The Belleville News-Democrat published an article about a new St. Clair County policy enacted in light of a string of recent drug related incidents involving county officials. The new policy would enable county employees to be fired because of a failed drug test. The ACLU of Illinois opposes suspicionless drug testing as a violation of the fourth amendment. The ACLU of Illinois is currently litigating on behalf of a Chicago public housing resident who is forced to undergo drug testing in order to keep his apartment. Regarding the St. Clair County policy, The Belleville News-Democrat spoke with ACLU of Illinois' Public Policy and Communications Director Ed Yohnka:
The county's new approach is a "sad reflection of what is now almost 40 years of flawed policy" concerning drugs, Yohnka said. Instead of punishing employees, Yohnka said county officials should treat substance abuse as an illness.
"If you are going to include this treatment, it should not be optional or up to the discretion of a supervisor," Yohnka said. "If you really care about employees and want to protect the public's safety, it is the one thing that ought to be offered."