According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 200 people died from drug overdoses each day in 2017, A 68% increase from 2016. On average, 130 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose. Roughly $26 billion is spent annually on treatment services, lost productivity, and criminal justice involvement. The dramatic escalation of illicit drug overdoses has been linked to synthetic narcotics such as fentanyl; the issue of drug misuse is a problem for everyone.
While substance abuse does not discriminate, certain factors may make an individual more susceptible. Genetics, psychological makeup, and environment can all play a role. Experts say the United States is in the throes of an Opioid epidemic as more than two million Americans have become either dependent on or abused prescription pain pills and street drugs such as Heroin. People who become dependent on prescription painkillers, but cannot obtain them legally, often switch to heroin. They are seeking both the euphoric high associated with Opiates and pain relief.
Where do we go from here? Education on the dangers of these powerful painkillers and careful monitoring by prescribing physicians is vital. Employers and families must recognize this is a real problem that cannot be ignored.
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THC in marijuana is linked to adverse changes in appearance, behavior, and job performance. The use of marijuana in the workplace is a safety risk. Marijuana use affects depth perception, reaction time, coordination, and other motor skills. Some studies say that 1 to 2 joints will decrease motor skills by as much as 70%.
According to a study reported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, employees who tested positive for Marijuana were associated with 55% more industrial accidents, 85% more injuries, and a 75% higher absenteeism rate than those who tested negative. Employees using marijuana contribute to decreased productivity, increased worker compensation and unemployment compensation claims, high turnover, and lawsuits. Some studies put the cost of employees who abuse drugs at $7,000 per employee per year and this does not include unemployment claims or legal action.
It is important to remember that, according to federal law, marijuana is still illegal. The DEA continues to classify marijuana as a Schedule I drug, which means that it has no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Federal law supersedes state law. Employers must decide how they want to position themselves as an organization. A robust workplace drug policy can go a long way in keeping your organization safe and drug-free.
Studies show drug testing works; employees are three times less likely to produce a positive test result if they know they will be tested. Drug testing is primarily a deterrent; if you choose to implement a drug testing program, you will need a substance abuse policy. A substance abuse policy should consist of:
- Proper management training that encourages managers to enforce the policy
- Access to support for employees with drug problems, which can range from a formal assistance program to a referral to local resource
- Clearly defined use and possession parameters for employees
- Established rules for post-accident testing
- Rules on how you will handle an employee’s conviction or arrest.
Your drug policy must be very specific and supported by workplace procedures to reduce the chance of litigation. Drug policy and workplace procedures should be reviewed by a lawyer to ensure they comply with state laws. And, policies must be updated frequently to keep up with changing laws and attitudes. The health and safety of your workforce depend on it!
If you would like our help in creating a workplace policy, give us a call at 1.800.452.0030, ext. 0!
Would oral fluid testing work in your workplace? For 30 years, the most widely used testing method has been urine drug testing. Why should you look at oral testing instead? Oral fluid testing detects recent drug use and may also identify current usage that may not be captured by urine testing. While oral Fluid has a shorter detection window depending on the drug/metabolite and usage pattern, recent research has shown that oral screening has a higher positivity rate for almost all drugs.
What are some advantages of oral fluid testing? The industry sees oral fluid drug testing as a reliable testing method. The collection process is always directly observed, which helps reduce the opportunity for a donor to adulterate or tamper with their specimen. Both the urine and oral fluid testing can include specimen validity testing, which tells the laboratory if the sample is “human saliva” or “human urine.” The turnaround time is often quicker; most normal negative oral fluid tests will result back to the client the same day that the lab receives them.
Currently, oral fluid drug testing can only be used by Non-DOT workplaces. However, it is being reviewed as a potentially viable alternative to urine for employees regulated by the Department of Transportation. If you are interested in looking into oral fluid testing, give our office a call! 1.800.452.0030
Nationwide Testing Association, Inc. was founded in 1981 as a provider of substance abuse testing programs. Substance abuse management is one of the better tools in the prevention of any potential threats to staff, customers, and shareholders. It also helps businesses reduce costs associated with absenteeism, accidents, liabilities, and counter productivity. NTA, Inc. designs a substance abuse testing program to fit the client’s needs. We understand the sensitive nature of our industry and continually strive to conduct business in a professional manner with an emphasis on quality. The service relationship with our clients is a privileged responsibility and our customers indicate that our level of customer service has been the key to our success. Our highly trained staff is proud to offer top-notch, quality service & we strive for excellence each and every day! We guarantee outstanding customer service consistently with proven attention to detail and quality customer care!
We offer MRO Services, DOT & NON-DOT Drug-Free Workplace Policy Review and Development, an extensive Collection Site Database and Collection Site Coordination, MVRs and Background Checks as well as a full line of Investigative Reporting Services, Record Retention, Random Testing Program Management, 24/7 Website Access to Member Services, Training and Educational Certification Courses, a full line of Drug & Alcohol Testing Products, and much-much more!
Contact us today for more information on ways to create a safer, drug-free workplace! We would love to hear from you & answer any questions that you may have. Remember, we make DOT compliance LESS complicated & safe workplaces simple! Call us today at 1.800.452.0030 and let us meet AND exceed your expectations!