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Feds Push for Hair Follicle Drug Testing Despite Known Racial Disparities in Results

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced that it is proposing to establish scientific and technical guidelines for the inclusion of hair specimens in the mandatory guidelines for federal workplace drug testing programs, regardless of their long-known racial disparities. Widely scrutinized due to the impact ethnicity has on hair, the plan would allow federal executive branch agencies “to collect and test a hair specimen as part of their drug testing programs with the limitation that hair specimens be used for pre-employment and random testing.” Another challenge with hair testing, according to Sheila Vakharia, Ph.D., Deputy Director of the Department of Research & Academic Engagement at the Drug Policy Alliance, is that it captures a wider window of drug use, causing some to be denied jobs due to drug use that occurred weeks or months before.

 

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Post By Ken Shafton (848 Posts)