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Letting motorheads pass the urine test

I went to a job-interview at a bar-and-restaurant in Redmond Oregon, where the manager informed me that I would have to take a drug test as a part of the application process.

I never pursued that opportunity.

The use of drug-testing in a workplace had a special poignancy at this period of Central-Oregon industry, which was adapting to the decline of heavy factory milling of timber, and its economy in human physical work.

In the mills — or so I heard — the drug-testing process was biased in favor of the dangerous productivity-enhancing drugs and against the relatively benign cannabis. This was due to the human body's metabolism of these chemicals, and the elected method of employee notification.

A random surprise test, of course, would catch everybody who was high at the moment on any of the prime chemical suspects — uppers, downers, or smoke — or who had indulged quite recently. And there you were, dismissed on the spot.

But a scheduled urine test is a different matter. On brief notice, one can eliminate almost any drug by metabolizing it. Amphetamine, water-soluble, pisses out with liquids in which it is disolved. THC, fat-soluble, stays in your body for another several weeks. You're going to need more than an evening of abstinence.... You're busted, if you've smoked at any time recently.

For those who'd like you to work real, real hard, it's useful to allow a reasonable notice before testing. That will give the motorheads a chance to get cleaned out, and will keep them on the crew. The smoker, unlikely to be working as obsessively, is out of luck on the day of urine analysis.

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