Author: reina

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Pre-employment Marijuana

As we have seen many states follow in Nevada’s footsteps in legalizing marijuana, Nevada is now the first state in the country to ban employers from testing for marijuana. If an employee tests positive for marijuana in the state of Nevada, the employer can’t do anything about it. We are now at a total of 11 states, Illinois being the most recent state to legalize marijuana. Marijuana is still currently classified as a Schedule I substance at the federal level.

There are limitations to Nevada’s law, however. Per CBS News, those with public safety jobs like firefighters and emergency medical workers, as well as those who operate vehicles, are exempt from the law, which takes effect next year.

“As our legal cannabis industry continues to flourish, it’s important to ensure that the door of economic opportunity remains open for all Nevadans. That’s why I was proud to sign AB132 into law, which contains common-sense exceptions for public safety and transportation professionals,” Gov. Steve Sisolak said when signing the law.

Excluding Marijuana

Also, a similar law was passed by the New York City Council this spring. The state of Maine prohibits employers, schools and landlords from discriminating against those who use marijuana, but there’s no drug testing law. We are starting to see many employers nationwide requesting for drug tests that exclude THC. In a competitive labor market, employers are looking to remove marijuana from pre-employment drug screening policy’s to widen candidate pools. Major company such as, Citigroup is considering changing its screening policy for marijuana, per Business Insider. 

According to Quest Diagnostics, marijuana is most often found during  pre-employment screenings, court ordered, probation etc. About 2.8 percent of urine tests used by workplaces detected the presence of marijuana, reports USA Today. Quest Diagnostics also has found marijuana use since 2014 is up 16 percent among U.S. workers, and up 24 percent among those in safety-sensitive jobs like pilots or train operators, reports Business Insider.

Experts have said that there is not much of a connection between pre-employment drug testing and improved employee performance, per Business Insider. Business Insider also stated, such testing might keep some employees from applying to companies that require it. In addition, urine tests are not the most accurate when it comes to drug results, it can show the presence of THC even if marijuana wasn’t ingested recently or regularly. 

The National Law Review notes the Nevada law doesn’t apply if in conflict with the provisions of collective bargaining agreements or employment contracts, or to positions funded by federal grants. The law also allows for exemptions for positions an employer has determined could adversely affect the safety of others, so companies are advised to review job descriptions with that in mind, per the National Law Review.

Marijuana Testing

New York City’s recently passed law also has a number of exemptions, including law enforcement officers; some construction or maintenance jobs; employees required to have a commercial driver’s license; those supervising children, medical patients or those with disabilities.

Quest Diagnostics found marijuana positivity rates rose at least 20 percent from 2015 to 2017 for workers in transportation, construction and manufacturing industries, per Business Insider. Post-accident urine test positives shot up 81 percent between 2014 and 2018. 

We are noticing many changes in testing for marijuana, however it is very important to have exemptions in these new laws for all safety sensitive occupations. As the legalization laws keep expanding throughout the nation, so will the drug testing policy’s.  The end of pre-employment testing for marijuana could be on the horizon, but not for everyone there will always be exemptions for using marijuana.

If you need to order a drug test with or without THC give us a call today at (800) 221-4291 or visit our website at www.Accrediteddrugtesting.com

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Drug and Workplace Safety

The U.S. Department of Labor and the National Institute on Drug Abuse have found that employees who suffer from drug or alcohol dependency are nearly three times more likely to either cause or personally experience an injury-related absence from work.

By James A. Greer l Jun 01, 2019

With the rise of unions in the 1800s and the industrial revolution, workplace safety became a rallying cry for workers, particularly in areas such as coal mining, manufacturing, and other employment venues where potential safety hazards existed. While labor movements in Europe were the originators of promoting workplace safety, these efforts eventually made their way to the United States and after years of injuries and fatalities in the American workforce, state and local governments began responding to workers’ demands to regulate the workplace and ensure safe workplace environments.

The need for workplace safety in the United States at its beginning primarily focused on equipment and the conditions of the physical workplace. While those issues remain important, a new culprit affecting workplace safety has arrived in force, and the culprit is drugs and drug use by employees.

Over the last 40 years, the U.S. government, law enforcement, and academics have conducted research, including direct observations of the effect of drug use, including illegal substances and prescription medications, on the human brain. And in most cases, the evidence has been clear: When a person is under the influence of a drug, whether for medical purposes or recreational use, the reflexes slow down, the ability to make rational decisions is negatively impacted, and the user can in many cases subject others to unsafe circumstances or environments that can cause injury and even a fatality.

In the 1980s, the U.S. government recognized this issue and formally adopted drug testing for the U.S. military, federal contractors, and, ultimately in 1991, the U.S. Congress passed the Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act, which required all agencies under the U.S. Department of Transportation to implement drug and alcohol testing for employees of the nation’s transportation industry who performed safety-sensitive functions. This effort by Congress was in response to several well-known tragic accidents that resulted in injury and death where the use of illegal controlled substances was determined to be the cause.

While Congress mandated drug testing for the nation’s transportation industry, many employers adopted the philosophy that drug testing employees provides greater workplace safety along with other benefits. Recent statistics estimate that 14.8 million Americans use illegal drugs, and 70 percent of them are employed. Furthermore, a significant percentage of this drug usage occurs at work, or the employees are high when they arrive to their workplace.

These statistics clearly show the potential for a workplace injury, particularly in the areas of transportation, manufacturing, and heavy equipment operation. The need to conduct drug and alcohol testing is crucial to providing a safe environment for employees. The U.S. Department of Labor and the National Institute on Drug Abuse also have found that employees who suffer from drug or alcohol dependency are nearly three times more likely to either cause or personally experience an injury-related absence from work.

The benefits for an employer who chooses a drug-free workplace are numerous and can include a reduction in the employee turnover rate, a reduction in workplace incidents or accidents, improved employee morale, and in many cases a reduction of insurance premiums as it relates to the operations of the business. Furthermore, drug use has a direct impact on violence and criminal behavior, which also can impact workplace safety. The U.S. Department of Justice reports that adults between the ages of 18 to 49 who use marijuana or cocaine were much more likely to commit crimes of all types than those who do not use these illegal substances.

Turning Back the Clock?

In recent years a discussion has begun in which drug-free workplace testing is being questioned. Many who oppose an employer’s right to perform drug tests fail to recognize that drug testing directly impacts the ability of an employer in providing a safe workplace for his or her employees. These efforts to limit or eliminate workplace drug testing either choose to ignore or are unaware of how workplace safety became an important part of our nation’s historical employer/employee relationship.

Eliminating drug testing in the workplace will not only place employees at risk, but it will turn back more than 100 years of efforts made to protect our nation’s workforce and meet the commitments that employers made to their hard-working employees that safety is our priority.

For employers who have or are considering relaxing their workplace drug testing programs as a result of recent changes in how various states respond to individual marijuana use, there must be a clear understanding of two major impacts, which are:

  • The culpability the employer will face by putting its non-drug using workforce in jeopardy of injury
  • The risks/costs associated with assuming 100 percent liability for any and all workplace accidents caused by employee substance use

Marijuana is Not Safe for Work

The trend toward relaxing drug policies stems from a tendency to view some substances as more or less harmful than others. The reality is, any impairment of any kind is unsafe. That having been said, let’s consider the issues surrounding employee marijuana use. While it makes for good political sound bites to say that marijuana is “safe,” the harsh reality is that today’s marijuana products are anywhere between 10 and 50 times more powerful than the same drug used in the 1970s-1980s. Any training that helps supervisors detect the signs and symptoms of employee drug use means they will spend a significant amount of time explaining how employees who use marijuana have difficulty learning and retaining new information, trouble with multi-divided attention tasks, struggle with time and distance tracking, can display hallucinatory behaviors, and could be at-risk for psychotic breaks. Does this sound “safe” for the workplace?

We are in an era where some employers choose to ignore substance use that could cause significant damage—at their own expense—simply because it is a political hot button. This simply is not a wise fiscal decision, nor is it a policy that respects the safety of the workforce.

While some states have changed laws pertaining to workplace drug testing, none of these current laws prevents an employer from having a workplace drug testing policy and enforcing a drug-free workplace. While changing marijuana laws happens to be what is currently trending, the parameters for safety must stand true and will outlast the momentary hoopla of popularizing this particular drug of choice.

Workplace drug testing should be used as a deterrent to drug use, with a positive focus on detecting when an individual needs help with their sobriety as well as reminders of the importance of staying safety-focused at all times. At the end of the day, employees may not realize the value in it, but drug testing is part of their individual rights to safety in the workplace, yet it is the employer’s responsibility to protect and keep those rights fully intact.

References
1. U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics-Drug and Crime Data
2. National Institute on Drug Abuse
3. U.S. Department of Labor
4. U.S. Department of Transportation

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Alcohol In A Urine Test

Alcohol testing unlike most drugs, has a much shorter detection window. A urine drug test can screen for ethanol, which is the type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages, up to 12 hours. However, there are some types of urine tests that can identify alcohol byproducts for up 72 hours after the person’s last drink, but those tests can have significant limitations.

The vast majority of alcohol, about 90-95% is broken down by the liver. A small amount is expelled through someone’s breath and sweat. The remaining 1-2% is excreted in urine.  Alcohol usually shows up in a someone’s urine within an hour of consuming alcohol and it remains detectable for up to 12 hours. However, the time frame can vary depending on different factors such as, weight, health, gender and the amount of alcohol consumed.

The alcohol in urine testing can sometimes be used to estimate a person’s blood alcohol content. The amount of urine alcohol is approximately 1.33 times more than the amount of alcohol in their bloodstream. For more accuracy, at least two urine samples are  usually collected 30 minutes to an hour apart.  

Byproducts of Alcohol in Urine

Alcohol in a urine test does have a relatively short detection time, however certain byproducts remain in the body longer. One of these byproducts are EtG (ethyl glucuronide) can be detected in urine for up to 3 days after someone’s last drink. Another byproduct that some labs can test for is EtS (ethyl sulfate) which can signal for recent alcohol intake as well.

Both EtG and EtS tests can sometimes be used for court ordered, to see if people are complying with their probation requirements. Some rehab programs also use this test to monitor people in treatment and identify any potential relapses.

Even though EtG and EtS have longer detection windows, there are a few draw backs. The testing can be more costly and may not be widely available as a standard urine screening. It is currently unable to differentiate between ethanol from alcoholic beverages and exposure to alcohol from other products.

In some cases people who have taken over-the counter flu or cold medications and mouthwashes that contain alcohol may end up testing positive for EtG or EtS. Even typical use of other products that contain alcohol such as, body sprays, insecticides and hand sanitizer can sometimes result in a positive EtG/EtS test.

If you need to get a urine alcohol test done give us a call today at (800) 221-4291 or visit our website for more information at http://www.AccreditedDrugTesting.com

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New York City has now announced a law that prohibits many employers, labor organizations, and employment agencies from conducting pre-employment drug testing for marijuana and THC, which is the active ingredient in cannabis. This new law characterizes these drug tests as “an unlawful discriminatory practice.” Unfortunately, there are numerous exceptions that New York City may prohibit on all pre-employment testing for marijuana with some exceptions.

New York City Prohibiting Testing For Marijuana

Testing for THC and marijuana will be permitted for the following employment positions and for the following reasons only:

  • Police/law-enforcement officers;
  • Positions requiring construction safety training or OSHA certifications under New York laws;
  • Positions requiring commercial driver’s licenses;
  • Positions involving the supervision or care of children, medical patients, or vulnerable persons as defined under New York laws;
  • Other positions with potential to significantly impact health or safety as determined under the regulations to be enacted or identified on the website of the department of citywide administrative services;
  • U.S. Department of Transportation required testing;
  • Testing required under federal contracts or grants;
  • Testing required under federal or state statutes; and
  • Testing required under collective bargaining agreements.

New York City New Law

This law prohibiting pre-employment testing for marijuana in New York City, will become effective one year from today 5/13/2020. Therefore, this gives employers, labor organizations and employment agencies operating in New York City one year to review and revise their drug-testing policies and procedures to ensure they are in compliance. In the meantime during this year of transition, employers are wanting to have further guidance in regards to the compliance measures. The New York City Commission on Human Rights should provide these employers with more clarification on what types of employers and employees will be covered.

With all that being said, we are seeing more and more states joining the wave of allowing the use of marijuana. Now that New York City is first to make it law for employers to remove marijuana and THC in their drug policy’s. Many employers will need to have a new policy intact, here at Accredited Drug Testing we can do that for you. We also offer drug testing panels that exclude marijuana and THC. For more information on being in compliance with the new law in New York City give us a call at (800) 221-4291 or visit our website at www.AccreditedDrugTesting.com to get your drug policy revised today!

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Weed Breathalyzer Device

California product developers are in the works of perfecting a marijuana breathalyzer that will be able to determine if someone smoked marijuana before getting behind the wheel. The device will be hypersensitive and can detect whether someone has smoked in the past 2-3 hours. Currently there is no method that police or other law enforcement’s can accurately test a driver for marijuana in current time, meaning if the individual is currently high on marijuana.

Other current blood, breath and urine tests might not be reliable, as many can only determine if a driver was high at some point that day or week, instead of at that very moment, according to USA Today. Law enforcement is becoming more and more aware of the issue.

 In five Michigan counties where a pilot program was recently introduced, police are able to carry handheld devices to test for the presence of drugs in drivers’ saliva. Results are back in about five minutes. But nothing like that has rolled out statewide or nationwide, and it’s unclear how efficient this system really is. And as the laws pertaining to marijuana use continue to loosen across the U.S., it might make you wonder: What are police doing to keep stoned drivers off the roads? Shouldn’t there be one uniform way to test for marijuana?

Weed Device Of The Future?

Right out of Oakland, California a startup company named Hound Labs have invented a hypersensitive breathalyzer to help regulations for public safety. The device will be able to pick up any THC that might be present on a driver’s breath. Hound Labs had their second clinical trial this past February 2019 and the results are promising.

Stated by Hound Labs, “Results from this landmark study confirm – for the first time in a clinical trial – THC is present in breath for two to three hours after smoking, which is the same duration as peak impairment, according to government studies. The trial also concluded that detecting THC in breath for two to three hours requires the capability to measure complex molecules in breath at extraordinarily low levels – to one trillionth of a gram per liter of breath.” Hound Labs’ technology is indeed capable of detecting THC in breath in picograms, or parts per trillion — demonstrating that a portable breathalyzer can capture incredibly low concentrations, the company said.

Hound Labs Weed Breathalyzer

Once everything is finalized for the device this could be a monumental time the public safety regarding marijuana. The device also has other features as well, not only can the device detect current THC but it can also tests a person’s blood-alcohol level, as well. It can also pick up on whether someone has vaporized or eaten a marijuana product. For more details on the device click here to see how it all works.

This could be the device of the future, it is still early in the process but with all the collected data as of today it is more than possible. “We have had a great deal of interest in our breathalyzer from law enforcement and employers in the U.S., and across the globe,” Hound Labs says online. “(We) continue to receive new inquiries regularly. … We have tested versions of the Hound marijuana breathalyzer with law enforcement as part of the development of the tool. Multiple law enforcement agencies are planning to use our breathalyzer when it becomes available.”

We are excited for a new ventures in the drug testing industry, for any questions or if you would like schedule a drug test visit our website at www.AccreditedDrugTesting.com or give us a call at (800) 221-4291.

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Urine Testing

Urine drug testing is the method most used by employers and law enforcement agencies. Urine is tested for the parent compound of various drugs, as well as their metabolites. Most commonly, in a job setting usually checks for amphetamines, cocaine, marijuana, opiates, nicotine and alcohol.

A urine drug test screening is quick, convenient, and quite accurate. Even after the effects of the drug has worn off, urine is still capable of detecting its presence. Drug testing timelines do vary depending on what type of drug it is.  The number of metabolites in your urine may increase and decrease which can lead to different results within the drug testing detection window.

How do I take a urine drug test?

To take a urine test, you will simply have to urinate within a specimen cup. The administrator will let you know how much urine is needed. Most drug tests will require at least 45 milliliters of urine. This is to ensure that there’s enough sample for the testing. It also makes sure that the specimen belongs to the right individual.

Urine Testing Detection Times

There are many factors that can play a role in the time length that a test can detect certain drugs in the body. Some of those factors are:

-Body Mass

-Hydration Levels

-The acidity of the urine

-How long ago a person took the drug

-How often the person took the drug

If someone uses a drug frequently or heavily, a urine test will detect the drug for a longer period of time. For example, the detection time for marijuana depends on how often someone may use it:

This table can show the average detection times for other drugs that may be tested in a Urine test:

Drug Detection Times

 If a person is taking any prescription medications, over-the-counter medicines, herbal remedies or supplements, it is best to advise your test provider. That way the MRO (Medical Review Officer) can validate the results.

If you need a test, choose the best! Be sure to visit our website www.AccreditedDrugTesting.com and schedule a urine drug test the same day or give us a call at (800) 221-4291.

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As of April 23, 2019, the Department of Transportation (DOT) mandated a final rule that makes a slight correction to OST, FAA, FTA and PHMSA regulations of drug testing for safety-sensitive employees to ensure consistency with the recent amendments made within the DOT’s regulation of, “Procedures for Transportation Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing Programs,” which added requirements to test for oxycodone, oxymorphone, hydrocodone, and hydromorphone to DOT-regulated drug testing programs.

These changes in the regulations have now made it necessary to refer to listed substances, along with the previous covered drugs that include morphine, 6-acetylmorphine and codeine by the inclusive term “Opioids,” instead of “Opiates.” This new rule will ensure the regulations for FAA, FTA and PHMSA that all the Department of Transportation drug testing rules are consistent with one another and as well as the Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs.

As stated in the official announcement, “this rule makes a conforming amendment to include the term “opioids” in the wording of the Department’s annual information collection requirement and clarifications to section 40.26 and Appendix H regarding the requirement for employers to follow the Department’s instructions for the annual information collection.”

Every day, more than 130 people in the United States die after overdosing on opioids. The misuse of and addiction to opioids including, prescription pain relievers and heroin. Also, synthetic opioids such as fentanyl is a serious national crisis that affects public health as well as social and economic welfare. Stated by the U.S Department of Transportation, “The opioid crisis is a threat to public safety when it involves safety-sensitive employees involved in the operation of any kind of vehicle or transport,” said Secretary Elaine L. Chao. “The ability to test for a broader range of opioids will advance transportation safety significantly and provide another deterrence to opioid abuse, which will better protect the public and ultimately save lives.”

DOT-regulated employers will be required to test for all these highly abused opiods, it is very important to stay in compliance with Part 40 for the safety of yourself, employees and others around you. To schedule a drug test today visit our website at www.AccreditedDrugTesting.com or give us a call today at (800) 221-4291. When you need a test, choose the best!