mobile drug testing long island

USA Mobile Drug Testing of Central Long Island 516-802-3546 Legal NYS DNA Paternity Testing

Archive for the month “October, 2011”

Should your drug testing program include painkillers

A statistic jumped out at me the other day: workplace drug test positives for prescription semi-synthetic opioid painkillers (e.g. oxycodone, hydrocodone) rated second only to marijuana.

In the first half of 2011, marijuana, hydrocodone (Vicodin) and oxycodone (Oxycontin) showed positive rates of 2.0%, 1.3% and 1.1%, respectively, according to Quest Diagnostic’s Drug Testing Index. When you break down the testing into test types, the numbers are even more dramatic. Post-accident positives for hydrocodone and oxycodone were found to be 3.7% and 1.8%, respectively.

This really shouldn’t be that surprising when you look at the data on illicit drug use in the U.S. The number one illicit drug used in 2010 was marijuana (17.4 million users). The second most used illicit drug class was psychotherapeutics (prescription-type drugs used for non-medical purposes, 7.0 million users). Within this class, 5.1 million used painkillers, 2.2 million used tranquilizers, 1.1 million used stimulants and 374,000 used sedatives. Rounding out the list after psychotherapeutics were cocaine (1.5 million users), hallucinogens (1.2 million users), inhalants (0.7 million users) and heroin (0.2 million users).

If prescription painkillers are the second most abused class of drugs, why (according to Quest Diagnostics) did only 12% of workplace drug screenings performed by Quest during the first half of this year include prescription opioids? One reason is that testing programs aren’t keeping up with the substances that are being abused in today’s society. Drug testing panels are often based on yesterday’s statistics. Another reason could be that employers just don’t realize that their current drug testing panel doesn’t include prescription painkillers.

While many drug testing panels include opiates, they don’t always include semi-synthetic opioids such as oxycodone and hydrocodone. For example, the DOT drug testing panel tests for codeine and morphine at 2000 ng/ml. At this level, semi-synthetic opioids will generally not be detected. Non-DOT employers who wish to test for these substances need to add an ‘extended opiate panel’ to their drug testing menu. Most extended opiate panels include hydrocodone, oxycodone, hydromorphone and oxymorphone along with morphine and codeine.

As prescription painkiller abuse increases, more employers are adding extended opiates to their panels. Quest Diagnostics has seen a 100% increase in workplace extended opiate testing since 2006. Furthermore, SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Prevention Drug Testing Advisory Board recently recommended that testing for oxycodone, oxymorphone, hydrocodone and hydromorphone be included in the Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs.

Eric Bensen, Ph.D.,President & Compliance Specialist,USA Mobile Drug Testing of Minneapolis,  |  Direct:  612-333-1525

For more information on expanded opiate testing, call USA Mobile Drug Testing of Central Long Island 516-802-3546 if you are on Long Island, New  York. To find other locations for USA Mobile Drug Testing call 1-855-USA Test

Chemicals Used in “Bath Salts” Now Under Federal Control and Regulation

Over the past several months, there has been a growing use of, and interest in, synthetic stimulants sold under the guise of “bath salts” or “plant food”. Marketed under names such as “Ivory Wave”, “Purple Wave”, “Vanilla Sky” or “Bliss”, these products are comprised of a class of chemicals perceived as mimics of cocaine, LSD, MDMA, and/or methamphetamine. Users have reported impaired perception, reduced motor control, disorientation, extreme paranoia, and violent episodes. The long-term physical and psychological effects of use are unknown but potentially severe. These products have become increasingly popular, particularly among teens and young adults, and are sold at a variety of retail outlets, in head shops and over the Internet. However, they have not been approved by the FDA for human consumption or for medical use, and there is no oversight of the manufacturing process.

In the last six months, DEA has received an increasing number of reports from poison control centers, hospitals and law enforcement regarding products containing one or more of these chemicals. Thirty-seven states have already taken action to control or ban these or other synthetic stimulants. The Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984 amends the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) to allow the DEA Administrator to temporarily schedule an abused, harmful, non-medical substance in order to avoid an imminent hazard to public safety while the formal rule-making procedures described in the CSA are being conducted.

From DEA website

DOT Drug Testing Law celebrates 20yrs of Drug Free Work Place mandates

DOT Marks 20th Anniversary of Transportation Drug Testing Law
The U.S. Department of Transportation today marked the 20th anniversary of the statutory authority to conduct drug and alcohol testing for workers entrusted with the safe operation of our nation’s transportation system. The Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act, signed into law on Oct. 28, 1991, was enacted to reduce the abuse of alcohol and illegal use of drugs by employees such as pilots, airline mechanics, railroad engineers, truck drivers, bus drivers and subway operators. Since the law was implemented, illegal drug use among transportation workers has dropped 50 percent, while the risk of fatal accidents caused by alcohol use by truck and bus drivers has dropped 23 percent.
Jim L. Swart
Office of Drug and Alcohol
Policy and Compliance
U.S. Department of Transportation

Got Drugs? National Take Back Day October 29 DEA sponsored

DEA has scheduled another National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, October 29, 2011, from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm. to provide a venue for persons who want to dispose of unwanted and unused prescription drugs.

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. More than seven million Americans currently abuse prescription drugs, according to the 2009 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Each day, approximately, 2,500 teens use prescription drugs to get high for the first time according to the Partnership for a Drug Free America. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including the home medicine cabinet.

DEA in conjunction with state and local law enforcement agencies throughout the United States conducted National Prescription Drug Take Back Days on Saturday, September 25, 2010 and April 25, 2011. Nearly, 4,000 state and local law enforcement agencies throughout the nation participated in these events, collecting more than 309 tons of pills.

Four days after last fall’s Take-Back Day, Congress passed legislation amending the Controlled Substances Act to allow the DEA to develop a process for people to safely dispose of their prescription drugs. DEA immediately began developing this process after President Obama signed the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010 on October 12. Until that process is complete, however, DEA will continue to hold Take Back Days every six months.

Go to the DEA website for a contact person in your area to advise your site

More use of synthetic drugs as published in the Duluth News Tribune

The drugs have exploded in popularity because many of the users said they’re on probation or work at jobs with drug testing and can’t get caught with the real marijuana in their system.

There are drug tests to catch the synthetics, but they cost about three times as much as regular tests, said Dennis Cummings, the program director for Duluth Bethel, which specializes in work release for jail and prison inmates re-entering society. And a user has to be specially tested for the synthetics in his or her system.

Jen Wright, who oversees probation officers as a senior supervisor with Arrowhead Regional Corrections, said her agency is “seeing a dramatic increase in synthetic use.”

“We are concerned with the potential medical and psychological effects of the synthetics,” she said, “as well as how this drug is not just a gateway drug, but rather a drug whose addictive qualities and side-effects are on par with methamphetamines and cocaine.”

Questions from employers on the DRUG FREE WORKPLACE PROGRAM

Q. How will a drug free workplace program benefit my business?
A. Employers have seen a decrease in workplace accidents, employee mistakes, absenteeism, employee turnover, and in their workers’ compensation claims. Other benefits are less tangible, such as improved workplace environment, employee morale and customer satisfaction.
Q. Why should I care if my employees are using drugs and/or alcohol on the job?
A. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, alcohol and drug abuse has been estimated to cost American businesses roughly 81 billion dollars in lost productivity in just one year, 37 billion due to premature death and 44 billion due to illness. Of these combined costs, 86 percent are attributed to drinking.

Drug testing helps curb workers comp claims

Opioid testing helps curb workers comp claims. Article from

Concerns grow with more workers impaired by prescription drugs

October 23, 2011 – 6:00am

SALT LAKE CITY—When Jacobsen Construction Co. Inc. started an opioid drug testing program last year, the firm gained a tool to help its 400 workers avoid accidents.Mat Guerrero, safety manager for the Salt Lake City company, said Jacobsen has long conducted employee drug tests. But with opioid use on the rise among construction workers in the area, Jacobsen expanded its program to keep impaired workers out of hazardous work sites.

“It used to be everyone was concerned about illegal drugs, and now the ones we worry about are in people’s medicine cabinets,” said Mr. Guerrero, whose company does pre-employment, random and post-accident testing.

Opioid testing is becoming more common among employers looking to increase job safety and reduce workers compensation costs, experts say.

“Avoiding one really serious claim due to an impaired worker basically pays for your drug testing program,” said Mark Semonisck, senior loss control consultant for Kansas City, Mo.-based brokerage Lockton Cos. L.L.C.

Quest Diagnostics Inc., a national provider of medical testing, says about 12% of workplace drug screenings it conducted during the first half of this year included prescription opioid testing, up from about 6% in 2006. That growth tracks an increase in opioid prescriptions nationwide, said Barry Sample, director of science and technology for Quest Diagnostics’ employer solutions division.

In a report released this month, Madison, N.J.-based Quest said positive results for oxycodones, such as OxyContin, have in-creased 96% in employer screenings from 2005 to the first quarter of this year, while positive tests increased 47% for hydrocodone, a drug type that includes Vicodin. Employees were more likely to test positive for prescription opioids in random or post-accident drug tests than in pre-employment screenings, the firm said.

Mr. Sample said opioid testing seems to be gaining traction in industries that use heavy machinery, such as manufacturing, and in medical fields where employees have regular access to prescription drugs. He believes more employers should consider whether opioid testing might improve job performance and safety records for their workers.

“Anything that an employer can do to mitigate the risk of having an accident is going to reduce the incidence of accidents in the workplace, and consequently workers comp claims,” Mr. Sample said.

Mr. Semonisck of Lockton said most of his clients conduct five-panel drug screenings, which test for marijuana; cocaine; amphetamines; phencyclidine, also known as PCP; and opiates, such as codeine and morphine.

Opioids—which are synthetic opiates—typically are detected in a drug test called an expanded opiate panel.

Mr. Semonisck said it’s difficult to quantify how many accidents are prevented by drug testing. However, he said it helps deter drug abuse, because impairment could cost workers their jobs or workers comp benefits after an accident.

“People know they could be caught, and their benefits could be terminated,” he said.

Mike Farrand, workers comp medical cost containment director of the strategic outcomes practice for Willis Group Holdings P.L.C. in Radnor, Pa., agreed that the deterrent effect is beneficial for containing workers comp costs.

Workers “might think twice about putting in a fraudulent claim if they know they’re going to be tested,” said Mr. Farrand, whose brokerage recommends screenings for its clients.

Mr. Guerrero said opioid drug testing at Jacobsen has helped the company identify whether an employee’s prescription drug use could put him or her in danger at a job site.

Because of medical privacy laws, the construction firm relies on Salt Lake City-based drug testing firm Workforce QA to determine whether positive opioid results stem from abuse or prescription use. Medical review officers at the testing company weigh results for each case.

Jacobsen works with “safety-sensitive” employees—those that have a legitimate need for pain medications—to help reduce the risk for impairment at work. For instance, an employee might talk with his or her doctor about switching medications, Mr. Guerrero said.

In addition to testing, Mr. Farrand said companies can work with their insurer or third-party administrator to audit prescriptions for their employer group and determine whether opioids are being prescribed too often. Narcotic contracts—in which patients agree to careful opioid use under physician monitoring—also can help curb abuse, he said.

Mr. Farrand said testing program costs can be difficult to manage for companies that have high employee turnover rates. But he believes the price may be worth it for reducing a company’s accident risk.

“It’s an investment an employer has to make,” he said.

How much money substance abuse can cost you

The Cost: Substance Abuse Adversely Affects The Bottlom Line
Even though many employers choose to ignore the problem, substance abuse in the workplace has a real impact on their bottom line. Substance abuse drains more than $100 Billion from American businesses every year in …

  • WORKERS’ COMPENSATION: 38% to 50% of all Workers’ Compensation claims are related to substance abuse in the workplace; substance abusers file three to five times as many Worker’s Compensation claims.
  • MEDICAL COSTS: Substance abusers incur 300% higher medical costs than non-abusers.
  • ABSENTEEISM: Substance abusers are 2.5 times more likely to be absent eight or more days a year.
  • LOST PRODUCTIVITY: Substance abusers are 1/3 less productive.
  • EMPLOYEE TURNOVER: It costs a business an average of $7,000 to replace a salaried worker.

Companies who have a Drug Free Workplace Program will find that an investment in education, prevention, and assistance programs pays dividends for both the employer & the employee. * Source: ‘Working Partners’, National Conference Proceedings Report: sponsored by U.S. Dept. of Labor, the SBA, and the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Chemicals Used To Create “Bath Salts” Are Under Federal Control and Regulation

The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) today exercised its emergency scheduling authority to control three synthetic stimulants (Mephedrone, 3,4 methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) and Methylone) used to make products marketed as “bath salts” and “plant food”. Except as authorized by law, this action makes possessing and selling these chemicals, or the products that contain them, illegal in the United States.” The DEA commented on the emergency scheduling stating, “this emergency action was necessary to prevent an imminent threat to the public safety. The temporary scheduling action will remain in effect for at least one year while the DEA and the United States Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) further study whether these chemicals should be permanently controlled.”

The chemicals will be under government control for a minimum of 12 months, with a possible six month extension. They are designated as Schedule I substances, “with a high potential for abuse, no currently accepted use for treatment in the United States and a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug under medical supervision.


USA Mobile Drug Testing of Central Long Island( would like to remind local employers that October 17-21 is National Drug-Free Workplace Week, as observed by the United States Department of Labor. “In light of National Drug-Free Workplace Week and recognizing that employee drug and alcohol abuse cost America’s businesses $81 billion in lost productivity annually, it is important that local businesses of all sizes remember to test and screen employees.. Many chamber members are small businesses and, therefore, are particularly susceptible when it comes to hiring employees who abuse alcohol and drugs. Although the government encourages drug-free workplaces through programs like National Drug-free Workplace Week, a significant number of small to mid-sized businesses do not have policies or testing procedures in place to protect their companies against substance-abusing employees. USA Mobile Drug Testing of Central Long Island aims to help local employers by providing onsite mobile drug testing in New York. Implementing a drug-free workplace program and utilizing testing options prior to hiring potential employees is absolutely essential for all business owners to protect themselves and their companies, reduce workers’ comp costs and increase productivity. To contact USA Mobile Drug Testing of Central Long Island call 516-802-3546 or email

Post Navigation