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First Offence? Crucifixian. - Line on the left, one cross each .. .

trauma-list@trauma.org trauma-list@trauma.org
Fri, 14 Jun 2002 04:27:11 -0400


I agree completely with your comments about changing the law.  In this
country there are a few groups actively seeking to have marijuana
legalized.  In some places it's ok for medical purposes, but most places
it's not.  Of course, I'm constrained to operate within the current laws,
regardless of personal feeling.

Just for clarification- the policies I quoted apply equally to my PD and
the EMS organization I'm affiliated with.  Both do random drug testing,
though in a slightly different manner.  Maybe it's my background, having
been in the military and then in the police and EMS services, but I don't
see a problem with this.

Also by way of clarification, the guy who comes in drunk will be suspended,
certainly.  He may or may not be sacked- that would depend on his prior
disciplinary history.  Being under the influence of an illegal substance is
treated more harshly, and that will get you fired.  The demarkation between
the two is very clear to me: one is stupid, the other criminal.

To temper this, we have available employee assistance programs to deal with
stress as well as the option to voluntary go into alcohol/drug treatment.
If the employee acknowledges his/her addiction on their own (i.e. before we
catch them in a random test) they are provided treatment and are not
subject to the same disciplinary process.

Finally, I do think these issues are as applicable to trauma folks as
anyone else.

Sergeant David Adler #100, EMT-P
Police Dept., City of Philadelphia Housing Authority

Opinions expressed are solely those of the author, and do not reflect the
official positions of the City of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Housing
Authority or the Housing Authority Police Department.

                    "Cotton, Chris (SAAS)"                                          
                    <cotton.chris@saambulan        To:                              
                    ce.com.au>                     "'trauma-list@trauma.org'"       
                    Sent by:                       <trauma-list@trauma.org>         
                    trauma-list-admin@traum        cc:                              
                    a.org                          Subject:     First Offence?      
                                                   Crucifixian. - Line on the left, 
                                                   one cross each ..      .         
                    06/13/02 08:25 AM                                               
                    Please respond to                                               

Dave wrote:

Of course, all other arguments aside, there is one that is
> > irrefutable.
> > > > Marijuana is illegal in my neck of the woods.  Those in a
> > of
> > > > public trust cannot fail to abide by the law and expect to
> > > > their positions.  By way of example, if you get caught using in
> > > > service (and we do frequent, random drug testing) you're fired.
> > > > questions asked.  Not to mention that a conviction for a drug
> > offense
> > > > can cost someone their license/certification.
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > Dave Adler, EMT-P
> > > > Editor, Prehospital Perspective Magazine
> > > > www.prehospital-perspective.com
> > > > adler@prehospital-perspective.com

And from me...

Spoken like a true policeman, David. Take that whichever way you will; and
that's not necessarily meant with a negative connotation. No one would
expect anything different from someone in your position. If laws are
necessary to be changed, then they should be targeted at the appropriate
level - and that is via Parliament (or your equivalent).

Okay, let's step this a little further. Someone comes in to do a shift  and
you suspect they are currently effected by marijuana, alcohol or whatever.
So, if i understand you correctly, in your police dept the offender would
instantly dismissed if proven guilty by whatever tests you employ.

This then, as i see it opens up another cascade.

Is it right to perform a ritual dismissal for a first-time ill judgement?
Isn't that a bit like "...Oh, you'll probably get away with crucifixion -
first offence!" Maybe when you are talking about such a big department,
is entirely appropriate.

Does anyone see any value in counceling first, followed by a support
for those who are misguided enough to come in to work affected by their
potions? Or do you just say ... "bad luck - there's the door"? Does that
create some moral dilemmas for listers?

Could this be seen as shifting the problem? Why suggest moving this away
from the trauma forum? Do we think these issues aren't applicable to trauma
workers? Is it too difficult or controversial to discuss?

Chris Cotton,
Intensive Care Paramedic.
South Australia.

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