COLUMN: Drugs and politics

In light of the news that Toronto Mayor Rob Ford confessed to using crack-cocaine while in office, many people are left crying for public officials to take mandatory drug tests before running for and to keep office.

A policy such as this would force politicians to take drug tests that, if positive, would make them ineligible for service. So, is it time to start drug testing these politicians?

The answer is a complicated yes.

When politicians run for office, they go through a very rigorous process in which they vet the candidate.

In this process, a group of advisers try to dig up any and all dirt they can on the candidate to try to see if anything would be harmful to the campaign. Many times during this process, past drug use comes up and is often left for the American people to make a judgment on.

For example, our last two presidents were known marijuana users in their college years.

As it should, this information surfaced and was left up to the American people to decide whether this was a big enough issue to sway their votes. This is how all politics should be looked at. It should always be up to the American people whether a politician is fit for the job. As history shows, Americans are not often concerned with some drug use by their politicians.

The concept of letting Americans decide the fate of their elected officials should always be the norm.

The problem with this, however, is that a politician who has been elected can easily use drugs without the knowledge reaching the public.

This unknown use could end up having drastic effects.

This is why drug testing is needed for American politicians. Although it should ultimately be up for the American people to decide whether a politician stays or goes when a re-election is due, it is within the right of all voters to know if those representing them are using drugs.

Mandatory drug testing is the next clear step in American politics.

It is important to keep elected officials as transparent as possible to their voting base. While minor drug use and past drug use should not necessarily prevent a candidate from serving office, it is important to keep the voters informed. Let America know the truth and then let the voters decide their fate.