Policies that encourage drug testing potential employees are not, generally speaking, viewed as means for achieving greater racial equality. As the ACLU states on its website (emphasis added), "Not only do these policies constitute a significant and unjustified invasion of privacy, they also single out those living in low-income communities and disproportionately impact people of color."
A new study supports this: Drug tests do disproportionately impact people of color, but not in the way the ACLU implies. Rather, economist Abigail K. Wozniak finds, drug testing is actually boosting employment for blacks, particularly those who who are relatively unskilled.
How's that? To put it simply: In the absence of information, it seems that employers are susceptible to making racist assumptions about who uses drugs and who doesn't. This suppresses black employment. But in places where drug testing is more common, black employment rises, seemingly given a bit of a lift by the opportunity to prove against stereotype that one is not a drug user.
Data going back to 1979 from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health show that "for most of the survey's history, blacks and whites have reported drug use at nearly identical rates" (though there is some variation in which drugs the different groups favor). It is believed that drug use is underreported, but there's no reason to think that underreporting is more rampant among blacks. From 1990 to 2006, an average of 13 percent of whites and 12 percent of blacks attested to "some drug use in the past month." For those with no college education, the rate is 19 percent for both blacks and whites.