Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Drug testing judges: long overdue

Drug testing Judges: long overdue


In 2010 a report noted that 1 in 5 Americans took at least one prescription pharmaceutical to treat a psychological condition such as depression or anxiety. This means that 20% of our population takes a medication which can alter mood, behavior and judgment. Drug testing has been imposed on numerous groups in our society by overreaching government bureaucrats whose need to know appears to outweigh our privacy rights. Students who participate in sports many times are under the gun to take a drug test. Worksites often have a drug test requirement. Pilots, military personnel and even we lowly physicians have been coerced into testing. Yet somehow the very people that create and enforce drugs laws have found a manner to maneuver around drug testing regulations. Judges who render critical decisions about our lives appear to have escaped the very sanction they impose on others. Judges collectively are drawn from the same pool of people the rest of come from. With 20% of the populations’ brains immersed in mind bending medications it stands to reason that at least 20% of judges are prescribed these medications. In Maryland this author has had numerous opportunities to appear before lower court judges. Many times these judges were conflictive, confrontational and on several occasions deprecating inexcusably out of proportion to the topic being discussed. A judge in the Howard County Circuit Court appeared to be mumbling to himself as he considered a case. Another judge in the Federal Court in Baltimore appeared to have difficulty focusing his mind on the case before him. Mind altering drugs can affect the neural machinery that enables the brain to arrive at a specific decision. Judges are not immune to these medications. With the important roles judges play in society petitioners coming before them must be assured their arbiters are of sound mind. Drug testing judges would provide assurances to the public that we don’t have an odd ball sitting behind the bench. Additionally, along with the yearly drug test, a brief psychological evaluation would provide the necessary information to keep the mentally disinclined off the bench. Maryland has not instituted any significant reviews of their judges in these respects and the public has a right to know if a member of the judiciary is psychologically impaired. Mark Davis MD, President of Healthnets Review Services, advisor to the media and others on health and related issues. Author of the book Demons of Democracy and the forthcoming book, Obamacare: Dead on Arrival, A Prescription for Disaster. Manager of the group on LinkedIn, Government in Transition.

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