Pubdate: Sun, 30 Jun 2013
Source: Times Daily (Florence, AL)
Copyright: 2013 Times Daily
Author: Mike Goens


A conversation the other day with a human resource director at a 
well-established local business revealed startling information that 
should not be ignored.

Perhaps we already knew it, but filed the information away under "it 
does not affect me today so I'm not worried."

Well, it's time to worry.

This human resource director is the point person for hiring for her 
company, and she was not in the best of moods on this particular day. 
She said she interviewed an applicant a day earlier. In her words, he 
was a perfect fit. He had the skills, a great attitude, appeared to 
be intelligent and eager to work.

The perfect fit abruptly changed when she received word the applicant 
failed the company's mandatory drug test. He was the fourth applicant 
within two weeks eliminated by a bad drug test.

This company is not alone. Others also are having difficulty at times 
in their efforts to hire new workers.

Like the human resource officer mentioned above, no one seems willing 
to discuss the problem publicly. Don't think for a second it's not a 
problem, though. There are many in-the-know people telling me the 
same thing. One uses the word "epidemic" to describe the matter.

As pointed out, many applicants have the necessary skills and 
intangibles employers seek, but drug tests are preventing the process 
from moving forward. Companies can't hire people who fail drug tests; 
the liability risks are enormous.

Companies are missing out on otherwise good workers and workers are 
missing out on good paychecks.

This issue is of great importance these days as the Shoals continues 
to land new companies, while others are expanding. Some worry we 
won't have enough people to fill those jobs, some of which pay more 
than $18 an hour.

Fortunately - assuming that is an appropriate word in such a pathetic 
situation - other cities nationwide are experiencing similar problems 
with their workforces. Frankly, we should be concerned about us and 
not everyone else right now.

Marijuana, meth, cocaine and other illegal drugs have a place in this 
discussion, but prescription pills are the biggest issue now. The 
problem is rampant and growing.

The issue goes well beyond the under-30 crowd, but there is some 
obvious neglect taking place. Parents need to be parents instead of 
trying to be their child's best friend. Someone has to set the tone 
early just as parents from my generation did without making excuses. 
We were taught to stay away from drug users, but today drug users are 
often the popular ones. Sadly, some parents are deep into drugs themselves.

Bottom line is people of all ages are not getting the message and 
don't respect the consequences, whether it's being disqualified for a 
job or something far worse.

It's a debate worth having now, at home or elsewhere. The fact is 
drugs are destroying lives and our community.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom