occurs is in danger too.
The National Safety Council (NSC) reported that, here in the United States, one out of every 11 workers had a substance use disorder within the last 12 months. That’s nearly 9% of us. The majority—6.7% to be specific—of the people in the study admitted having an alcohol disorder. It’s noteworthy to add that many suffering from an alcohol use disorder also abuse drugs though.
Also, there are specific types of businesses and regions of the country that struggle with acute methamphetamine and designer drug problems. Overall, though, marijuana and alcohol are having the largest impact on the workforce.
United we stand or united we fall
Drug addiction is affecting every people group—every community—in America. It doesn’t matter what color, how affluent, or poverty-stricken it may be.
Drug addiction, if it, indeed, had a mind of its own, would have the same goal in mind for all.
Seek and destroy.
Until we get behind that fact and all pull together, things aren’t going to change. In fact, as time passes, it seems we’re giving it ground.