DRUG TESTING IN SCHOOL AND WORKPLACE
Recommendations of Expert Committee of Council of Europe. The Expert Committee, reporting in March, 2008, noted that pursuant to the European Convention on Human Rights “… no public authority or private individual has any right to impose on anyone’s private or family life, and even less so to carry out or order drug testing in anyone.” The exceptions are narrowly defined as law enforcement agents acting with explicit legal authority, and “certain health professionals, to the exact extent that obtaining this confidential information is essential … in their patients’ interests…”
With regard to schools, the Committee not only determined that drug testing is ineffective as a deterrent to substance misuse, but concluded that it interferes with monitoring by parents and educators of children’s “emotional, social and intellectual development through dialogue based on trust… [and] undermines the pupil-teacher relationship and the psycho-social climate … which have been proven to have a protective function.” We would note that the same impediments exist in an addiction treatment setting to a “dialogue based on trust” and to the relationship between clinician and patient.
Bottom line: “… [drug] testing procedures in schools or the workplace pose an ethical problem founded on international, universal and absolute rights. It would be appropriate to take steps to prohibit such procedures and to seek to achieve the same ends by means that show greater respect for privacy, family life and the fundamental rights of every individual …”
Full report available at: https://wcd.coe.int/ViewDoc.jsp?id=1279817&Site=DG3