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Archive for the month “January, 2012”

Why doesn’t your company have a drug testing program? It works!

USA Mobile Drug Testing can help you set up a Drug Free Work Place Policy and assist you through out the testing process.

Employee Drug Testing: Study Shows Improved Productivity and Attendance and Decreased Workers’ Compensation and Turnover

Human resource professionals were asked about their organizations’ drug testing programs and
reported the following perceptions after the implementation of a drug testing program: One-fifth
(19%) of companies experienced an increase in employee productivity after the implementation of a drug testing program, employers with high absenteeism rates (more than 15%) reported a drop from
9% to 4% after implementing a drug testing program, an improvement of 56%; companies with high
workers’ compensation incidence rates (more than 6%) reported a drop from 14% to 6% after
implementing drug testing programs, an improvement of 57%; and 16% of companies reported a net
employee turnover decrease. Additional research needs to be conducted to further confirm these
findings, but this initial pilot study suggests that drug testing has a positive impact in companies
creating a more productive, safe, and stable workforce.

More than half of employers (57 percent) conduct drug tests on all job candidates, while only 29 percent do not conduct drug tests on any job candidates, according to a poll released today by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) in collaboration with and commissioned by the Drug & Alcohol Testing Industry Association (DATIA). The SHRM/ DATIA poll – Drug Testing Efficacy – found that some employers noticed an impact on employee productivity, absenteeism and workers compensation incidence rates after implementing drug testing programs.

 

Drug testing of employees is a relatively new tool used in the last 20 years for evaluating candidates
for employment and to promote safety in the workplace. Drug testing as we know it today, did not
exist prior to 1980. However, in 1981 the crash of a Navy jet on the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier
resulted in the death and injury of scores of enlisted men. Unfortunately, drug testing revealed the
presence of drugs in not only that aircraft carrier’s personnel but widespread in the military (1, 2).
This led to a series of investigations and President Ronald Regan issuing Executive Order 12564,
mandating a drug free federal workplace. Seven years after the crash and extensive study, the
Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing was published in 1988 (3). This provided
the United States with the framework for establishing drug testing, not only for federal employees,
but contractors and non-mandated industries as well. It is now widely acknowledged that the United
States has the most extensive, medically confidential, and well-designed drug testing program in the
world and has set the standard for drug testing globally.
As the mandated drug testing program for federal employees developed in the early 1990s and the
legal and technical challenges for drug testing were all successfully met, drug testing was embraced
by non-mandated industries such as retail and construction. The non-mandated testing spread using,
as its basis, the Federal mandated program elements that were proven in the field for years.
However, since the international financial crisis there have been questions about the return on
investment for drug testing leading some companies not to implement a drug testing program. These
questions persist at the same time close to a trillion dollars a year are lost to drug abuse in our nation
alone and the benefits of drug testing to help stem this loss are consistently reported (4, 5, 6, 7, 8).
Unfortunately, there has not been any research in this area for over a decade so the Drug and Alcohol
Testing Industry Association (DATIA) funded a project to obtain the current opinions of human
resource professionals about drug testing. DATIA felt this study was important to understand why
some companies still do not have drug testing programs when the data generated by the Quest Return
On Investment calculations suggest that a drug testing program provides a significant return on
investment (9, 10). Also, with the U.S. drug abuse epidemic spreading away from conventional street
drugs such as heroin, marijuana and cocaine to pharmaceuticals, designer drugs, synthetic drugs such as bath salts and spice the employee drug abuse problem will only grow in the future. This shift has been documented and followed since early 2000 by the Office of National Drug Control Policy and
Justice Department, and an action plan has been developed to address this growing problem (11).
Unfortunately there has been little research on the cost benefits of establishing a drug testing program
over the past decade (12, 13, 14, 15). In order to address this question, DATIA commissioned the
Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) to help with the design of the study and the
tabulation of the findings outlined in this report. The study was conducted March 2011.

The Journal of Global Drug Policy and Practice

http://library.constantcontact.com/download/get/file/1105542306869-23/Efficacy+Study+Publication.pdf

Marijuana, Medical, Synthetic, Natural illegal to use and drive or work

USA Mobile Drug Testing reminds you that you will still test positive for Marijuana use even if it is Medical or Synthetic and you can be removed from your job and held liable in an accident

Drug test lands driver accused of killing jogger in jail before trial

A Union Township man, who is charged with killing a jogger while driving high on marijuana, was taken back to jail Friday after testing positive for using a synthetic version of marijuana while on pre-trial release.

Porter County Adult Probation Officer James Taylor said Joseph Ruwaldt, 20, was informed in December he should not be using drugs, yet Ruwaldt revealed during their first meeting Jan. 5 he had used a synthetic marijuana product.

Ruwaldt attempted to explain away his actions by arguing the synthetic product is legal, Taylor said.

After a urine screen returned positive for a synthetic chemical outlawed in Indiana, Ruwaldt admitted a second time to using the synthetic marijuana, Taylor said. The results of a urine test taken last week were not yet available Friday, he said.

Porter County Deputy Prosecutor Andrew Bennett asked for the jail time, saying these latest allegations are not a lot different from the circumstances of the fatal crash case.

“The mindset is still the same,” Bennett said. “He’s still engaging in activities that brought him here in the first place.”

Defense attorney John Vouga said Ruwaldt did not realize the synthetic marijuana in question is illegal.

“This boy’s scared,” Vouga said. “Now he knows not to do it.”

Porter Superior Judge Bill Alexa called the synthetic drug products in question a scourge and likened the accusations to someone being prohibited from drinking beer and yet going on to consume hard alcohol.

“It’s the same basic mindset,” he said.

Police allege Ruwaldt was driving his pickup truck July 31 on County Road 100 North just west of County Road 350 West in Union Township when he struck and killed 62-year-old Ronald Garry Bradley, who was jogging.

During interviews with detectives, Ruwaldt said he had been smoking marijuana the day before the crash and had little sleep before getting behind the wheel.

Ruwaldt formally was charged in late November with eight criminal counts. After a bond reduction, he left jail and was placed on pretrial supervision and monitored by the probation department.

He will remain behind bars until his next hearing Feb. 24.

Department of transportation soon to use ORAL FLUID TESTING for drug screenings

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Administrator Pamela S. Hyde, J.D. approved both of the Drug Testing Advisory Board (DTAB) July, 2011, recommendations:

(1) Based on review of the science, DTAB recommends that SAMHSA include oral fluid as an alternative specimen in the Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs.

(2) DTAB recommends the inclusion of additional Schedule II prescription medications (e.g., oxycodone, oxymorphone, hydrocodone and hydromorphone) in the Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs.

The Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy and Compliance (ODAPC) stated, “the opportunity to address the illicit use and abuse of these additional Schedule II drugs in the transportation industries is an important way to limit their misuse in our communities and a great way to serve transportation safety, while getting those who need treatment into treatment. And please know that oral fluid testing will be a bonus to our regulated transportation industry program; and will certainly serve to assist the DOTs National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in its efforts, with others, to establish national per se laws for Driving Under the Influence of Drugs (DUID).”

DOT is required by law to follow HHS procedures for the drugs for which they test and the specimens they test. Therefore, the DOT will continue to work with the DTAB, HHS/SAHMSA, the Office of National Drug Control Policy, and others to bring these approved recommendations to realization in our regulations and throughout the transportation industries

– DATIA Headquarters

Indiana soon to drug test welfare recipients

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana lawmakers are pushing forward on legislation that would cut off cash assistance to welfare recipients who fail drug tests.

In a 15-5 vote that crossed party lines, the House Committee on Ways and Means approved a bill that would require the state’s Family and Social Services Agency to test out a drug-screening program on a small scale before it was launched statewide.

It now goes to the full House for a vote.

The focus is narrow: The FSSA would implement the drug-screening program in three test counties for a two-year period, then report back to the legislature. The drug-screening would only apply to adults who are receiving cash payments through a program known as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF.

The proposed legislation would allow the state to temporarily cut off the cash assistance to those adults who failed the test if they refused to seek help through a drug-treatment program.

“This bill isn’t designed to be punitive,” said Rep. Jud McMillin, a Republican from Brookville and co-sponsor of the bill. “It’s designed to create incentives for people to make better decisions.”  

Among the yes votes was one from Rep. Scott Pelath, a Democrat from Michigan City. Pelath said his experience working for a mental health center influenced his vote. He said drug addicts have difficulty making good decisions. “To get people into treatment, some coercion may be needed.”  

State welfare agency administrators oppose the bill. During Tuesday’s hearing, an FSSA official said costs for the two-year pilot project would exceed $500,000 to implement.

Adrienne Shields, FSSA’s deputy director of the Division of Family Resources, said that figure doesn’t include legal costs the state might incur if the drug-testing program is challenged in court on constitutional grounds.

After the hearing, McMillin said FSSA administrators may prove to be the biggest obstacle to getting the bill passed and the law implemented.

“I expected there’d be disagreements over the fiscal impact of the legislation,” McMillan said. “What I didn’t expect was to get into a philosophical debate with them over it.”  

A similar bill that would require FSSA to implement the drug-screening program statewide for all TANF recipients appears to be dead in the Senate. Republican Sen. Jean Leising, the bill’s author, said she couldn’t get a hearing on the legislation.

She said she may support the House version. “I think a lot of people want this,” she said. “They don’t want their tax dollars going to support somebody’s drug habit.”  

Only a few states have tried to implement mandatory drug testing for welfare recipients.

A Florida law passed in 2010 that requires mandatory testing is on hold, following a lawsuit that alleges it violates the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment ban on unreasonable search and seizure.

A Missouri law passed last year that gives the state the option of drug-testing TANF recipients suspected of illegal drug use has yet to be implemented, blocked that state’s welfare agency.

In Indiana, about 17,000 people receive cash payments each month through the TANF program. TANF recipients must either be working, looking for work, or be in school or some kind of job-training. A family of four making about $36,000 a year would be eligible to receive up to $346 in cash benefits a month.  

Maureen Hayden covers the Statehouse for the CNHI newspapers in Indiana. She can be reached at maureen.hayden@indianamediagroup.com.

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Nixtrous Oxide Demi’s Drug, you cant predict who is using drugs

Demi’s Drug: What Is Nitrous Oxide?

Actor Demi Moore’s trip to the emergency room was reportedly spurred by an apparent seizure triggered by inhaling the drug nitrous oxide, more commonly known as laughing gas or whippits.

The drug is used legally as an anesthetic and to reduce patients’ anxiety at the dentist’s office, but it is also sold in small cartridges that are intended for use in making whipped cream. These containers can easily be misused by people seeking a high. Although addiction to nitrous is uncommon, its abuse can have serious consequences.

“People who use a lot can [appear to have] something like a seizure,” says Dr. Dennis Bohlin, a Manhattan dentist and expert on addiction in medical professionals, who is himself a former nitrous oxide addict.

“That happened to me,” he says. “Your face and teeth clench and you have muscle contractions that can appear like a seizure.”

Bohlin, who has been in recovery for 29 years, says that while nitrous addiction is rare overall, it can be an occupational hazard for dentists and anesthesiologists who have access to it. Among teens, less than half of one percent suffer from abuse or addiction to the entire class of inhalable drugs, which includes household products and gasoline, as well as whippits.

“I just saw it like ‘Miller Time’ at the end of the day,” Bohlin says, referring to a tagline of Miller beer commercials. “It was there and available. I was stressed and it seemed safer than alcohol. You’re not going to get a DWI while flying in the dental chair, so it was a drug of opportunity.

Outside of a medical setting, nitrous oxide can be dangerous, however. At your dentist’s office, the drug is mixed with oxygen when it is delivered through a mask, but when people inhale it from a balloon or a whipped cream canister at home, it doesn’t allow enough oxygen to get to the brain. “In nitrous oxide, the oxygen is not free for respiration,” Bohlin says. “The biggest danger from whippits is that when you are not using nitrous with oxygen, you can be in a hypoxic state.” If severe hypoxia continues for more than a few minutes, it can lead to brain damage or even death.

The drug also rapidly induces loss of motor control, so if it is taken while standing up, injuries from falls are common. This loss of control usually also has the effect of causing the nonmedical user to drop the balloon, which lets them breathe ordinary air and end the hypoxia.

Nausea is another common side effect. “People can vomit and aspirate the vomit,” says Bohlin, which means they run the risk of choking to death on it. “I know one dentist who died that way.”

Another danger is that long-term chronic nitrous abuse can damage the nerves, causing a condition known as peripheral neuropathy, which involves tingling or loss of sensation and, sometimes, difficulty with movement and coordination. Some research suggests that this results from the ability of nitrous oxide to deplete vitamin B12 levels; high doses of the vitamin are used to treat the condition.

“But no one really knows for sure what causes it,” Bohlin says, adding, “I know one dentist who ended up in wheelchair.”

MBohlin himself developed symptoms of neuropathy when he regularly used nitrous. “My own experience was losing fine motor coordination in my fingers and toes,” a problem that was obviously not conducive to dental practice. Fortunately, he got into recovery and the symptoms receded. “It seems reversible with abstinence for most people,” he says.

One of the challenges for people with nitrous addictions is the rareness of problem. “You get into a drug like that and you feel unique and that mitigates against recovery because you feel weird,” he says. In a support group where most people drink or take common street drugs or painkillers, a nitrous addict can stand out.

Bohlin was able to find support groups where he felt welcome. Since then, for decades, he has been able to maintain his own dental practice utilizing the drug for nervous patients (including this reporter), without relapsing.

Beyond misuse and addiction, other hazards of the drug include increased rates of miscarriage for people who are exposed to it regularly, so pregnant workers in Bohlin’s office and pregnant patients are not exposed to the drug.

It’s unlikely that Demi Moore is actually addicted to nitrous oxide — but if she is, she can take comfort in the fact that many have recovered from this unusual drug problem.

Maia Szalavitz is a health writer at TIME.com. Find her on Twitter at @maiasz. You can also continue the discussion on TIME Healthland’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIMEHealthland.

Read more: http://healthland.time.com/2012/01/26/demis-drug-what-is-nitrous-oxide/#ixzz1kb1hQopR

USA Mobile Drug Testing of Central Long Island, anyone, anytime, anywhere.  For Business or personal testing,urine and hair, DNA Paternity & Immigration

Superbowl Don’t Drink & Drive, on the job, in restaurants, at home!

Great advice from David Gabay, Attorney, With the Super Bowl less than 2 weeks away, many restaurants and bars are busy planning and promoting their Super Bowl parties. Of course, beer and alcohol sales are usually a large component of your Super Bowl event, and every once in a while (I’m told) one or more of your customers is going to get drunk. And since that drunk customer is going to leave your establishment after the game is over, there is some chance that her or she will hurt someone else on their way home. If that actually happens, your restaurant or bar may get sued under New York’s Dram Shop Act.

In light of these facts, now would be a good time to refresh your staff’s understanding of the Dram Shop Act’s requirements and review your company’s policies and procedures for reducing your legal exposure to a lawsuit.

The Law:

The Dram Shop Act provides that a restaurant or bar can be sued for unlawfully sells or assists in procuring alcohol to any person apparently under the age of 21 or who is visible intoxicated. Specifically, New York General Obligations Law § 11-100 and §11-101, and New York Alcoholic Beverage Control Law § 65, are the New York’s Dram Shop Act. Section 11-100 allows for a lawsuit against “any person who knowingly causes such intoxication or impairment of ability by unlawfully furnishing to or unlawfully assisting in procuring alcoholic beverages for such person with knowledge or reasonable cause to believe that such person was under the age of twenty-one years.”

Section 11-101 provides a cause of action against any person who unlawfully sold or assisted in procuring liquor for such intoxicated person and caused or contributed to such intoxication. The unlawful conduct set forth in §11-100 and § 11-101 is defined in New York Alcoholic Beverage Control Law § 65, which provides that “no person
shall sell, deliver or give away or cause or permit or procured to be sold, delivered or given away any alcoholic beverages to (1) Any person, actually or apparently, under twenty-one years and (2) Any visibly intoxicated person.”

These rules apply only to the commercial sale of alcohol, in other words, for profit. There are a number of situations in which the activities in question do not constitute the commercial sale of alcohol. It is important to consult with an experienced restaurant or bar attorney to determine whether your Super Bowl event qualifies for possible Dram Shop liability.

Also, Dram Shop liability can only be imposed in cases where the customer is visibly intoxicated. There are numerous reported Court decisions discussing the type and level of evidence needed to demonstrate that a customer was or was not visibly intoxicated. For all practical purposes, the type and quality of evidence needed to demonstrate visible intoxication is, in my opinion, quite low, which increases your risk of liability in the event a drunk customer leaves your premises and injures someone else.

Finally, liability for serving or procuring alcohol to persons apparently under the age of 21 can be imposed on anyone providing, selling, or helping to sell or provide alcohol to a minor. No commercial sale is required, although actual knowledge or a reasonable belief that the customer is under 21 must be proven. If you did not know of the drinking, did not approve the drinking at your place of business, and did not provide the alcohol to the minor, there should be no liability under the law.

Policies and Procedures:

In order to minimize the risk to your business of a Dram Shop lawsuit, you should have detailed written procedures for your staff to follow for serving alcohol to customers. The two (2) main areas to address are: (a) reviewing and recording the identification of customers, (2) rules and training for servers to help them know when to stop serving alcohol to a customer. These policies can and should be custom tailored to the requirements of your business, and there are a number of restaurant consultants or lawyers who can assist you in developing and executing appropriate policies.

Your rules and procedures should be distributed to all responsible staff, the staff should acknowledge receipt of the policies in writing, and you should certainly have at least one training or review session just prior to opening of business on Super Bowl Sunday.

For more information on reducing Dram Shop liability or for help developing Dram Shop policies and procedures, please contact me. Otherwise…..go Giants!

Posted by The Law Offices of David A. Gabay, PC |

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New York facts on driving while impaired

Under Section 1192 of the Consolidated Laws of New York, no person shall operate a motor vehicle while the person’s ability to do so is impaired by the use of a drug, as listed and defined elsewhere in the statute. Proof required: that the person was operating a motor vehicle in New York while using a drug, and that the drug impaired the person’s ability to operate the vehicle. No possible defenses are found. Refusal to submit to a drug test is admissible in civil and criminal cases.
Source: A State-by-State Analysis of Laws Dealing With Driving Under the Influence of Drugs, by the Walsh Group for the National Highway Traffic Safety

ONDCP Action on Drugged Driving
In 2007, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that one in eight weekend, nighttime drivers tested positive for illicit drugs. According to recent Fatal Accident Reporting System (FARS) data, one in three motor vehicle fatalities (33 percent) with known drug test results tested positive for drugs in 2009. Recognizing this growing problem, ONDCP is working to raise awareness of the dangers of drugged driving, provide increased training to law enforcement in identifying drugged drivers, and encourage states to consider Per Se laws to facilitate effective enforcement and prosecution of those who drive with drugs in their systems.

New York At-a-Glance:
In 2008, New York was one of the top ten states for drug-use rates in several categories: past-month marijuana use among young adults age 18-25; past-year cocaine use among persons age 12 and older; illicit drug dependence among persons age 12 and older; and illicit drug dependence among young adults age 18-25.
Heroin is the most commonly cited drug among primary drug treatment admissions in New York.

Substance use and abuse is a concern for employers both drug and alcohol.

Substance Abuse in the Workplace Fact Sheet

Substance use and abuse is not necessarily limited to after work hours, leading to the risk of impairment on the job. An estimated 3.1 percent of employed adults actually used illicit drugs before reporting to work or during work hours at least once in the past year, with about 2.9 percent working while under the influence of an illicit drug.
• An estimated 1.8 percent of employed adults consumed alcohol before coming to work, and 7.1 percent drank alcohol during the workday. Journal of Applied Psychology, Journal of Studies on Alcohol Impact of substance use on the workplace
Workers reporting substance use and abuse have higher rates of turnover and absenteeism, are more likely to have worked for more than three employers in the past year, are more likely to have skipped work more than two days in the past month, and were also more likely to have missed more than two days of work due to illness or injury.

Small businesses most vulnerable
Smaller firms may be particularly disadvantaged by worker substance use and abuse. For example, while about half of all U.S. employees work for small and medium sized businesses (those with fewer than 500 employees), about nine in ten employed current illicit drug users and almost nine in ten employed heavy drinkers work for small and medium sized firms. Likewise, about nine in ten full-time workers with alcohol or illicit drug dependence or abuse are employed by small and medium size firms. However, smaller firms are generally less likely to test for substance use.

– Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
The impact of employee substance use and abuse is a problem that extends beyond the substance-using employee.
There is evidence of co-worker job performance and attitudes being negatively affected. Workers have reported being put in danger, having been injured, having had to work harder, to re-do work, or to cover for a co-worker as a result of a fellow employee’s drinking.
. Most drug users, binge and heavy drinkers, and people with substance use disorders are employed. A 2007 survey found that:
• Of the 17.4 million current illicit drug users age 18 and over, more than 75% were employed.
• Similarly, among 55.3 million adult binge drinkers, nearly 80% were employed, as were 16.4 million heavy drinkers.
• Of the 20.4 million adults classified with substance dependence or abuse, over 60% were employed full-time.
– 2007 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH)
The prevalence of substance use among workers is lower than the prevalence among the unemployed, but a sizeable number of employed individuals use drugs and alcohol.
• 8.4 percent of those employed full-time were current illicit drug users, and 8.8 percent reported heavy
alcohol use.• –
– Employee Assistance Quarterly, JSI Research & Training Institute
– U.S. Census Bureau, SAMHSA 

Report from National Drug-Free Workplace Alliance      http://www.ndwa.org

Are you testing for the latest drugs of abuse?

For many years, the standard workplace drug test has been what is called the “5 panel” drug test.  This includes Marijuana, Cocaine, Phencyclidine (PCP), Opiates and Amphetamine. Testing for Federal Workplace programs (Federal employees) and for Department of Transportation (DOT) programs require this 5 panel drug test. Up until October 10, 2011 this mandated 5panel test did not includes testing for 6-AM (heroin metabolite 6-acetylmorphine) in the Opiates panel as well as Methamphetamine and MDMA (Ecstasy) in the Amphetamine panel.  So currently Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) regulations now require for Federal programs and DOT programs the new “5 panel” drug test

  • Marijuana
  • Cocaine
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)
  • Opiates: Codeine, Morphine, 6-AM
  • Amphetamines: Amphetamine, Methamphetamine, MDMA (Ecstasy)

Is this enough?

Every day in the media we read about the problems in America with the abuse of prescription drugs. The nationwide surge in deaths now places prescription drug overdoses as the second leading cause of accidental death behind traffic crashes and painkillers as the top narcotic contributing to death. Many states, particularly Florida, have become havens for pill mills.  “Pill mill’ is a term used primarily by local and state investigators to describe a doctor, clinic or pharmacy that is prescribing or dispensing powerful narcotics inappropriately or for non-medical reasons.  Most often these are Opiate pills such as such as hydromorphone, oxycodone, and hydrocodone – does the new required 5 panel test for these drugs?  The answer is “No”.  An expanded opiate panel is required to detect these drugs and SAMHSA does not allow these expanded panels for regulated testing.

For non-regulated or non-DOT drug testing there is a solution to help detect applicant and employee abuse of prescription drug use.  SAMHSA certified laboratories do offer testing for additional drug panels; a ten panel test has been around for over ten years for urine testing.  Unfortunately expanded panel testing is limited for oral fluid/salvia testing and hair testing.

USA Mobile Drug Testing compliance consultants recommend a 10 panel drug test with expanded opiates – this includes: Marijuana, Cocaine, Phencyclidine (PCP), Opiates, Amphetamines, Barbituates, Benzodiazepines, Methadone, Propoxyphene and Methaqualone. It is important to request from your laboratory that the Amphetamines panel include Methamphetamine and MDMA (Ecstasy) and the Opiates panel include Hydrocodone, Hydromorphone, Oxycodone, Oxymorphone and the heroin metabolite 6-acetylmorphine (6AM). The expanded panel will help employers accomplish the goals of their drug free workplace program.  Laboratories charge extra fees for this expanded panel but really only a few dollars more and well worth the investment to deter employees from using drugs in the workplace

Part 2 – Spice, K2, bath salts, K3, Buzz, Pulse, Hush, Mystery, Stinger

Besides the highly published opiate problem in America – a new issues continue to develop.   A new market for synthetic chemicals has emerged –Bath Salts, Spice, K-2 and others. Nearly a dozen states and several cities are banning or debating bans on K2, Spice — a packet of herbs coated with a synthetic chemical that mimics a marijuana high when it’s smoked — amid fears that its use is spreading among young people.  Synthetic cannabinoids are chemical compounds that mimic the effects of THC, the principle active ingredient of cannabis.  These psychoactive research chemicals are frequently being sprayed on herbal mixtures and sold as “fake weed” or “synthetic marijuana.”

All over the U.S., bath salts are being sold with names like “Ivory Wave,” “White Lightning” and “Hurricane Charlie.”  But these aren’t your average bath salts that you pour into the bathtub to soak in after a long, hard day to relax – these so-called bath salts are intended to be snorted, smoked or injected – and users are getting high off of them.

The synthetic marijuana and bath salts are highly addictive and highly dangerous.  The chemicals used in these products are very potent and the strength and content may vary greatly. They affect behavior, judgment and health and can cause serious harm when used.

“Bath salts” may cause increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, anxiety, hallucinations, paranoia, chest pains, and other harmful effects. There have been reports of car crashes, self-mutilations, suicides and homicides linked to the use of these drugs.

Unfortunately this new breed of drugs is not being detected in Federal and DOT drug test panels or in standard workplace drug test panels.  In many areas of the country, young folks are currently using these drugs to avoid detection in standard drug testing panels. Following a single low dose exposure, synthetic cannabinoids can be detected up to 72 hours in human urine. In cases of chronic exposure the window of detection is much longer.  USA Mobile Drug Testing compliance specialists can provide drug testing for bath salts, Spice, K-2 and other new synthetic drugs.  This additional testing must be specified in advance on the drug testing account.

Whether it is for expanded opiate testing or detection of bath salts and synthetic marijuana; employers must update their drug free workplace policies to reflect what is being tested for.  USA Mobile Drug Testing compliance consultants are available for policy consultation to update drug free workplace polices for any kind of expanded testing program.

Bill calls for random drug tests for police, firefighters, troopers

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Random drug tests could become a job requirement for police officers in the state of Washington. http://westseattle.komonews.com/news/crime/707268-bill-calls-random-drug-tests-police-firefighters-troopers

The legislation is being introduced just days after a Seattle police officer took his own life when confronted about cocaine that didn’t make it to an evidence locker.

Rep. Mike Hope, an officer with the Seattle Police Department, believes he and his co-workers should be randomly drug-tested on a routine basis.

Hope, R-Lake Stevens, plans to introduce a bill this week to require such tests not only for police, but also firefighters and state troopers as well.

“That way, you’re not jeopardizing public safety across Washington state,” he said.

Lawmakers have proposed similar bills in past years, but the suicide of Seattle Officer Rick Nelson last week brought it back to the forefront. Nelson was allowed to continue working in patrol even though Seattle police commanders say they suspected he was using drugs.

“Somebody thinks it’s appropriate to allow somebody to go back to duty and carry a gun, and wear a badge, and drive a vehicle potentially intoxicated, and I don’t think we should allow for that,” said Hope.

The House will also consider a second bill by Hope requiring public safety agencies to place employees who use drugs on administrative leave immediately once probable cause is established.

Nelson was arrested after he failed a so-called “integrity test” when he didn’t book cocaine into evidence and kept it for himself. He shot himself a few hours after his arrest.

“People could have reached out to that person, and that tragedy may not have happened,” Hope said.

Hope says new police recruits must undergo drug testing, and there’s no reason to stop there.

“We are a very professional group of people, and we also need to have high standards,” he said.

Seattle police declined a request for an on-camera interview, and would only say their job is to enforce the law, not comment on proposals that belong under collective bargaining in union contracts

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