Usage of drugs has somehow become a normal thing, tons of people do it in their free time. So, normally, drug abuse has become a number one concern of everyone, from parents and schools to employers. One of the highlights of 2023 has been the effort to make the usage of hard drugs not such a big deal anymore, followed by the legalization of marijuana in most of the states. These are some of the most talked and written about topics, Americans were considered to change and even voted for, besides the presidential elections that made a huge turnover.
Possessing drugs that were once considered to be a serious criminal offense first became ok in the state of Oregon. This meant that if by any chance you were caught having some cocaine in your pocket, you’re most likely not to be convicted. Of course, the amount has to be reasonable, and you would only have to pay a symbolic fine. This state was also the first one to legalize the usage of mushrooms for therapeutical purposes. Besides paying a fine, you could also be sent to an addiction treatment center, if you were assessed as a serious addict.
As Oregon was the first one to break the ice, this idea was soon after the topic in the House of Representatives. Congress passed a law on the decriminalization of cannabis at the national level!
The new law calls for the removal of cannabis from the list of substances under federal control and the deletion of certain federal criminal provisions. The law also supports new investments in communities that have been negatively affected by decades of “war with drugs”.
Just to have a clearer overview of what we’re talking about, here are some facts:
- One in three Americans currently lives in states where adult cannabis is allowed, despite a federal ban.
- Fifteen states and the District of Colombia have enacted measures or initiatives that enable recreational cannabis use by those over 21 years of age.
- The use of cannabis for medical purposes is allowed in 38 countries.
- In 2023 voters in three states – Arizona, Montana, and New Jersey – overwhelmingly approved measures to legalize recreational cannabis use.
- Mississippi voters supported the legalization of medical cannabis use.
- South Dakota, a traditionally conservative state, went down in history when voters there simultaneously supported initiatives for medical and recreational drug use.
What was the effect of all this? A major concern by almost everyone. Most of all, employers are struggling to figure out if their employees are using drugs, which can of course affect their performance at work. Therefore, many of them have introduced drug testing. If you leave in Texas, the rest of the article gives you useful information you should know about drug testing in this state.
Drug testing and employment
According to Health Street, there isn’t a single law that says this kind of testing is illegal. In short, if the employers find it important to test you whether you’re a job applicant or their employee, they are very much free to do so. It is up to their company policy. However, there is one thing they have to comply with, and it is your privacy and dignity. By no chance, their policy is to threaten these two.
There are certain professions that for safety reasons require testing. For example, if you’re working in transport industry, you are to be tested not only because of the company’s policy but also because of the federal laws. Since these professions require licensing, whether or not you will be issued one, depends also on the testing.
Prior to any test, you will be signing a consent saying the result will be reviewed by your employer. No need to mention how refusing to sign the consent can affect your future or current employment.
Drug testing and child protection
When talking about drug consumption, child abuse is a very important issue. And, according to the laws in this state, anyone who suspects child abuse in their vicinity must report it. After it was reported, the case will be further investigated by the CPS. If they find out that there is drug abuse involved, due to which the child has been neglected (deprived of food, medical care, abused physically), testing will be mandatory for investigation purposes.
The parent may refuse to be tested, but the Court will take this into consideration when it comes to custody over a child or children. However, if the parent manages to prove there is no drug abuse involved, custody will be returned as per the normal procedure.
If by now you’re wondering what kind of testing is mostly used, it is saliva and urine-based tests.
One interesting fact about testing in Texas is that newborn testing is not mandatory in this state. Such tests are only conducted under special circumstances, for example, if there’s a drug abuse risk, to detect the state of the baby. Another interesting fact is that usage of drugs during pregnancy is not a crime in this state. But if by any chance a mother loses a baby because of drug abuse, serious consequences are to be suffered. Even though a baby is not born, it is still considered to be child abuse.
Drug testing in the education sector
Most probably you have heard how some schools in the USA have decided to conduct drug testing, in order to try and decrease usage. In some areas, teachers are also the ones getting tested, in order to be able to work in education facilities. Since they are working with youth, it is kind of a normal thing. Not in Texas, however. No teacher will be tested before employment, or during if it is the district school. The only thing that will be done prior to employment in the educational sector is a background check. A different story is with local schools, though.
So, in the end, for most of the professions you choose to pursue in Texas, testing will be something you can expect to undergo, even though most other states have already banned this.