The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

January 1, 2013

A good idea

The Register-Herald

BECKLEY — Raleigh County Schools’ pre-employment, post-offer drug testing program is helping to ensure drug-free hires.

The program should serve as an example for other school systems — and businesses.

Anything that can be done to promote drug-free workplaces is a benefit to all of us. It’s another step in our battle against drug abuse as a whole.

We salute the Raleigh County school system for this practice.

Raleigh is ahead of the game, as Kanawha and Wyoming counties are the only others in West Virginia that require this type of pre-employment test.

In a recent Raleigh County board meeting, schools Safety Director Jennifer Colvin revealed that during November, the first month testing was implemented, two out of 30 potential employees failed the urine test. In December, one out of 14 failed, or nearly 7 percent across both months.

Personnel Director Dr. Emily Meadows also noted that an additional three potential employees offered a job refused to take the test within the time restrictions.

It was also pointed out at the meeting that, according to Department of Labor statistics, drug use in the workplace costs employers between $75 billion and $100 billion annually in lost time, accidents, health care and workers’ compensation expenses.

Being proactive by not hiring those who would test positive is an essential part of a good plan.

The very safety and well-being of our children is at stake when potential drug abusers are employed in our nation’s school systems.

From bus drivers, mechanics, teachers, maintenance and support personnel — who would want any of these positions filled with someone who has arrived for work impaired?

These are steps to prevent that from happening.

Before they cash their first county paycheck.

And, perhaps, before it becomes too late.