Category: Uncategorized

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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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This is the question that many people ask due to the rise in recreational and medical marijuana. With many states beginning to legalize the drug it has has caused many issues in the workplace for employees and employers. The controversy is that employers have to ask themselves is marijuana use affecting job safety and should it be allowed even with a prescription?

Marijuana Controversy

Christine Clearwater, president of Drug-free Solutions Group, specializes in substance abuse prevention in the workplace. She says marijuana legalization should not lead to more lenient employer drug policies. She also states that, the highly politicized battle over marijuana laws can drown out statistics employers need to be aware of:

  • Car crashes involving marijuana went up 300% between 2010 and 2013, and they continue to rise as more states legalize the drug
  • Marijuana is 10 to 20 times stronger today than it was in the 1960s and ’70s
  • Marijuana is an addictive drug

It is very important for employers to issue a drug policy based on the safety of employees, not based off of legal or ethical concerns. Having a drug policy in tact is a very important business decision, it ensures that the employer will not be held accountable over an employee under the influence in the workplace. Accredited Drug Testing offers Drug Free Work Place policy’s customized the each company and their needs.

Marijuana And Job Safety

The substance THC in marijuana affects many necessary job related skills such as, perception, reaction time, coordination and more. Many people with safe-sensitive positions such as, operating machinery or company vehicles are at a higher risk if under the influence.

According to a study reported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, employees who tested positive for marijuana had 55% more industrial accidents, 85% more injuries and 75% greater absenteeism compared to those who tested negative. Also impacting the workplace:

  • Decreased productivity
  • Increased worker compensation and unemployment compensation claims
  • High turnover
  • Lawsuits

These are the top 4 things that employers don’t want or try to avoid.  About 1/6 employees has a substance abuse problem. This is why a Drug Free Workplace policy is crucial, not only helps the employers but also helps keep the safety of all employees.

Challenges Of Medical Marijuana

Many medical marijuana-using employees have legally challenged their employers due to a positive drug test result, even when they are prescribed for it. Some states such as, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine and Rhode Island, protect employee rights against disciplinary action for medical marijuana use. However, marijuana is still illegal according to federal law, which classifies it as a Schedule I drug with no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Federal law supersedes state law. Important things to know about medical marijuana:

  • The Americans with Disabilities Actalso sides with the employer when it comes to medical marijuana
  • Most states will not pay worker compensation to an employee who was under the influence at the time of an accident
  • Most state health insurance programs will not pay for medical marijuana.

Drug Free Work Place Tips

Marijuana is the most frequently used drug of abuse in the United States and the drug most often detected in workplace drug testing. In 2014, about 6.8 million adults ages 18 to 25 (19.6%) and about 13.5 million adults ages 26 and older (6.6%) used marijuana. A solid workplace drug policy can go a long way to keeping a company drug-free.

  • Issue quarterly random drug tests to employees, that way you ensure the employees are drug-free all year round.
  • Expand the drug testing panel more than just the 5-panel standard. You can even customize your own panel.
  • Offer hair drug test instead of a urine drug test to ensure more accurate results and a further detection period.
  • Lastly, make sure to have a strong policy enact that management can enforce.

The health and safety of employees is dependent on the employer, therefore it is the employers responsibility to provide a Drug Free Work Place Policy. Everything you need listed above can be provided by Accredited Drug Testing. Visited www.accrediteddrugtesting.com for more information or call 800-221-4291.

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Free Test Program

Terms and Conditions

 

Accredited Drug Testing understands that many Federal Government employees have been required to seek other private employment opportunities due to the Federal Government Shutdown. In an effort to assist those Federal Government Employees with the financial hardship incurred, Accredited Drug Testing will provide any Federal Government current employee one drug or alcohol test at no charge when required to “self-pay” by an employer.

The following conditions apply:

  • Employees eligible to receive this free test must be current Federal Government Employees and must scan or fax proof of Federal Government Employment (Pay stub, Federal ID).
  • Drug or alcohol tests may be scheduled for the following purposes: pre-employment, random, post-accident. This program will not apply to reasonable suspicion testing.
  • Tests may be scheduled at available testing centers Nationwide (in-network).
  • Federal Government Employees who have been required to seek full or part-time employment from non-government agencies may utilize the free test provided they have shown proof that they are a Federal Government Employee affected by the Government shutdown and required to self-pay for the test.
  • Free testing only applies to urine and breath alcohol methods. Hair testing will be discounted by 50% of the standard fee, if required. No other discounts are provided for other testing methods or services.
  • All terms and conditions are final, and this program has no cash value and Accredited Drug Testing reserves the right to make all final decisions regarding eligibility. This program and offer will end upon the reopening of the United States Federal Government ( shutdown ends).

To schedule a drug or alcohol test in conjunction with this program, please call 1-800-221-4291.

It is our hope that all Federal Government Employees return to work soon, and this program will assist in some small way.

James A. Greer, CPCT

President/CEO

Accredited Drug Testing, Inc.

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DOT Drug and Alcohol Consortium

DOT Drug and Alcohol Consortium

DOT RANDOM DRUG & ALCOHOL 

TESTING PROGRAM

(As required by 49 CFR Part 40)

FOR

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)United States Coast Guard (USCG)
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)Federal Railroad Administration (FRA)
Pipeline & Hazardous Material Administration (PHMSA)Federal Transit Administration (FTA)

Accredited Drug Testing Inc (ADT) serves as a consortium / third party administrator (C/TPA) which manages the entire DOT approved Consortium for DOT regulated companies and DOT covered “safety sensitive” employees. The DOT consortium is cost effective and complies with all requirements of DOT 49 CFR Part 40 which mandates that all “safety sensitive” employees be enrolled in a random drug and alcohol testing program.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) has strict regulations requiring regulated companies and independent operators (CDL License Holders) be a member of a DOT drug and alcohol Consortium, failure to comply with these regulations can result in significant fines and other DOT sanctions. 

The Accredited Drug Testing Consortium ensures compliance with the DOT regulations and customer service is our number one priority.  Our DOT specialist are committed to serving our DOT consortium members in need of a pre-employment drug test, random drug test or breath alcohol test.

A DOT drug test is a 5 panel urine test and all DOT drug tests require a Federal Chain of Custody form, this is a special 5 page form which must be used when a DOT drug test is administered.  Accredited Drug Testing provides all members of our DOT consortium a package of Federal Chain of Custody Forms to be used when taking a DOT drug test.

When joining a DOT Consortium, it is important that the Consortium staff be fully knowledgeable of all DOT regulations regarding 49 CFR Part 40 and the DOT random drug and alcohol testing requirements. Accredited Drug Testing Inc prides itself on providing accurate and professional information and services regarding the DOT Consortium.

Accredited Drug Testing Inc is fully versed in the DOT procedures for pre-employment drug testing, random drug testing, reasonable suspicion drug testing, post accident drug testing, return to duty drug testing and follow up drug testing.

When you and your company are enrolled in the Accredited Drug Testing DOT Consortium, your company will receive a Certificate of Compliance (email and U.S Mail) and when any of your drivers or other safety sensitive employees are selected for a random test, the DER (designated employer representative) or you, the independent operator will be sent an email and a phone call will be made to ensure that you and your employee are aware of the selection, provided the closest testing center location and any assistance needed to ensure compliance with the DOT random drug or alcohol test process.

Please Note- If you are currently being audited/inspected or found to be in violation by the Department of Transportation (DOT) and you are calling to join the DOT Consortium or schedule a  DOT drug or breath alcohol test, please advise the Accredited Drug Testing DOT Specialist. 

Accredited Drug Testing, DOT Consortium – Easy, Cost Effective with Immediate Compliance!

For immediate compliance with the DOT Consortium enrollment requirement or to schedule a DOT drug or alcohol test call Accredited Drug Testing at (800)221-4291.

Accredited Drug Testing Inc has a special DOT Compliance Package for independent operators (CDL License holders) and other DOT regulated companies.

Complete DOT Compliance Package – Independent Operators/Small Companies Includes:

  • Pre-employment or Random drug test,
  • Consortium Membership (First Year)
  • Supervisor Training
  • DOT Drug & Alcohol Policy
  • Certificate of Compliance

Additional DOT Drug tests may be ordered at a discount when purchasing the complete compliance package.

Call Accredited Drug Testing for additional information and fees (800)221-4291.

To Review DOT 49 CFR Part 40 Regulations- CLICK HERE

Who’s Covered?

  • Truck Drivers- CDL Operators
  • Train Engineers
  • Boat Captains- Officers
  • Airplane Mechanics
  • Airline Pilots- Flight Attendants
  • Pipeline Workers

Additional companies/operators subject to DOT Drug & Alcohol Testing

  • If you or your company operate vehicles with a gross weight rating of 26,001 or more pounds
  • If you or your company operate vehicles which can transport 16 or more passengers. (including the driver)
  • If you or your company operate vehicles which transport hazardous materials.

DOT Random Drug & Alcohol Testing

The Department of Transportation (DOT) requires that all covered employees be enrolled in a DOT approved Random Consortium Selection Program. The selection of any covered employee must be made by a computerized selection process and any covered employee selected for a drug and alcohol test must immediately proceed to take the test once notified.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) determines the percentages that each consortium must select for a drug & alcohol test. As an example the FMCSA Consortium must select 25% of its members for a drug test annually and 10% for an alcohol test.

The Accredited Drug Testing Inc DOT random drug testing program notifies covered employees by email and a phone call and provides the location of the closest testing center for the covered employee to go and take their drug and alcohol test.

Failing to take a random drug or alcohol test once selected can result in substantial fines and penalties by the Department of Transportation (DOT).

Accredited Drug Testing Inc provides a DOT approved random selection Consortium for covered employees who are required to comply with DOT random testing requirements.

Random Testing Requirements For Each Federal Agency DOT Consortium 

  • FMCSA – Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration – 25% drug and 10% alcohol
  • FAA – Federal Aviation Administration – 25% drug and 10% alcohol
  • FRA – Federal Railroad Administration – 25% drug and 10% alcohol
    • MOW (Maintenance of Way) – 50% drug and 25% alcohol
  • FTA – Federal Transit Administration – 50% drug and 10% alcohol
  • PHMSA – Pipeline and Hazardous Materials – 50% drug
  • USCG – United States Coast Guard – 50% drug

DOT Consortium Employee List Revisions

Quarterly each consortium member will be contacted by the Accredited Drug Testing, DOT specialist and asked to update the company’s  DOT Consortium employee list, prior to the random selection draw (add or remove  employees from the consortium). Companies can remove or add employees to the consortium at anytime prior to the selection date. Maintaining an accurate consortium list is an important service provided by Accredited Drug Testing Inc and requires the cooperation of all Consortium Members.

DOT Post Accident Drug & Alcohol Testing 

The Department of Transportation (DOT) requires that any covered employee immediately proceed to take a drug and breath alcohol test in the event of an accident which falls under the DOT post accident drug and alcohol testing requirements.

When possible the covered employee can contact Accredited Drug Testing Inc and the drug and alcohol test can be conducted at a testing center close to where the accident occurred, however on many occasions a post accident drug and alcohol test will require an on-site/mobile drug testing service which can be provided by Accredited Drug Testing Inc.

DOT Reasonable Suspicion Supervisor Training

The Department of Transportation (DOT) requires that all DOT regulated companies educate and train all supervisors in how to detect employees under the influence of illegal drugs or alcohol.

Supervisors must complete and successfully pass a DOT approved supervisor training course.

Accredited Drug Testing Inc provides a DOT approved Supervisor Training Course which is web based and which will provide a Certificate of Completion at the conclusion of the course. The course is approximately 3 hours in length and maybe accessed at anytime.

DOT Drug & Alcohol Policy

The Department of Transportation (DOT) requires that any regulated company with two or more employees holding safety sensitive positions covered by 49 CFR Part 40 must have a written DOT Drug & Alcohol Policy and all employees must be provided a copy of the policy. Companies must comply with all requirements listed in the DOT drug and alcohol policy.

Accredited Drug Testing Inc specializes in the development and implementation of a DOT Drug & Alcohol Policy – Call Accredited Drug Testing at(800)221-4291

DOT Additional Requirements/Information

The Department of Transportation only recognizes and authorizes a 5 panel urine drug test and a breath alcohol test for compliance with 49 CFR Part 40.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) requires that a Federal Chain of Custody Form (5 Page CCF) be used with all drug screens and that all breath alcohol testing devices be approved by the DOT.

The staff of Accredited Drug Testing Inc are certified and trained in DOT drug specimen collections and DOT breath alcohol testing.

DOT Audits/Inspections

The Department of Transportation (DOT) regularly conducts DOT Audits to ensure compliance with 49 CFR Part 40. These audits can occur due to being recently issued a DOT License (New Entrant) or complaints have been filed against the company or a follow up audit due to previous violations.

When a DOT audit/inspection occurs the following primary factors are considered,

  • Pre-employment drug tests on all covered employees on file
  • Random Pool Membership on all covered employees
  • Reasonable Suspicion/Supervisor Training Completed
  • Written drug and alcohol policy
  • Copy of DOT regulations on file
  • All DOT Licenses are current

DOT Physicals

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires that all drivers holding a CDL License must successfully pass a DOT physical to be issued a CDL Medical Card. The Medical Card is valid for 24months and must be renewed every 2  years with a new physical.

Accredited Drug Testing Inc provides DOT physicals nationwide at most drug testing centers and our affiliated medical facilities. All DOT Physicals are administered by an examiner trained and certified by the FMCSA.

Accredited Drug Testing Inc is your “one stop shopping” for all DOT Drug Testing and DOT Breath Alcohol Testing.

To join the DOT Consortium or schedule your DOT Drug Test or DOT Alcohol Test Call, (800)221-4291

Specializing in DOT drug and alcohol Consortium regulations.

“When You Need A Test, Choose The Best!”

Accredited Drug Testing

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Can You Reverse the Long-Term Effects of Drugs by Being Healthy?

Aug. 8 2016

Can You Reverse the Long-Term Effects of Drugs by Being Healthy?

As society’s grown more concerned with “clean-eating” and counting calories, we’ve become obsessed with how to burn those calories off. And since the dawn of Fitbits and Meat Free Mondays, “eat less, run more” no longer cuts it. We want quantifiable data—preferably something we can share on social media, between posting our daily 5K run times and endless photos of our moist, rippling, post-workout biceps.

What the world’s content farmers have come up with are those snackable online factoids that tell you how to burn off your favorite junk food via absolutely implausible methods. A man has to lift weights for five hours and 53 minutes to work off a large Big Mac meal, a woman has to rollerblade for four straight hours to burn off a Chipotle chicken burrito, that kind of thing.

Of course, this represents a pretty unhealthy way to be healthy: a binge-purge approach that favors extremes over moderation. That said, I love Big Macs and bizarre physical punishment, so who am I to swim upstream? If it theoretically works for Food That Is Bad for You, could this “offsetting” tactic be applied to other vices, like regularly taking way more drugs than you ever should?

Are there ways to negate the effects of narcotics over time? Could I mitigate the harms of casual alcoholism by drinking more celery smoothies? Can you repair a cocaine-damaged heart by doing 900 press-ups every single morning for the rest of your life? To find out, I spoke to a handful of drug and exercise experts.

FOUR CANS OF BEER

Following my transition from late teens to late 20s, my fears over alcohol have shifted. Where I once worried, Will I get too shitfaced and puke on a dog at this girl’s house party? I now wonder, Will a fourth can on a Tuesday bring forward my early death from heart disease?

To see if exercise could reverse the effects of a four-pack, I called up Joseph Van Der Merwe, a personal trainer and strength and conditioning coach from London. “There are about 600 calories in four tins, depending on the brand, so you’re probably looking at 30 to 40 minutes of pretty hard running [to burn it off],” he said.

According to Dr. Adam Winstock, founder of the Global Drug Survey (GDS) and a consultant psychiatrist, there’s one demographic that regularly practices this sort of approach. “The group of people that I’ve seen do this most would be gay guys who go out chemsex-ing,” he said. “They will party hard Friday, Saturday, Sunday; then Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday they’ll be in the gym.” Does that offset the weekend? “The answer is no it doesn’t. But if you’re going to cane it at the weekend, is it better that the rest of the time you’re living a happy and healthy lifestyle—you’re exercising, not smoking, and going to the gym? Absolutely.”

Van Der Merwe agrees that it’s better to gym than not gym, but adds, “The idea that you’re gonna protect yourself from drugs and alcohol through nutrition and exercise is like trying to fight a house fire with a wet sponge.”

A TEN BAG OF WEED

Guy Jones, a chemist working for harm-reduction and drug- testingorganization the Loop, explains that the THC in weed affects the endocannabinoid system in the brain, which is responsible for many things, including hunger control and sleep regulation. A few years ago, during a particularly heavy assault on my endocannabinoid system, a friend started choking on whipped cream. The prospect of my friend dying at the hands of a dessert topping really shook me, and I remember my high being totally erased by the ensuing panic.

I can’t remember exactly how much I’d smoked, but I asked Jones if fear was a viable way to counteract the effects of an occasional ten bag, or about a gram. “The adrenaline won’t stop the cannabis from being in the system,” he said, “but it will absolutely affect what we call downstream signaling from the cannabinoid receptors… so yes, it is entirely possible to generate a moment of clarity [while you’re high].”

Of course, the primary issue with cannabis is the fact you’re sucking burning plant matter into your lungs—and if you’re European, there’s most likely some tobacco in the mix. As Jones says, “Tobacco is a phenomenally toxic and carcinogenic drug. The number one harm-reduction tip for cannabis is to not smoke it with tobacco.” Unfortunately, according to Van Der Merwe, spring-cleaning your lungs through exercise is just not a thing. “The idea that you can, say, run for ten miles to clear your lungs of carcinogens… it’s not going happen.”

A GRAM OF COKE

One big thing about cocaine—everywhere outside of South America, at least—is that it’s cut with all sorts of nasty stuff because dealers are cheap bastards, and that stuff has varying effects on the body (although it’s unlikely any of it will make your skin rot away, as was reported last year). But no matter how diluted your cocaine, it’s going to “cause problems in the heart because it blocks nerve signals, interrupting the electrical rhythm that causes it to beat nicely,” said Jones.

Everyone I spoke to said there’s no surefire way to mitigate this side effect. “People think drinking alcohol with coke is quite a useful way of offsetting that jittery effect you get,” said Winstock. “But that combination itself is actually much more dangerous, because of course you end up doing more coke and more alcohol, which is bad for your heart and liver.” Jones agrees: “The harm-reduction tip that I would give for cocaine, rather than focusing on its own specific effect on the heart, is to keep alcohol intake low.”

How about, I asked Van Der Merwe, if your heart is a well-tuned machine with a resting rate of 30 bpm, like Lance Armstrong? “He wouldn’t recover from it quicker, but he’d probably be less likely to die.”

Long-term regular cocaine use can also lead to heart tissue swelling and scarring, and while the swelling is reversible via exercise and not doing loads of gear all the time, the scarring—which results in permanent damage to the heart and a potential early death—is not.

A GRAM OF MDMA

Unlike cocaine, MDMA doesn’t directly interfere with electrical impulses in the heart. But, as Jones explained, “It does put extra stress on the heart because it constricts blood vessels, raising blood pressure and making the heart work harder.”

Again, it’s difficult to combat damage to the heart—but of all the drugs I asked about, MDMA was the only one where nutrition seemed to play a role in helping with the psychological comedown. Over-the-counter supplements, like the amino acid 5HTP, can help replenish serotonin—the “joy chemical” sapped from your brain during MDMA use, making you feel depressed the day after—as can amino acid-rich food like turkey, salmon, and quinoa.

Thing is, said Winstock, it’s always better to eat healthily, whether you’re on drugs or not. Ruth Kander, a consultant dietician, agreed with this slice of common sense—”It’s always better to have spinach and a banana than a fry up”—and dismissed the notion that a good diet could outweigh the destructive nature of these drugs: “If you’re drinking huge amounts and you’re taking drugs, you’re wreaking havoc with your body, and nothing is going to fix that.”

A GRAM OF KET

Given the harmful nature of these drugs, coupled with variables like purity and personal tolerance, tuns out there really aren’t many ways to reduce the damage they cause. Weirdly, though, the one drug most likely to totally and completely fuck you up is also actually kind of, vaguely, relatively safe. Here’s Jones to tell you how ketamine works:

“Ketamine blocks nerve signals from the brain to the body and vice versa. In a very small amount, it produces what many describe as a pleasant disassociation—almost a generic feeling of being high. Higher doses will eventually cause the user to enter a completely anesthetic state, where they’re unable to move and they ‘exist’ entirely within their head—commonly referred to as the K-hole.”

And even if you’re one of those weird idiots who does monster lines specifically so you can K-hole, you’re using a drug that comes in pretty low on the harm scale—way below alcohol, tobacco, and cannabis. “Ketamine is a surprisingly safe anesthetic, to the extent that it’s on the World Health Organization’s list of essential medicines,” said Jones. “And the doses it would be administered as an anesthetic would be much higher than the typical recreational dose.”

Of course, this shouldn’t be any sort of justification to hammer a gram of ket every weekend. The long-term damage of heavy use includes scarring of the bladder, which can become so severe that you may need a transplant. Everyone I spoke to said the only way to limit the long-term effects of K is to stop doing K.

FIVE NOS BALLOONS

According to the Global Drug Survey, NOS is now the seventh most popular drug in the world. Given the short high and small price, you can see why.

As I’ve previously done balloons and felt absolutely fine seconds later, I asked Winstock if there are any long-term effects of nitrous. “Data from over 16,000 nitrous oxide users recruited as part of Global Drug Survey 2015 and 2016 showed that about 4 percent of users reported symptoms that were consistent with developing a peripheral neuropathy—nerve damage—persistent tingling in their feet and fingers,” he said. “And that’s due to inactivation of vitamin B12.”

So is there any way to protect yourself from this kind of damage? “The easiest thing? Take less balloons,” said Winstock. “But you could also supplement yourself with vitamin B12.” If you read all that and you’re now thinking of popping out to the drugstore for a bottle of B12 and some 5HTP, take note of what Winstock told me: “Taking drugs isn’t like debit and credit; there isn’t the fat-burning equivalent. What you need to do is use drugs smartly and, otherwise, stay happy and healthy. Don’t smoke, do exercise, don’t be overweight, because they’re actually way more important—the things that predict whether you’re going to die young aren’t whether or not you do a bit of coke on the weekend or have the odd spliff—it’s whether you’re fat, whether you smoke, your family history, and your socioeconomic status.”

That last point stuck out. Speaking to Winstock, it seemed that one of the few ways to prevent “the ravages of drug use” is to not be poor. Winstock knows this better than anyone. “A lot of the people I treat have had very disadvantaged lives and very little resources. It makes them more vulnerable and less likely to go and see a GP, less likely to be able to afford to buy vegetables and salad and fresh fruit,” he said.

“A very middle-class, Guardian-reading clique like the idea that they go to yoga, and they’re vegetarians, and therefore they can do these drugs and they’re more protected. But it’s not that they’re protected; it’s just that they’ve got more physical and social capital, so drugs are less likely to knacker them.”

Sorry to be a giant buzzkill, but the long-term effects of these drugs are just too destructive to be abated by the addition of some organic food and a bit of exercise. So if you’re looking for the best ways to minimize harms, just do drugs sensibly and in moderation, or don’t do drugs at all.

“Everything you do—every decision that you make—has an impact on your life. So, yes, you can potentially increase your lifespan by eating more healthily, exercising more healthily, and sleeping more healthily,” said Jones. “But if you were truly dedicated to your own personal health, then you would probably never take drugs. Mind you, you might also never leave the house, because crossing the road is pretty dangerous.”

VICE News


For information regarding the effects of drug abuse – Click Here
For  information on a drug free work place – Click Here
For  information on substance abuse programs – Click Here
For information on DOT Drug / Alcohol Testing requirements – Click Here

Brandon Rains
Director Of Online Marketing
https://www.AccreditedDrugTesting.com
(800) 221-4291
Accredited Drug Testing Inc
Health Screening USA Inc

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Implementing a drug free workplace program on its own is a challenging task. Just think about the challenges an employer would face implementing a comprehensive drug free workplace program which consists of DOT regulated employees and NON-DOT employees.  However, an employer who implements a Non-DOT and DOT drug free workplace policy is provided with several benefits relating to the business, employee and general public.

DOT Regulations, Drug Free Policy and Non-DOT Employees

Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations 49 CFR Part 40, are typically referred to as the “Gold Standard” in the drug and alcohol testing industry. Part 40 clearly sets forth procedures in the regulations with respect to implementing and properly maintaining a DOT Regulated Drug Testing Program.

Part 40 also provides guidelines for the procedural requirements if the company receives a positive drug or alcohol test result. Consequently, many companies implement Part 40 regulations and procedures for their own Non-DOT or Non-Regulated drug and alcohol testing programs.

In many cases, some employers wish to expand upon Federal Regulations to include testing for different types of drugs, include additional reasons to test and increase the percentage of the employee random testing pool.

Are DOT Policies Outdated?

Many would argue that the DOT policy is lacking or at the very least a little outdated as it relates to the types of drugs employers are permitted to test for. As Part 40 Currently reads, employers are permitted to test for Amphetamines, Cocaine, Marijuana, Opiates (Codeine, Morphine and Heroin) and PCP.  On the other hand, there are several other forms of drugs widely available, and their use is on the rise.  These drugs are currently going undetected by companies only testing under DOT Regulations.

As an employer, what are your options?

Some best practices we often recommend are that employers have separate policies that work in conjunction with their “Safety Sensitive” DOT regulated employees. Today’s employees are starting to abuse drugs beyond the standard DOT 5 panel drug test, leaving the question of should the employee be tested for additional drugs of abuse?

If employers should desire to test in addition to the DOT Regulated Requirements, they must ensure that all DOT requirements are satisfied first and then must request a second collection and test to be executed under the secondary NON-DOT policy utilizing a NON-Federal Chain of Custody Form.  It is essential that these procedures be standardized and consistently practiced to prevent any potential for discrimination.

Here are some astonishing statistics to consider for your drug free workplace program:

  • “The United States makes up 5% of the world’s population and consumes 75% of the world’s prescription drugs.” – Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse
  • “In the US alone, more than 15 million people abuse prescription drugs.” – Source: Foundation for a Drug-Free World
  • “Most abused prescription drugs fall under 3 categories: painkillers – 5.1 million; tranquilizers/depressants – 2.2 million; stimulants – 1.1 million.” – Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse

 

For more information regarding implementing a drug free workplace program call us today at 800-221-4291 or visit us at www.accrediteddrugtesting.com/drug-free-workplace

 

 

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The effects of Veteran substance abuse are substantial in the United States. Veterans often have to cope with stress after returning from multiple deployments. They may also suffer from mental illnesses and injuries that can contribute to a substance use disorder.

Veteran Substance Abuse Related To Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Veteran PTSD

PTSD or Post-traumatic stress disorder is an extremely common mental illness that is seen among United States Veterans. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event — by experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts. These symptoms may be provoked by obsessive thoughts leading to memories, or anything that is relatable to the trama. Many Veterans turn to substance abuse to self-medicate and numb their pain. More than 20 percent of Veterans with PTSD suffer from a drug or alcohol addiction.

Veteran Substance Abuse Related To Pain Managment

Along with mental illnesses, many of our Military become seriously injured and tend to be treated with extremely strong pain medication. Once exposed to these medications, many find it hard to stop. Perscription pain medication is one of the leading factors in drug abuse today.From 2001 to 2009, the rate of opioids prescribed to military members has quadrupled, mainly because of combat-related injuries and muscle strains.

Veteran Substance Abuse

War today, like the War On Terror, is extremely different then it has been in the past. This new kind of war has increased the emotional and traumatic experiences suffered by United States Service Members.

Veteran Substance Abuse Statistics

A number of studies have shown that there are links between Veteran substance abuse, depression, and suicide. In one study that involved around 600 Veterans who were deployed to either Afghanistan or Iraq, 39% of the vets were screened and showed positive for alcohol abuse.

Veteran Substance Abuse

larger study that involved more than 675,000 active duty personnel determined that the rate of both substance use disorders and depression has increased among active members of the military. This rounds to about 1 in 15 Veterans having a substance abuse problem.  Another study determined that the rate of suicide across all military services in the USA increased between 2005 and 2007.

 

 

 

Prevention Not Punishment

The declaration of President Trumps Opioid Epidemic, a public health emergency, has heightened the awareness of the effects drug addiction is having on American citizens. With the United States Military battling the War On Terror, the rest of America will be battling the War On Drugs. Prevention, not punishment is key in changing the statistics.

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Popular Drug Test Used for Drivers, Pilots Doesn’t Screen for Abused Prescriptions

Aug 19 2016

James Greer, the president of testing company Accredited Drug Testing, said agencies like the Federal Aviation Administration and the federal Department of Transportation only require drivers and pilots to take a five panel drug test, screening for THC, illicit opiates, PCP, cocaine, and amphetamines.

“There’s an assumption… that the five-panel is good enough for the federal government so it ought to in fact cover everything we need to know,” said Greer.

A New Jersey bus driver had only been on the job for 13 days when he pulled out in front a dump truck, resulting in a crash that killed 11-year-old Isabelle Tezla.

The National Transportation Safety Board was brought in to investigate the 2012 Chesterfield crash, which caused the bus to spin around like a top before slamming into a light pole. The driver had recently passed the nation’s most commonly used drug test, but the investigative body ultimately said the driver’s “reduced vigilance” due to fatigue and the “sedative effects from his use of prescription medications” contributed to the crash.

The I-Team found that the test the driver passed – a five-panel drug test – didn’t screen for the drug he was using, the powerful prescription opiate Tramadol. The test, which is the federal standard for commercial drivers and pilots, checks for illegal drugs but not the most commonly abused prescription drugs.

“The industry standards need to change, it’s not just what the federal government requires,” said Heidi Villari, the Tezla family’s attorney.

He said an enhanced test, or a 10- or 12-panel test would catch more drug users, but it is rare that companies pay more for the more thorough test.

Dawn Nappi, a spokeswoman for Mothers Against Drunk Driving, has devoted her life to pushing for stricter drugged driving laws after her daughter 14-year-old Angelica was killed by a drugged driver when she was just 14 years old. She said it was disturbing that prescription drug addicts could slip through the cracks.

 “It’s very scary because you are eliminating testing for drugs that a lot of people are taking,” Nappi said.

She added, “They are taking your life in their hands.”

The Department of Health and Human Services, which sets drug testing policy, says they issued proposed changes last year to expand testing to include four additional prescription medications.

But drug testing experts say that proposal may take up to two years yours to go into effect. In the meantime, they say, the public is in danger. As for Tezla’s case, the driver never faced criminal charges and the bus company settled a civil case with the family.

 


For information regarding the effects of drug abuse – Click Here
For  information on a drug free work place – Click Here
For  information on substance abuse programs – Click Here
For information on DOT Drug / Alcohol Testing requirements – Click Here

Brandon Rains
Director Of Online Marketing
https://www.AccreditedDrugTesting.com
(800) 221-4291
Accredited Drug Testing Inc
Health Screening USA Inc

on

On Wednesday March 29, 2017 President Trump announced that his administration would be creating a new task force which would address the growing heroin and opioid epidemic.

“Drug abuse has become a crippling problem throughout the United States,” said President Donald Trump.

President Trump selected New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to spearhead the commission.

The task force mission is to partner with state and local governments to determine the best methods available or come up with new ways to fight the heroin and opioid abuse problem, which kills an estimated 91 Americans every day.

“I’m thrilled to work with the attorney general…on issues of prevention and interdiction of drugs so that we don’t get people hooked in the first place,” says Governor Christie.

The Growing Opioid Epidemic

This new commission is being created in the most opportune time, as heroin use and option abuse in the United States is continuing to skyrocket.

Columbia University researchers have found that heroin abuse has risen five-fold in the past decade. According to researchers, the biggest jump is among Caucasians between 18 and 44 years of age. The study shows that the trend has been fueled in part by the misuse of opioid prescription drugs.

The Trump administration’s anti-drug task force will also focus on increased law enforcement and addiction treatment.

A report centered around the opioid crisis and potential solutions is one of the immediate actions items of the commission and is expected to be completed by October.