Robert E. Gladd,
Thesis work-in-progress internet edition:

The National Alliance for Model State Drug Laws: 
Pushing the envelope on IRS § 501(c)(3) non-profit “charitable organization” regulations

   The Internal Revenue Service charters tax-exempt non-profit charitable organizations meeting certain criteria pertaining to non-partisan cultural, religious, scientific, educational and other public service activities. § 501(c)(3) organizations are specifically prohibited from engaging in political campaigns and legislative lobbying. In the words of the IRS: A curiosity obtains: “The National Alliance for Model State Drugs Laws,” a tax-exempt organization directly funded with taxpayer dollars, one boasting of a mandate to influence anti-drug legislation at the state level, in apparent direct contravention of § 501(c)(3) intent. The following is excerpted from their website located at
The National Alliance for Model State Drug Laws began as the President’s Commission on Model State Drug Laws (Commission), a Congressionally established body charged with creating a model code of laws to help states effectively address alcohol and other substance abuse...

...[The Commission developed] 44 model laws and policies which offer a comprehensive continuum of responses and services to fully address alcohol , tobacco and other substance abuse problems. Tough sanctions punish those persons who refuse to abide by the law. Equally important, the sanctions are designed to be constructive, promote prevention, and attempt to leverage alcohol and other substance abusers into treatment. The 44 legislative remedies are in a Final Report comprising five volumes:

  1. Economic Remedies. 
  2. Community Mobilization 
  3. Crimes Code Enforcement 
  4. Treatment 
  5. Drug-Free Families, Schools & Workplaces 
In December 1993, the Commissioners submitted their model laws to the National Governors Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures, Attorney General Janet Reno and Dr. Lee Brown, then Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. President Clinton distributed the Final Report and the accompanying treatment study by Rutgers University to state and local leaders early the following year.

Recommendations, no matter how promising, become reality only when they are acted upon. The Commissioners feared that simply mailing out the Final Report would lead to their model laws collecting dust on shelves. Their solution was to create The National Alliance for Model State Drug Laws (Alliance), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, to serve as an ongoing resource on the model laws and related state legislation.

Funded by Congressional appropriations, the Alliance, in coordination with the Bureau of Justice Assistance and the Office of National Drug Control Policy, are holding state model drug law conferences across the country. These one-day events are intense, hands-on workshops designed to educate state individuals about the model laws and policies...

We offer our model laws as a menu of options from which the individuals select those which they believe will most effectively help the state. The ultimate decisions about what to do rest with the conference participants, strengthening their commitment to see their recommendations to fruition. The Alliance has already co-sponsored 9 successful state conferences, and plans to hold many more such events in the coming years.

Drugs... Everybody’s Problem. 

  • Illegal drugs burden society with approximately $67 billion in social, health and criminal costs each year. 
  • Nearly 1 out of 5 Federal dollars spent on Medicaid is attributable to substance abuse. 
  • Up to 50% of all general hospital admissions are alcohol and drug related. 
  • Untreated alcoholics incur general health care costs that are at least 100% higher than those of non-alcoholics. 


  • Of the 12 million current undergraduates, more will ultimately die from alcohol-related causes (240,000 to 360,000) than will earn MAs and PhDs combined. 
  • 95% of violent crime on campus is alcohol-related 
  • 90% of all reported campus rapes occur when alcohol is being used by either the assailant or the victim. 
  • One in 3 college students now drinks primarily to get drunk. 


  • 60%-80% of criminal defendants are addicted to drugs and/or alcohol. 
  • 33% of all murders or manslaughter incidents are related to illicit drug and alcohol use. Over 50 % of spousal murders are drug-or-alcohol-related. 
  • In 1993, 54%-81% of adult males arrested and 42%-83% of adult females arrested tested positive for drugs. 


  • More than 5% (221,000) of the 4 million women who give birth each year use illicit drugs during their pregnancy. 
  • Overall hospitalization costs for drug-exposed infants and fetal alcohol syndrome create an annual economic loss to the country of $0.6 to $3.3 billion. 

Prescription Drugs 

  • Over 20 million people abuse or misuse prescription drugs in the US. 
  • Approximately 15% of all legal controlled substance medications are used illicitly, that is 33 million prescriptions with 1 billion dosage units each year. 


  • Cigarettes kill more Americans than AIDS, alcohol, car accidents, murders, suicides, drugs and fires combined. 
  • 90% of all smokers begin to smoke before they turn 18 years old. 
  • Expected lifetime medical expenditures of the average smoker exceed those of the average nonsmoker by 28% for men and 21% for women. 


  • 71% of all current illicit drug users age 18 and older (7.4 million adults) are employed. 
  • The cost of alcohol and illicit drug use in the workplace, including lost productivity, medical claims and accidents, amounts to $140 billion per year. 
  • 68% of all adult cocaine users in 1995 were employed either full- or part-time. 


  • The average age at which youth begin drinking is 13. 
  • In 1995, among youths aged 12-13, 4.5% were current illicit drug users. The highest rates were among young people age 16-17, 15.6 % and age 18-20, 18%. 
  • Nearly 1 in 20 of today’s high school seniors and 1 in 30 of today’s 10th graders is a current daily marijuana user. 
  • 10% of Americans age 18-20 are heavy alcohol users and 15% have used illicit drugs in the past month.


“To promote comprehensive model state drug laws which significantly reduce, with the goal to eliminate, substance abuse through effective use and coordination of enforcement, treatment, education, prevention, community and corrections resources.” 


  1. To educate state legislators, governors and other state and local individuals about the purposes and application of the model laws, and the multi-disciplinary partnerships built into the laws.
  2. To help state legislators, governors and other state and local individuals tailor, revise and update the model laws to address particular state problems and needs.
  3. To maintain a legislative clearinghouse which provides information on the model laws and supporting documents, and related state laws and bills.
  4. To facilitate and coordinate collaborative coalition building among enforcement, treatment, education, prevention and community groups, and between these groups and state leaders.

The Alliance’s resource center activities include:

  • Providing our model laws and related state statutes on 44 alcohol and other substance abuse topics.
  • Helping compare our model laws with existing state statutes.
  • Helping analyze states’ versions of the model laws and related state statutes.
  • Sharing legislation, policies, and program ideas among states.
  • Offering drafting tips and language to tailor our model laws to individual state needs.
  • Identifying state resource people on the model laws and related topic areas.
  • Providing access to a nationwide network of legal, policy, and program experts on the model laws and related topic areas.
  • Giving guidance on policy, legal and substantive issues related to the model laws and topic areas.
  • Facilitating partnerships among state officials and substance abuse professionals.
  • Participating in and conducting educational briefings, summits, meetings, etc. on the model laws and related alcohol and other substance abuse topics.
Our portfolio of legislative proposals help states provide a continuum of responses-- enforcement, treatment, education, prevention, housing and community and workplace-- which:
  • Intervene early with children with substance abuse related problems and refer them to treatment.
  • Provide insurance and Medicaid funding for appropriate levels and modalities of treatment.
  • Reduce crime and prison overcrowding.
  • Teach youth healthy attitudes and the benefits of leading a substance free life.
  • Shut down crackhouses and turn boarded buildings into recreation centers and other useful neighborhood centers.
  • Stop the laundering of billions of dollars in illegal drug profits.
  • Provide consumer safeguards regarding managed care.
  • Decreasing alcohol and drug-related highway fatalities.
  • Prevent the illegal distribution and diversion of prescription drugs and chemicals.
  • Decrease absenteeism, accidents, sick claims and disciplinary actions in the workplace.

   A “charitable organization” involved with facilitating and coordinating “enforcement” by lobbying (for that is indeed the appropriate verb) statehouses to enact legislation such as “The Model Drug-Free Private Sector Workplace Act,” a measure focused on suspicionless drug testing? This is a legitimate § 501(c)(3) function?

   Before examining “The Model Drug-Free Private Sector Workplace Act,” it is interesting to note the statistics the Alliance proffers to justify their ends. Once again we witness the customary empirical ambiguities (spawn of the by now familiar dubious paternity) and CASA-esque mantra of “alcohol, tobacco ’n drugs” drug war partisans feel compelled to employ to inflate the apparent extent of the illicit drug “problem” (see Chapter 2). Look closely: most of the statistics asserted by the Alliance speak to alcohol and tobacco consumption, with a bit of “prescription drug abuse” thrown in for good measure.

   None of which are relevant to the particulars of “The Model Drug-Free Private Sector Workplace Act.” This legislative proposal, similar in thrust and content to those proposed by The Institute for a Drug-Free Workplace—another organization promoting mandatory drug testing legislation at the statehouse level—focuses significantly on providing near-blanket indemnification for private sector employers conducting suspicionless drug testing. Employers would be immune from lawsuits resulting from false negative tests (i.e., where an employee tested negative, subsequently caused an injury accident, and was found to have indeed been using drugs proximate to the incident. See Section 16.c) and would limit “defamation” liability in the wake of false positive results “if the employer’s reliance on a ‘false positive’ was reasonable and in good faith” (Section 16.b.2).

   While the Act declares that private-sector suspicionless drug testing is not “mandatory,” it states in Section 11.b that an employer is required to conduct both suspicionless and for-cause drug testing “in order to qualify as a private sector drug-free workplace and to qualify for the provisions of Section 5.”

   Section 5, Applicable Conditions for a Legal Policy, states that

   While the specifications pertaining to “procedural safeguards that demand accuracy and fairness” do in fact represent a bit of improvement over the current patchwork of state laws and regulations that leave employees with widely varying levels of procedural and methodological protection [ ** see box below ], the principal thrust of this Model Act is to provide employers comprehensive authority to test employees at will with little fear of liability. Section 11.c:Nothing in this section shall prohibit a private employer from conducting random testing or other lawful testing of employees.Section 19:No physician-patient relationship is created between an employee or job applicant and an employer, medical review officer, or substance abuse testing laboratory per-forming or evaluating a substance abuse test solely by the establishment, implementation, or administration of a substance abuse testing program.Section 22:All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this [Act] are repealed.
** Unfortunately, such standardization is not assured; the Alliance makes much of the purported virtue of the “flexibility” of their approach in modifying the Model Act in accordance with states’ individual preferences—which are likely to be deferential to favorable provisions proffered by testing vendors to the extent that individual state laws and absence of political opposition permit. The uneven procedural safeguards patchwork is likely to re-emerge, ranging from forensic standards in a rights-vigilant state such as California to much more lax oversight in the deep south.

   If the history of the regulatory specifications process concerning Executive Order 12564 (Drug-Free Federal Workplace order) and CLIA 88 (the federal Clinical Laboratories Improvment Act of 1988) are any guides, analytical vendors’ advocates will fight tooth and claw for the removal or emasculation of “overly burdensome” quality assurance regulations. One has only to peruse the “public review and comment period” documentation of the E.O. 12564 and CLIA 88 regulatory processes in the Federal Register to see such quiet commercial self-interest at work. Phrases such as “too restrictive,” “too costly,” “excessive burden,” and “fewer challenges...would be adequate...” are sprinkled throughout the record. See, for example, Federal Register, Vol. 53, No. 69, April 11, 1988, pp. 11970 - 11989.

   We should similarly expect back-door efforts to attenuate any Alliance-progeny Model Act methodological protections to commence as soon as a Governor’s ink has begun to dry.

   Section 19 is particularly interesting. Vendors of drug testing services routinely and prominently tout their use of MROs (Medical Review Officers) to review lab results. An MRO is a licensed physician (M.D.) with additional training and experience in toxicology, pharmacology, and analytical chemistry. Critics point out that the MRO function is overwhelmingly one of providing an aura of professional respectability to the suspicionless drug testing process—but one doing violence to the ethical duty of the physician under the Hippocratic Oath and the dictates of the physican-patient relationship. In this type of tactic (“no physician-patient relationship”) we see drug testing advocates trying to have it both ways. Justification for mandatory testing is invariably anchored to interwoven employee health, safety, and productivity concerns. As Section M-210 (Policy Statement) declares:

In other words, it purportedly is a health issue (and employers are properly medico-social workers). But, declaring there to be no physician-patient relationship effectuated by drug testing puts the MRO in an ethically untenable position and begs the question of just what type of encounter the indiscriminate drug test truly is.

   We know what it is: Law enforcement by proxy.

   Consider the observations of D. Kim Broadwell in The Evolution of Workplace Drug Testing: A Medical Review Officer’s Perspective (The Journal of Law, Medicine, and Ethics, Vol. 22:3 Fall 1994, pp. 240-46.):

   A 1997 monograph from the Journal of Medical Ethics echoes the concerns:    It should be clear that the intended and actual function of the MRO from the perspective of the testing vendor is that of the methodological fig leaf, nothing more. The fact that issues “of diagnosis, therapy, and rehabilitation are peripheral to the intent of the [MRO] contact” is actually irrelevant, given the framing of legislation such as the Model Act hawked by The Alliance and its auxiliary law enforcement brethren—for it is assumed a priori that a positive drug test result means that therapy and rehabilitation are necessary, with summary termination the consequence for dissenters. As recounted elswhere in this thesis, “if you use illegal drugs and claim to do so without adverse consequences, you are by definition in Denial; your very dissent proves you to be an addict.” (see Chapter 3)

   Some closing observations: Again, while the term “alcohol” is referred to repeatedly in this model legislation, there are no explicit provisions in the Act for indiscriminate alcohol testing—nor any for tobacco. And—broken record, broken record—such is because those are legal substances. The fact that alcohol abuse and routine tobacco consumption account for nearly all aggregate health, safety, and productivity losses attributable to “drugs” is somehow ignored when it comes to mandatory “substance abuse” surveillance, which only looks for marijuana, cocaine, amphetamine, PCP, barbiturate, and opiates indulgence.

   To summarize: Section M-210 (Policy Statement) the Model Act declares, in (5) Substance abuse testing.Employers must implement substance abuse testing as part of any comprehensive drug-free workplace program. Pre-employment, reasonable suspicion, medical fitness, and post-accident testing would be required by a comprehensive drug-free workplace program in compliance with this Act. Random drug testing is neither prohibited nor mandated by this Act.”

   A state enacting this proposed legislation would subsequently be in the business of “certifying” private enterprises as “Drug-Free Workplaces.” It is but a short hop from there to requiring that private businesses be “certified” should they “directly or indirectly” receive public funds (recall from Chapter 1 41.USC.701, the federal Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988, which mandated that all businesses “directly or indirectly” receiving federal funds have in place a documented Just-Say-No program). Moreover, commercial drug testing vendors and their lobbyists would undoubtedly make much use of adverse inference toward those firms that remained “uncertified.”

   That such as this “Model Drug-Free Private Sector Workplace Act” might be enacted at the state level through federal taxpayer-funded abuse of the § 501(c)(3) charter would be an outrage. Recall from the IRS regulations that one function of the § 501(c)(3) is the “defense of human and civil rights secured by law.” The activities of The Alliance represent an attempt to surreptitiously use the very federal government charged with defending such rights to subvert them.

   We might recall further how Representative Gerald Solomon raged on in Congress not too long ago, angrily calling for revocation of tax-exempt charters of non-profits “supporting drug legalization” and demanding that financial supporters of such organizations be taxed retroactively on their contributions.


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