Category Archives: Workplace Testing

Drug Testing Substance Abuse Workplace Testing

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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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.

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Why Your Company Needs a Current Marijuana Policy

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A new Yahoo article explains in detail why companies need to ensure their drug testing policies are worded correctly to reflect the growing acceptance of marijuana in the country. marijuana legalization

Now that Colorado and Washington have legalized marijuana for recreational use and many other states have legalized it for medicinal use, company drug policies need to be updated so there are no grey areas when it comes to the drug, the article says.

Companies should follow these steps to make sure they are protected against the possibility of employees believing it is okay to come to work high on marijuana:

1. Add consequences for the use of marijuana at work.

2. Don’t completely prohibit the use of marijuana at all times.

3. Be sure to include marijuana in any drug-testing policy.

4. Make safety a priority.

To read the entire article, click here.

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Drug Tests that Avoid Testing for Marijuana Gaining Popularity

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Marijuana used to be at the very top of the list of drugs to test for in the workplace. It was virtually impossible to find a drug test that tested for any combination of the major abused drugs and not have marijuana included.

drug-free workplaceBut, now that Colorado and Washington have legalized recreational marijuana, drug tests that detect all the major drugs except marijuana are starting to pop up.

For example, there is one product named Multi Drug 4 Panel Urine Dipstrip Test that tests for all other relevant drugs like cocaine, opiates, methamphetamine and amphetamine, but does not test for marijuana/THC. These tests are convenient for workplaces that want to have a workplace drug testing policy, but that do not want to risk having an employee test positive for a substance that is currently legal within the state.

Click here to read more about drug testing without testing for marijuana and THC.

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Alere Toxicology Webinar Highlights Ways People Cheat Drug Tests

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People will go to great lengths to beat a drug test if they have been abusing a substance. From paying exorbitant prices for useless body cleanses to purchasing prosthetic penises and synthetic urine, the range of items to cheat on a drug test are as varied as they are entertaining to read about. drug testing Texas politicians

Pat Pizzo, head of toxicology at Alera Toxicology, recently gave a webinar on the various drug cheating methods and what testers need to be on the lookout for and what they need to do to counteract cheating.

Some highlights from the webinar include:

  • The majority of “cleansing” teas and other products are useless because these products are either just diuretics or only work if the person drinks a lot of the liquid, which would be the same as drinking a lot of plain water.
  •  People who drink excessive amounts of liquids will also take B Vitamins to turn their clear urine back to yellow.
  • Testing for creatinine levels and specific gravity will detect diluted samples, even if the color is yellow.
  • Most — but not all — items that people add to urine to cheat a drug test are easily detectable.
  • Most devices that people wear to hold clean urine to avoid giving their own will have some way of heating that urine to body temperature like heating pads, hand warmers or a plastic wedge to be clenched between the buttocks.
  • Bleaching the hair strips melanin from the hair and thus strips traces of drugs from the hair, too.
  • Shampoos alone will not strip drug traces from the hair.
  • People can purchase special mouthwashes and gum for beating an oral fluid test, but it is not clear if these items work.

To see the full coverage of the webinar, click here.

 

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TestCountry Co-Founder Zeynep Ilgaz Talks About Implementing Workplace Drug Testing

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Drug testing in the workplace can face stiff opposition — mainly from labor unions and human rights activists — because incorrect implementation can violate the privacy of workers.

Zeynep-IlgazZeynep Iglaz, co-founder of TestCountry, recently shared some tips on how to effectively implement workplace drug testing. In her article for Under30CEO, she expounds on the advantages of implementing a company-wide drug testing program, as well as advice on how to carry out the program.

Highlights of the tips include:

  1. Customize your policy
  2. Put it all on paper
  3. Communicate with your employees

For further details on implementation of drug testing policies in the workplace, read Ilgaz’s article at Under30CEO.

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TestCountry Interviews Corporate Drug Testing Expert Bill Current

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Bill Current (courtesy of BillCurrent.com)

Bill Current (courtesy of BillCurrent.com)

Bill Current, who is president of WFC & Associates, LLC, says the three biggest issues on the horizon for corporate drug testing are the continued march of marijuana legalization for both medical and recreational purposes, the upcoming federal regulations on oral fluid drug testing and the continuing trend of companies demanding to know the return on investment of corporate drug testing.

TestCountry recently spoke with Current about the importance of having a drug testing policy in place and the simplest and most cost-effective way a company can develop one.

One of the biggest hurdles to overcome for companies that want to implement a drug testing program, Current notes, is the maze of various state laws that a company has to navigate through to make sure it is complying with all the laws it needs to.

On top of the state laws, there are also federal regulations to consider, which adds to the confusion of drawing up a comprehensive drug testing policy, which is why it’s important for businesses to make sure they are doing it correctly, Current adds.

To read the full interview with this corporate drug testing expert, click here.

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Colorado Employers Allegedly Discriminating Against Marijuana Users

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Although marijuana is now legal in Colorado for recreational use, many employers still consider it a controlled substance (as it is classified federally) and discriminate against its users. drug testing Texas politiciansUrine drug tests are often used to screen potential employees by having them pass a pre-employment drug check or by screening employees by random drug testing on the job.

Drug testing business MCC, located in Grand Junction, said they’ve seen hundreds of jobs impacted by failed drug tests, particularly for marijuana, which is the drug most likely to show up in a urinalysis test.

“I want to say about 80% of our positives are for marijuana,” said MCC drug test collector Kyle Raaflaub. “THC stores in the fat cells so some people that aren’t very active… can have THC in their system up to 45 days. Vicodin, oxycontin, stuff like that, ecstacy, cocaine… those will only have a time table of 24 to 36 hours.”

Testing positive for any amount of marijuana is legal grounds to prevent employment or immediate termination.

Staffing agency Labor etc. says it must turn away potential employment candidates on a weekly basis for failing a drug test due to having THC, marijuana’s psychoactive substance, in their system.

“We get a percentage of our potential employees that have come up positive for THC that argue the fact that it’s legal in Colorado,” said Labor etc. Sales Director Kris Cox. “That they should be able to smoke marijuana and still be accepted for a position, but it is the employer right to say no.”

Current Colorado Law favors business owners banning all personal employee marijuana use on the basis that this is an at-will state.

“Employers can generally terminate employees at their will for no reason, or for any reason as long as it’s a lawful reason,” said employment attorney Anna Itenberg.

The recently enacted Amendment 64 also has a clause reserving employers right’s to drug test. But this seems to contradict Colorado Division of Regulatory Agency’s off-duty statute, which was put in place to protect employees from termination based on what they do in their time outside of work such as cigarette smoking.

The statute reads, “It shall be a discriminatory… for an employer to terminate… any employee due to that employee’s engaging in any lawful activity off the premises of the employer during nonworking hours…”

The Colorado National Organization Reforming Marijuana Laws (CO NORML) said urinalysis testing should not be allowed because it gives positive results for marijuana activity that could’ve occurred weeks ago.

“The reason why we don’t think drug testing should be used is because drug testing for marijuana does not show any type of impairment,” said CO NORML executive director Rachel Gillette.

The state government says it’s okay to smoke marijuana medically and recreationally, but employers seem to disagree.