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Archive for the month “September, 2012”

Major trucking leaders continue to advocate for the option of drug testing using hair instead of urine in federally mandated company driver pre-employment screening and random testing.

The federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration sets mandatory guidelines for Department of Transportation’s commercial driver drug testing. In 2004, it considered using hair testing and later concluded the proposal needed further research.

Hair testing is much more difficult to tamper with to avoid a positive result than urine analysis, wrote Schneider National’s Don Osterberg in a July 30 Transport Topics opinion piece. The senior vice president of the Wisconsin carrier stated hair testing detects drug use over several months versus urine tests, which indicate drug use from the last 24 to 48 hours.

In 2008, Schneider began including hair testing in its pre-hiring process for drivers before adding it to the company’s random-testing program in 2011. As of last June, 120 prospective drivers failed the urine test, but 1,400 prospective drivers had drug-positive hair tests.

J.B. Hunt, Gordon Trucking, C.R. England and Roehl Transport are among carriers that conduct hair tests, in addition to urine tests.

Last year, England added hair testing after the Utah carrier’s trial run indicated hair tested positive at a rate of three times higher than urine alone.

American Trucking Association members that implemented hair testing detected drug use in nearly 2.4 to 10.4 percent more drivers than urine analysis alone, says Abigail Potter, an ATA researcher, who spoke to the SAMHSA Drug Testing Advisory Board last January.

Two years earlier, Potter had submitted comments to the Office of the Secretary of Transportation’s on Procedures for Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing. The association urged OST and Health and Human Services to “aggressively evaluate” using hair and other alternative specimens. The OST should partner with ATA for a pilot program evaluating hair testing by carriers, it added.

In 2006, J.B. Hunt began using hair testing and the following year, Hunt’s senior vice president, Greer Woodruff, testified before Congress on its effectiveness. The ATA wanted SAMHSA and DOT to issue rulemaking to allow hair as an alternative testing method.

By 2011, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration indicated the Arkansas-based carrier’s rate of positive urine tests had dropped 75 percent through using hair samples, according to the Transportation Research Board.

Gordon Trucking began testing urine and hair following a testing period using both methods from July to September 2011. Of the 170 drivers screened, hair testing detected 10 positive candidates that would have otherwise been hired, the Washington truckload carrier reported.

A personal statement from an Opiate user turned Heroin addict

Opiates? I have been prescribed opiates for 15years and I never had problems with them or got “High” from them – I strickly took them for severe back pain and RA.

But 3 years ago, at the age of 37 I decided to try Heroin…. My life has never been the same!

Heroin unlocks a door that can never be closed! I am not your typical drug addict – I have 3 college degrees including a masters degree and I great job! I never tried drugs before…. EVERYDAY I regret my decision to ‘try’ Heroin…. I dont know what the right or wrong answer is or what causes some people to be Opiate Addicts… But it can happen to anyone! Trust Me!

I dont want to do drugs everyday – I HATE IT! But there is something that Herion changed in my brain and it just calls my name. I take them just to take them – I dont even get high anymore. I was able to quit once for a few months… but it came calling again.

Please look up the stats – There is a 95% Failure rate to stay clean AND Millions of people in this country are stuck fighting this! Rehabs/AA dont really help with powerful opiates. I pray that the govt does some more research and come up with something to help us win the battle over Opiates! But the drug companies make so much money off of the scripts! Maybe they can start by reforumulating the legal meds cuz more than 50% of Opiate Addicts are on Legal Scripts (Ex: Vicdin, Oxycontin)… We need to do more research on dopamine and how the brain handles opiates…… Sick and Tired of being Sick and Tired!

Found posted on a website,this is a true personal statement.

Got Drugs?? National Take Back Day DEA September 29, 2012 at Police Depts, Hospitals etc.

National Take-Back Day

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has scheduled another National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, to be held on Saturday, September 29, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

This is a great opportunity for those who missed the previous events, or who have subsequently accumulated unwanted, unused prescription drugs, to dispose of those medications easily and safely.  Citizens who participated in the DEA’s most recent take-back event this past April turned in a record-breaking 552,161 pounds (276 tons) of unwanted or expired medications for safe and proper disposal at the 5,659 take-back sites that were available in all 50 states and U.S. territories.

For more information, including a Collection Site Locator and a Partnership Toolbox, visit DEA’s website:  http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback/

 


The New Killer Drug Every Parent Should Know About, 2C-I or ‘Smiles’

Witnesses described the 17-year-old boy as “shaking, growling, foaming at the mouth.”According to police reports, Elijah Stai was at a McDonald’s with his friend when he began to feel ill. Soon after, he “started to smash his head against the ground” and began acting “possessed,” according to a witness. Two hours later, he had stopped breathing.

The Grand Forks, North Dakota teenager’s fatal overdose has been blamed on a drug called 2C-I. The night before Stai’s overdose, another area teen, Christian Bjerk, 18, was found face down on a sidewalk. His death was also linked to the drug.

2C-I–known by its eerie street name “Smiles”–has become a serious problem in the Grand Forks area, according to local police. Overdoses of the drug have also be reported in Indiana and Minnesota. But if the internet is any indication, Smiles is on the rise all over the country.

DEA cracks down on new versions of hard drugs

“At the moment I am completely and fully submerged, if you can’t tell by my eyes, in a psychedelic world known as 2C-I,” says a man who appears to be in his late teens or early 20s on a YouTube video posted back in October. His pupils are dilated. He struggles to formulate a description of what he’s feeling-it’s hard to tell if its because his experience is profound or if his speech skills are simply blunted. He’s one of dozens of users providing Youtube “reports” of their experiences on the synthetic drug.

Smile’s effects have been called a combination of MDMA and LSD, only far more potent. Users have reported a speedy charge along with intense visual and aural hallucinations that can last anywhere from hours to days.

“At first I’d think something was extremely beautiful and then it look really strange,” another user says in a recorded online account.”I looked at my girlfriend’s face for a minute and it was pitch black…the black started dripping out of her eye.”

Because the drug is relatively new–it first surfaced around 2003 in European party scenes and only recently made its way to the states–the most readily accessible information about 2C-I comes from user accounts, many of which detail frightening experiences.

Elijah Stai’s fatal overdose has prompted a crackdown on the drug in North Dakota.

On an internet forum one user describes the high as a “roller coaster ride through hell,” while another warns “do not drive on this drug,” after recounting his own failed attempt on the roadway.

Over the past few years, synthetic drugs like K-2, Spice and Bath Salts, have become increasing popular with teenagers and young adults. Their ingredients are relatively easy to obtain and order online and until recently, they weren’t classified as illegal substances. But as they come under legal scrutiny, one by one, they’ve triggered a domino effect of newer, altered, and more potent versions.

“I think [the drugs] just keep changing to try to circumvent the law,” Lindsay Wold, a detective with the Grand Forks police department, told Yahoo Shine. “Anytime we try to figure something out, it changes.” Since July, her department has launched an awareness campaign in an effort to crack down on 2C-I’s growing popularity with teens and young adults in the area. While reports of overdoses have spiked, Wold says it’s difficult to measure it’s growth in numbers.

The horrifying side effects of Bath Salts drug

According data obtained by the American Association of Poison Control, half of those exposed to 2C-I in 2011 were teenagers. That statistic was before two fatalities and multiple overdoses were linked to the drug in North Dakota.

“The unfortunate thing is if kids who are overdosing on 2C-I go in to the hospital with a physical problem, a lot of times they can’t test for it so it doesn’t show up as a drug overdose,” says Wold.

The fact that 2C-I is untraceable in tests makes it more of a challenge for doctors to treat. It also contributes to drug’s growing popularity among high school and college-age kids.

“Synthetic drugs don’t generally show up on drug tests and that’s made it popular with young adults, as well as people entering the military, college athletes, or anyone who gets tested for drugs,” Barbara Carreno, a spokesperson for the Drug Enforcement Agency, tells Shine.

2C-I may be undetected in drug tests, but it’s effects are evident in emergency rooms.

According to James Mowry, the director of Indiana’s Poison Control Center, 2-CI overdoses–on the rise in the state–and have been known to cause seizures, kidney failure, and fatally high blood pressure.

“They do something that is called ‘uncoupling.” Mowry told an Indianapolis news station this month. “Basically, their muscles get to the point they cannot uncontract, so they sort of get rigid and then your temperature goes up really high and if you don’t treat them really aggressively, those people usually end up dying.”

Officials are taking aggressive measures to address this new national drug problem. In July, the DEA announced Operation Log Jam, the first nationwide coordinated US Law enforcement strike specifically targeting designer synthetic drugs. That same month, 2C-I was classified as a Schedule 1 subtance, making possession and distribution of the drug illegal. Those caught distributing even a small amount are facing serious criminal charges. Stai’s friend, who allegedly obtained the drug that caused his overdose, has been charged with third degree murder.

While the drug’s potential for overdose is apparent, the specific cases of fatalities are confounding. According to one site designed as a “fact sheet” for users, the dosage of the drug, which also comes as a liquid or a pill, is difficult to measure in powder form. When users snort the drug they could end up taking more than they realize, prompting an overdose. But in the case of Stai, the powder wasn’t snorted, but melted into a chocolate bar and eaten.

Some speculate those “hobby chemists”–making the drug using powders shipped from China, acetone and plant-based materials–are to blame for concocting particularly strong or toxic batches.

“Anybody with a little money to front can import chemicals, mix, and sell it,” says Carreno. “Many of these types of drugs were originally designed for research to be used on animals, not people.” In fact, 2C-I was first synthesized by Alexander Shulgin, a psychopharmacologist and scientific researcher. He’s responsible for identifying the chemical make-up of the so-called “2C” family, a group of hyper-potent psychedelic synthetics. In 2011, 2C-E, a twin sister drug to 2C-I, was blamed for the death of a Minnesota teenager and the overdose of 11 others.

Because of his medical research, Shulgin has unintentionally become a godfather of the synthetic drug movement, and his work has been reprinted and reduced to plain language on drug-related web forums.

“Drugs used to take longer to get around but now with the internet they can spread by word of mouth online,” says Carreno. If drugs like Smiles are as viral as an internet meme, they have a similarly brief life-span. Already, a newer, re-booted version of the drug is cropping up on the other side of the planet, and by early accounts it’s terrifying.

The new drug called 25b-Nbome, is a derivative of 2C-I, that’s sold in tab form. This past month, the drug has been linked to the non-fatal overdoses of two young adults in Perth, Australia. It’s also be blamed for the death of a young man in the same area, who died after repeatedly slamming his body into trees and power line poles while high on the drug.

“Overdose on these drugs is a reality… and can obviously result in dire consequences,” a Perth police department official warned.

It isn’t obvious to everyone. “I can’t recommend for anyone to go out and use this legally,” says one alleged 2C-I user in a YouTube video with 12,000 views, “but why not?”

By  | Healthy Living

Pre-Employment Drug Testing Reduces Turnover

In 2011, for the first time, drug overdose deaths in the US exceeded the number of motor vehicle fatalities, showing that drug abuse is becoming more and more prevalent in our society.  Employees who do drugs often have a greater turnover rate, costing employers fiscally.  Pre-employment drug testing is a way to limit turnover, by detecting which applicants are likely to miss work, raise insurance premiums, have performance issues and ultimately have a higher separation rate due to being under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Workflow and Cost Efficiency 

        The Department of Labor states that the average cost of turnover is equal to 150% of the annual salary of an exempt employee.  SHRM has the lowest rate with $3,500 to replace one $8 per hour employee. These costs include recruiting, interviewing, hiring, training, reduced productivity, and business costs.  Pre-employment drug testing identifies prospective employees likely to demonstrate substance abuse issues on the job, reducing the chance of hiring unreliable workers while improving the potential longevity of the workforce.

Identifying Employees Subject to Untimely Separation
Identifying these employees prior to hiring benefits your company; culturally, operationally and fiscally.  About 75% of the nation’s substance abusers maintain employment, though this does not mean they maintain occupational longevity. Pre-employment drug testing is a dependable method of saving the firm time and money, while improving performance

Favorable Legal Environment
Pre-employment drug testing is increasingly a condition for employment as is continued testing (random, reasonable suspicion, post accident), causing legal questions about screening prospective employees.  Opponents contend screening violates individuals’ Fourth Amendment rights, wherein drug testing is an unwarranted search of person.  Despite arguments that the collection and analysis of biological samples constitute personal searches subject to Fourth Amendment protection, a number of compelling interests are served by testing.  The US Supreme Court has ruled that requiring employees to produce urine samples constitutes a “search” within the means of the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution.  It is critical that testing is handled with the proper protocol by your compliance specialist, then your company is protected legally.

Benefits of Pre-employment Testing 
In addition to improving the bottom line for firms small to large, pre-employment drug testing provides measurable health and safety benefits.  Rather than off-site testing, implementing on-premise tests removes the opportunity to have the potential employee substituted at the testing site, stop to purchase an adulteration, or cause addition liability for the company.  I’ve had several calls about employees having a substitute take their ‘test’ for them.  Very interesting when an employee sends someone to the lab in their stead with a false ID or they look so similar that the technician does not notice.  In house mobile testing generates greater company control of testing processes, and reduces the time an employee is away from work.

Evidence suggests pre-employment testing will result in:
•  lower employee turnover,
•  increased employee productivity,
•  diminished absenteeism,
•  lower costs for workman’s compensation,
•  decreased health insurance expenses, and
•  improved workplace safety.

Conclusion
Regarding legal regulations governing pre-employment testing privacy concerns are understandable; drug testing must be enacted with due cause and according to proper protocol, by your compliance specialist.   Prospective employees can refuse to be tested, pre-screening is voluntary.  The fact a job may be withheld if one refuses testing, for the company the larger concern is for safety and company liability.   In the climate of today’s society pre-employment testing is both beneficial and necessary.

Checking out the caregivers: You would expect somebody to have drug testing, background checks

at least in the states that they previously lived or that they worked in, good supervision, and that they should be tested prior to coming to the household.”

Researchers say some agencies that provide in-home caregivers for the elderly show a don’t-care attitude about the people they hire.

At Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, researchers called 180 agencies nationwide, posing as people wanting to hire someone to care for an older relative. Researcher Lee Lindquist says some agencies did very well. But she says others did not give prospective employees drug tests or federal background screening.
Lindquist says:
“You would expect somebody to have drug testing, background checks at least in the states that they previously lived or that they worked in, good supervision, and that they should be tested prior to coming to the household.”
The study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society was supported by the National Institutes of Health.
Learn more at healthfinder.gov.

HHS HealthBeat (September 13, 2012)

What is a Consortium? Should you consider joining one for your random drug testing?

 

Did you know that if you hold a CDL license and are required to operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) greater than 26,000 CGVWR, or you are transporting more than 16 passengers, or you are hauling placarded hazardous materials of any kind on the public roadways, you must be DOT drug and alcohol pre-employment tested? The FMCSA has ruled that no employer shall allow a driver to perform a safety-sensitive function until they have received a negative result of that test. “Safety-sensitive function” means all time from when a driver begins to work or is required to be in readiness to work until he/she is relieved from work and all responsibility for performing work.

You are also required to be part of a random testing selection pool. This pool must randomly test drivers who perform safety-sensitive functions at a minimum annual percentage rate of 10% for alcohol and 50% for controlled substances. All drivers must have an equal chance of getting tested and cannot be forewarned of selection.

Random testing for DOT drug and alcohol testing programs is required.  For smaller companies a Consortium easily manages the random drug/alcohol testing. There is no minimum or maximum number of drivers to be in a consortium.  In fact, a one driver company must be in a consortium.

Currently USA Mobile Drug testing of  Central Long Island can sign up the small trucking and bus companies and enroll them into our consortium. This consists of companies throughout the USA. Call or email us for more information on how this can help you with compliance. Central.longisland@usamdt.com

New Study of Employee Substance Use Shows the Need for Supervisor Training for drug and alcohol use

So you drug test your employees, now what?  TRAINING, TRAINING, TRAINING! Training is not only a key aspect of solidifying your drug testing investment it is also required in most cases.   If you are testing as part of the DOT, then you  have required supervisor and employee education as part of your compliance.

Why is  drug & alcohol training important? Supervisors and managers are typically trained on how to measure workforce productivity, manage their budgets or costs, or oversee projects and deadlines but do they really know whether another employee is using a substance on the job?  A new study from the University at Buffalo Research Institute on Addictions (RIA) has found that managers need to do more than just be around their employees all day.  They need training.  Training on drugs and alcohol.  The study interviewed 2,429 participants ranging in age from 18-65, all with civilian jobs. It was found that workers reported drinking less on the job when they thought their manager knew how to detect substance abuse and took corrective action.  The same was found true for those using drugs while working.

As Compliance Consultants we have a heavy concentration on Education.  Subjects include but are not limited to:

  • Reasonable Suspicion-Signs and Symptoms
  • Drugs & Alochol Awareness
  • Designated Employer Roles/Responsibilities
  • Drug Free Workplace ROI
  • Employee & Supervisor Education
  • Reduced Exposure/Workers’ Comp

Training opportunities available via online courses which can be ordered from USA MDT at central.longisland@usamdt.com OR 

We currently are offering the DOT required supervisor training, which anyone can benefit from, on September 18, 2012.

USA Mobile Drug Testing will host a Supervisor Training Webinar on Thursday, September 18, 2012 from 10am – 12 noon MST, 10am – 12 noon PDT and 1pm – 3pm EDT. Joe Reilly, Senior Compliance Officer for USA Mobile Drug Testing will conduct the webinar.  All participants will receive handouts and a certificate of completion. For more information and to register for the training on 09/18/2012 http://usamdt.com/webinars/supervisor-training-webinar/  or call Call 800-851-2021 for additional program information.  This date only is offered for only $15.00 for a live webinar.

Companies regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) are required to have supervisors trained for reasonable suspicion drug testing. Section 382.603 of the FMCSA regulations states: “§ 382.603 ‐ Training for supervisors. Each employer shall ensure that all persons designated to supervise drivers receive at least 60 minutes of training on alcohol misuse and receive at least an additional 60 minutes of training on controlled substances use. The training will be used by the supervisors to determine whether reasonable suspicion exists to require a driver to undergo testing under §382.307. The training shall include the physical, behavioral, speech, and performance indicators of probable alcohol misuse and use of controlled substances.”  This training will comply with the requirements of Section 382.603 of the FMCSA regulations.

 

Employees can’t pass pre-employment drug tests, some are pre-testing themselves to be sure..

The directors of The Employment Source and the Tuscarawas County Chamber of Commerce say they are concerned about a growing trend: Individuals unable to enter the job market because they can’t pass initial drug screenings.

“It’s a real frustration for local companies because of the large number of applicants that fail a drug screening,” said Scott Robinson, president and chief executive officer of the Tuscarawas County Chamber of Commerce.

Local companies have brought the issue to his attention, Robinson said.

Now, The Employment Source and the chamber, along with other organizations, are working together to conduct a survey to identify work force needs in the county. Robinson said they hope to learn exactly how much drugs and alcohol are interfering with the county work force.

Liz Carter runs Elizabeth Carter Consulting, based in New Concord. She specializes in training in the oil and gas industry. A former human resources coordinator for a large oil and gas company, Carter said there is a problem.

“Based on my personal experience, I would say that at least one out of 15 potential employees would test positive for pre-employment drug testing. However, most employees are aware that they will have to test for a job, so they clean up before they apply,” she said.

Drug testing, she said, was a requirement and employees were subject to random drug tests, noting that a higher percentage of new hires would test positive in their second round of drug screens.

Employees most commonly test positive for marijuana and prescription medications, Carter said. If they are found to have prescription drugs in their system, a medical review officer gives the employees a chance to prove their medication has been prescribed by a doctor. If they can’t prove it, they are fired.

“This is getting to be a big problem, I believe, not only in this industry, but all industries,” she said.

While David Schaffer can’t speak specifically about the work force, he can identify issues in the community. Schaffer is executive director of the Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board.

Schaffer said 764 Tuscarawas County residents were admitted for alcohol and other drug abuse to local treatment agencies in the past eight months. The top three diagnoses were alcohol dependence, marijuana abuse and opioid dependence (heroin and prescription narcotics). The majority of users were found to be between 18 and 50 years old.

Schaffer couldn’t say how many of these individuals were employed or looking for jobs.

Lower health insurance premiums by instituting smoke free employees

USA Mobile Drug Testing not only offers a drug free work place, but testing for nicotine usage to help reduce high insurance premiums.  Many companies are enforcing smoke free employees, offering incentives to stop smoking thus lower premiums, and testing their staff to ensure they maintain their non-smoking status. 

Nicotine or its primary metabolite cotinine are most often tested to evaluate tobacco use. Long-term use of tobacco products can increase the risk of developing many diseases including lung cancerCOPDstrokeheart disease, and respiratory infections, or exacerbate asthma, and blood clot formation. In pregnant women, smoking can retard fetal growth and lead to low birth weight babies.

Because use of tobacco products can greatly affect the health of individuals, companies may use nicotine/cotinine testing to evaluate prospective employees for tobacco use. Many health and life insurance companies test applicants for nicotine or cotinine as well.

Many of the new policies expand on smoke-free workplace rules. At Bon Secours Virginia Health System, more than 300 employees have kicked the habit since its campuses went smoke-free in 2009, says administrative director Kim Coleman.

The bottom line will benefit because health care costs for tobacco users are $3,000 to $4,000 more each year than for non-smokers, says Bon Secours’ Cindy Stutts. “There’s also an impact on productivity,” she says, because smokers take more breaks.

 

Each year, smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke causes 443,000 premature deaths and costs the nation $193 billion in health bills and lost productivity, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC says 19.3% of U.S. adults smoked last year, down from 42.4% in 1965.

 

Nicotine and cotinine can both be measured qualitatively or quantitatively. Quantitative testing can help distinguish between active smokers, tobacco users who have recently quit, non-tobacco-users who have been exposed to significant environmental tobacco smoke, and non-users who have not been exposed.

When a person has reported that he or she is using nicotine replacement products but is no longer smoking, nicotine, cotinine, and urine anabasine measurements may sometimes be ordered. Anabasine is present in tobacco but not in commercial nicotine replacement products. If a sample tests positive for anabasine, then the person is still using tobacco products.

USA Mobile can perform urine testing for nicotine as an addition to drug testing, or as a test by itself.  We can customize any urine tests for your needs.  Just contact us at central.longisland@usamdt.com

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