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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Drug test everyone, or drug test no one

I just finished reading, very closely, the description of the arrest of a NCSO deputy. The entire arrest, and investigations were of drug possession, and use. A remark by Sheriff DeMeo caught my attention, and it addressed the county’s refusal to fund drug testing. That caused me to go back a few legislative sessions, and remember the discussions that Bill Raggio and I got into over drug testing of all public service employees, elected or appointed. He indicated that there is a law that prevents drug testing of legislators. He never addressed others in government. I later had a discussion with Kenny Guinn, as former governor. I mentioned the drug testing of our legislators as an area to be be surveyed to explain some of the really dumb ideas that come out our legislature. He responded, “Wayne, you should see them at lunch time.” He made an excellent point.

In the private sector, all potential employees are required to submit to a drug and alcohol test prior to being hired. In the mid-80’s, I was offended by the blanket charge of suspicion of drug or alcohol use, absent probable cause and a warrant. We, in the private sector, live with the drug testing. We don’t have to like it, and we are at a disadvantage to overturn the unwarranted testing.

I mention probable cause, for that was written into work rules and contracts, and was quite successful in catching someone that was working at diminished capacity.

The public sector, on the other hand, has no drug testing: the governor, all elected public servants, judge, attorney general, districts attorney, all law enforcement (NHP &counties), all hourly exempt employees. Their position (not stated by DeMeo) is that the drug testing implies that they are using drugs. They are offended by the implication. That has a familiar ring to it, for that is what I said 30+ years ago, when this was just getting started.

Based on the attitude of the Legislature of the State of Nevada, all drug testing, in the private sector should face legislation prohibiting drug or alcohol testing absent probable cause. Until such time that equal protection under the law is practiced, then no drug testing should be forced on anyone in the State of Nevada.

Wayne P. Brotherton, Sr.

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