Category Archives: Drug Testing

Drug Testing

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker Pushes For Drug Testing Of FoodShare Recipients

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As the 2016 presidential elections are looming, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker pushes for a more stringent criteria for beneficiaries of health care and food stamps, including the need for drug testing.

A bill that delineates the state budget for the coming year aims to change some of the important programs being implemented today. As part of the proposed bill, Walker included a requirement for BadgerCare Plus recipients to undergo drug testing. Those who test positive for drugs will be sent to treatment and job trainings for free. Details of this proposal have not been clarified by the governor, specifically on the extent to which the state budget can cover the testing.

In addition to the drug testing provision, recipients of the state’s welfare program — called Wisconsin Works or W-2 — will be enrolled for a maximum of four years, down from five in the current budget. “We know employers in Wisconsin have jobs available, but they don’t have enough qualified employees to fill those positions… With this budget, we are addressing some of the barriers keeping people from achieving true freedom and prosperity and the independence that comes with having a good job and doing it well,” said Walker in a news release. The drug testing proposal covers all applicants of BadgerCare and FoodShare programs, excluding children and the elderly.

The proposal isn’t met without opposition, as Senate minority leader Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) doesn’t agree that it’s for the best interest of the state. “This proposal is more about making headlines than finding real solutions. Rather than getting distracted by presidential posturing, we need to work together and find real solutions that will create jobs,” expressed Shilling. To date, no U.S. state has implemented drug testing for food stamps beneficiaries.

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Drug Testing

Drug Testing Expert Dennis Kerns Talks About American Drug Culture

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With the rise in popularity of synthetic drugs, marijuana, prescription drugs and other substances that are susceptible to abuse, more Americans are becoming aware of the situation. In fact, it can be said that drugs are slowly becoming part of the culture of this generation.

Because of the drug culture that the U.S. is gradually developing, several groups — employers, educational institutions, law enforcement agencies and families — are making drug testing a critical part of their everyday life.

Dennis KernsTestCountry sat down with Dennis Kerns, one of leading experts in the field of drug testing. Kerns served as president and board member of the Substance Abuse Program Administrators Association (SAPAA), and has assisted various employers in drafting drug testing policies and programs.

Here are some snippets of our interview with Dennis Kerns:

  • “I don’t believe the legalization of marijuana will have a huge impact on workplace drug testing.”
  • “Companies should review their drug testing policies and determine their stand on marijuana. After that the policy should be altered, if necessary, to meet the company’s goals and standards.”
  • “Today’s society is very marijuana-friendly because of an overall lack of research on the effects and duration of effects of marijuana after use.”

Read more of our interview here in this link.

Drug Testing

Dennis Kerns Joins the Current Consulting Group

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Dennis Kerns

Photo courtesy of Curren Consulting Group

Dennis Kerns has joined the Current Consulting Group, as a senior consultant.

Kerns has been around the drug testing industry a long time, having started and managed drug testing companies and having served as both president and a member of the board of directors of the Substance Abuse Program Administrators Association (SAPAA).

“We are very excited to add Dennis to our highly-qualified team of industry experts,” said Bill Current, president and founding partner of the Current Consulting Group. “Dennis is highly regarded in the industry.  He has become one of the leading experts on international drug testing, Department of Transportation drug testing regulations, and oral fluid drug testing. He makes it possible for CCG to offer a wider variety of services to help drug testing providers and background screening companies grow their businesses.”

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Cairo University Begins Mandatory Drug Testing for Students

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Egypt’s premier university has recently unveiled its drug testing mandate on students without receiving any objections thus far.drug testing

Cairo University has reportedly finished drug testing more than 4,000 students, with thousands more pending. Amidst the ongoing series of democratic protests in the country, Cairo University released a statement on its website saying university students will be allowed residence in the school’s hostel only if they agree to drug testing procedures administered by the university’s National Center for Clinical and Environmental Toxicology.

Results of drug testing on university students are released on the same day of administration and sent to the hostel. The school website also stated that approximately 13,000 students eligible to stay in Cairo University’s hostel are set to be tested under the new procedures.

University president Gaber Nassar expressed that the drug testing policy “is in the interest of students” and emphasized the importance of “finishing analysis procedures to students quickly and easily.”

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Employees’ Opioid Use Wreaking Havoc with Companies

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Abuse of prescription painkillers and heroin among employees is leading to lower productivity and higher turnover for companies where abuse is rampant, according to The Wall Street Journal.drug testing

Employers in Allen County, Ohio say up to a whopping 70% of job applicants are failing drug tests, according to Jed Metzger, President of the Lima/Allen County Chamber of Commerce. Employees in the greater Cincinnati area have tested positive for opioids after being involved in accidents, ranging from damaging property with heavy equipment to crashing company vehicles.

In addition to higher accident rates, employee opioid use can contribute to increased theft and absenteeism in the workplace, Trey Grayson, President of the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, said.

Although between 2003 and 2013, overall drug use among U.S. workers declined 18%, it actually rose for certain opioids, including Dilaudid and Vicodin, according to Quest Diagnostics numbers.

Companies are combatting employee opioid use by expanding drug testing, introducing zero-tolerance drug use policies and adding employee-assistance programs for workers who need addiction treatment.

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Managing Workers’ Compensation Costs Through Advanced Drug Testing

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Lab-based oral fluid testing can be a more affordable alternative to urine testing and with the federal government currently working on a set of regulations for saliva tests, more companies are bound to start using them in the near future.drug-free workplace

In addition to being more cost effective than urine testing, lab-based oral fluid testing and drug testing in general can also help a company save money on Workers’ Compensation claims and premiums, according to corporate drug testing expert Bill Current, founder of the Current Consulting Group, and Mark Pew, senior vice president of medical cost management services company PRIUM.

The two recently conducted a webinar detailing how lab-based oral fluid testing could potentially save money for companies for the actual testing process, in lost productivity costs and in Workers’ Compensation premiums.

Because the collection of oral fluid is so much easier than urine collecting, you don’t need to follow all the regulations for urine collecting. It’s also much quicker and you can easily train someone on your staff to do it, meaning you have less employee downtime.

Testing for drugs in the workplace will help companies cut down on employee absenteeism, accidents and Workers’ Compensation (WC) claims. It may even help them save money on their WC premiums.

Visit TestCountry to read the full article on how lab-based oral fluid drug testing can save your company money.

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Highlights and insights from the 2014 National Safety Council Conference and Expo

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Development For Portable Bath Salts Drug Test Kits Under Way

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The war on drugs has just been given a major boost through a recent study involving the development of better test kits for bath salts detection.

bath saltsA news release from the America Chemical Society revealed that scientists are currently developing a portable drug test kit to detect bath salts. The illicit drug has been declared illegal in the U.S., but many retail shops and online stores are still carrying the controversial substance on their shelves. This new drug testing technology aims to provide a more convenient way to identify the use of bath salts.

While existing testing technologies that detect bath salts are already available, the equipment used in these tests are difficult to transport and carry around. One bath salt test equipment was developed for field use, but it made use of a mercury electrode, which is dangerous to human health.

The team of scientists led by Craig Banks is trying to develop a safe and convenient drug testing kit to identify bath salts. Their initial prototypes resulted in a testing method that is not only safe and easy to handle, but is also disposable, fast, and affordable. The team hopes that their discovery could be installed in modern handheld devices for better detection of bath salt compounds.

Bath salts are composed of synthetic cathinones derived from the khat plant that is abundant in East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. The compounds in bath salts create a euphoric feeling, which may later regress to hallucinations, seizures, and even death.

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New Research Says Workplace Drug Testing Benefits African-American Men

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In what many may see as an odd twist, people’s own bigoted misconceptions actually mean that workplace drug testing benefits African-American men.drug testing Texas politicians

This is because even though drug use is about equal between white and black people, the common perception is that black people abuse drugs much more than their white counterparts, freelance writer Max Taves says. Workplace drug testing shows this misconception to be false, enabling black men to get higher paying jobs more frequently.

Taves wrote an article about the study, which was done by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

“It’s a counterintuitive study. The economist who wrote this kind of knew going into it and wanted to test it,” Taves told the Huffington Post. “What it means is that companies’ information, their perception of African-Americans employees relative to white employees and drug use is wrong.”

Fourteen states, mostly in the South and Midwest, adopted laws back in the 1980s to enforce testing by offering legal and financial incentives to companies that test current and prospective employees. Seven states, mostly in the Northeast and West, developed laws to explicitly limit testing while 29 states made little or no significant changes.

Notre Dame University economist Abigail Wozniak studied the impact of those laws on African-American employment between 1980 and 2010 and found that low-skilled black men were significantly impacted by the pro-drug test laws. Their wages in states that tested rose 12% more than black employees in states opposed to testing and 4% more than in the “neutral” states.

The overall employment rate of black men in pro-testing states didn’t change, Wozniak said, but black men were able to get better jobs because of it. The firms most likely to test employees are bigger, pay better and offer more benefits than firms that don’t test.

“These pro-testing firms hired more blacks and paid more,” said Wozniak.

 Once the companies realized their perception about hiring black employees was incorrect — proven to them by drug testing — they felt more confident hiring black employees.

Drug Testing

Drug Testing Myths Debunked

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The field of drug testing has been receiving a lot of flak from the public eye. Some of the bad publicity involving drug testing and drug test kits include lack of accuracy, as well as selective drug identification.

random drug testingIn addition to this, any person undergoing a drug test is at a risk of public ridicule and persecution once the results come out. Because many drug test kits can provide accurate results, people subjected to the tests — especially when administered randomly and in mandatory fashion — are likely to feel bad about themselves or get discriminated upon.

The folks at Test Country have listed a number of myths surrounding drug testing technology, and the realities behind them. Here are some of the highlights of the feature article:

  • Two successive drug tests do not confirm an earlier result. Instead, the drug testing technique must be replaced with a more accurate method.
  • Synthetic opiates cannot be confirmed through a regular opiate screening test. These kinds of substances require special drug test kits for better detection.
  • Being exposed to secondhand marijuana smoke may yield positive results for THC, but the numbers will not be at the same magnitude as in samples taken from pot-smoking individuals.
  • Even if taken simultaneously, urine and oral samples may yield different drug test results. This is due to the fact that drugs in urine stay longer than those in saliva.

For more debunked myths and further information about drug testing technologies, read the feature on Test Country.