Pocahontas Resident Blasts Commission’s Drug Testing Policy

Marlinton, WV – Pocahontas County resident Lawrence Cameron has a problem with the voluntary drug testing policy for courthouse employees approved by the Pocahontas County Commission.

“Because what we’re dealing with here is the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution” says Cameron. “The Fourth Amendment says that people have the right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure of their persons! Persons, we hear that persons, houses and effects.”

Cameron addressed the Commission during their regular meeting Tuesday. He says after the policy was approved by the Commission only 2 voluntary tests were conducted in fiscal year 2010 – both on Commissioner Martin Saffer, who initially drafted the policy. Saffer asked Cameron why he’s protesting the policy given that he doesn’t work in the courthouse.

“This is a crazy policy which is an assault on the Fourth Amendment rights of the people mentioned in the policy” says Cameron. “I am a lifelong member of the ACLU, that’s the answer to your question Mr. Saffer- that’s my interest. My interest is in the constitution and all of the amendments thereto including the fourth which you have chosen to assault.”

“No sir, I have not” says Saffer “and let me say as an attorney, I likewise have a fondness for the constitution and the laws. I also have a keen interest in the solutions to the drug abuse problem which is confronting our county.”

Saffer says the courthouse employees should be proud to set an example for the rest of the county.

“I also believe to this day that members of the courthouse public employees should if they can reasonably do so, stand up and say, we are drug free; we believe that people in the community should be able to look to us and say we want to be like that” says Saffer.

“Sir, they are free to do that without your policy” says Cameron.

Cameron says he doesn’t object to testing for those in a safety sensitive position such as a Sheriffs’ deputy or a school bus driver. But he says even for the safety sensitive positions required to submit to a random drug test, the test given ignores the two most important drugs to test for – alcohol and oxycontin.

“Those are the two elephants in the room” he says. “If somebody is going to be impaired, they’re going to be impaired probably 95% of the time by one of those two drugs that are not being tested for in this policy.”

Cameron is also concerned that under a voluntary drug testing policy, employees could feel coerced into agreeing to be part of a random drug testing pool. The Commissioners thanked Cameron for his comments, but declined to take any other action concerning the county’s drug testing policy.

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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