‘For the past 35 or so years, millions of American workers have had to submit to a humiliating, privacy-invading procedure to get or keep a job: the urine sample drug test. As hard as it may be to imagine now, it wasn’t always like that—and it isn’t like that in the rest of the world.
Thank the Gipper. Mass worker drug testing is yet another dark legacy of the Reagan era. The practice began taking off as a drug war adjunct after Reagan required it for federal employees in 1986 and Congress passed the Drug Free Workplace Act the same year. That law required any business receiving federal dollars to implement a drug testing program.
According to the American Management Association, 21% of employers required drug tests in 1987, but as the drug war deepened under Reagan and his 1990s successors, that figure jumped to 81% by 1996.’