In a letter dated June 3rd, ACLU Legal Director Harvey Grossman asked the Chicago Housing Authority not to implement new provisions mandating suspicionless drug testing of applicants and residents of public housing. Grossman writes:
First, drug testing invades privacy and bodily autonomy. Drug testing by means of urinalysis is humiliating for many people, and embarrassing or unpleasant for many others. Drug testing in the absence of individualized suspicion is stigmatizing: it creates a presumption of guilt that can only be rebutted by a negative test result.
Second, drug testing as a condition of residency in public housing would create an unfair double standard. People from all across Chicago who rent their residences in the private sector, most of whom are middle and upper income, are not required to take a drug test. On the other hand, poor people in Chicago who rent public housing from the CHA would be required to take a drug test. Yet social science research shows that low income persons do not use or abuse illegal drugs at rates significantly higher than persons in other income groups.