Quest Diagnostics Reports Workforce Drug Positivity Rising, Yet Again

As partners to Quest Diagnostics, ESS likes to follow the trends in workforce drug screening. As we’ve seen in past reports, it seems that some particular drugs have been popping up more and more as of late. Quest provides a published journal called the Drug Testing Index (DTI) that provides insight into drug use across the country. Every year for the last 30 years Quest publishes this report as a public service for employers, government, policymakers, media, and the public.

Highest in Ten Years

Increases in particular drugs like cocaine, methamphetamine, and marijuana have continued the trend of positive tests for workforce drug testing. According to this years DTI, drug use by the American workforce remains at the highest rate in over a decade. This is unfortunate in accordance with the 30 year anniversary of the Drug-Free Workplace Act.

“It’s unfortunate that we mark 30 years of the Drug-Free Workplace Act with clear evidence that drugs continue to invade the country’s workplaces. Not only have declines appeared to have bottomed out, but also in some drug classes and areas of the country, drug positivity rates are increasing.”

  • Barry Sample, Ph.D., Senior Director of Science & Technology at Quest Diagnostics Employer Solutions

Here are a few notable findings from the study, which draws from over 10 million workplace drug test results.

  • Cocaine positivity rates increased for the 5th consecutive year, in every specimen type
  • After a 30 year low in 2012, positivity rate remained at 4.2%
  • Marijuana positivity continued it’s 5 year upward trajectory
  • Marijuana positivity was higher in states that enacted new recreational use legislation
  • Methamphetamine positivity skyrocketed in Midwest and Southern States

Being that drug test positivity rates are at a decade long high, it’s clear that any business, large or small, should ensure they’re hiring great employees by drug testing ahead of time. It’s also suggested to provide random drug tests following the hiring process, just to be sure your employees are maintaining their dedication to a healthy mind and body, as well as obeying the law. Your company’s reputation rests on the backs of the individuals who keep the ship afloat, and that’s why you need to screen your employees. For more information on employment drug testing with ESS, just give us a call or reach out via our contact form!

Young Professionals & Smart Drugs | Why You Drug Test

If you’re in the business of hiring young professionals who may be fresh out of college or graduate school, you should be aware of smart drugs. Over the last decade or so, there has been a significant increase in the use of drugs like Adderall, a prescription controlled substance created to help treat individuals with ADHD. Here’s a little more information about drugs like Adderall, and why you should know about them.

Easy to Find

Many young people can get their hands on Adderall while in college. It isn’t too cumbersome to get a prescription to the drug, but it is even easier to find some on a college campus. A study called The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry found that Adderall misuse is highest among 18-25 year olds, who are getting the medication through another source, such as a friend or a dealer. Simply ask a young person what they know about Adderall, and you might learn a thing or two.

An Edge

So why are these kids using drugs that aren’t prescribed to them? Many will attest to the drugs ability to focus in on, and complete tasks that otherwise might be challenging or undesirable. Someone with ADHD probably takes the drug daily, and is so used to it, they would feel as if they weren’t themself without it. Someone who doesn’t have a prescription could use the drug to help complete an important or difficult task, and become dependent on the drug for success. Despite common awareness that misuse of the drug can cause issues and side effects, the edge that Adderall and other “smart” drugs provide is enough to keep people looking.

Why It Matters

So what does this have to do with hiring? We often talk about what can happen in the event you don’t drug test employees, or what could happen if someone using were to make a mistake on the job. Don’t you want employees who are honest, hardworking, and find motivation in the work? You have to be aware that the normalcy of these drugs for college students puts them in a position of feeling like taking a drug like adderall is associated with doing work. If you’re going to be hiring them to do your work, you want to count on them every day, not just if they found a pill the doctor didn’t even give them.

You should always drug test your employees prior to making a hiring decision. There are specific risks that could occur if you don’t. When hiring young professionals, the chances of them failing a drug test are significantly higher, so establishing that trust can be challenging. They are new, fresh, and can bring a lot to a company, but you should always make sure that their attitude matches their resume. You wouldn’t want to hire someone who isn’t as good as they are when they are on a drug that isn’t theirs.

The Dos and Dont’s of Reasonable Suspicion Drug Testing

Drug testing in the workplace can lead to some awkward encounters. Employees can feel like the work environment is against them or that they are targeted if the topic of drug use is brought up. So how does an employer balance a somewhat touchy topic? Reasonable suspicion drug testing is how. This clause in any work contract lets the employee know that if there is any cause for suspicion, they will be tested.

What actually is Reasonable Suspicion?

The employer has a legitimate reason, based on sound judgement and hard evidence, to believe that the employee has been taking drugs. There is no guessing, speculating, listening to hearsay or discriminating against them.There also are exceptions to this criteria. Examples of reasonable suspicion might include but are not limited to:

* Direct observation of drug use and/or physical symptoms of drug use

* Abnormal behaviors

* Evidence that the employee has used, possessed, sold, solicited, or transferred drugs while working or at work

At Employment Screening Services, we are here to help you run a safer, more effective workplace. So here are some dos and dont’s when implementing a reasonable suspicion drug testing policy;

Dos

Let employees know up front that they are subject to being tested if there is a reasonable question of their sobriety. This question should be brought to light by 2 concurring supervisors.

Train management a minimum of two hours of on reasonable suspicion signs, symptoms and documentation. Retraining those individuals on a yearly basis is highly recommended.

Be specific! If filing a reasonable suspicion action against an employee, keep the language concise and specific as possible.

Dont’s

Do not based any action on a prior incident. Reasonable suspicion is only for events that you have directly seen!

Do not over exaggerate or use anecdotes. When creating the claim be specific as possible.

Employee Screening Services wants to help you decrease turnover, accidents, and theft from your workplace. If you’d like to talk about employment drug testing, just give us a call and we can start working together asap!

Sign of the Times | Substance Abuse Amongst Young People

It’s important to screen and check any potential new employee. This is a them across most of the posts here on our blog, but today we wanted to talk a little about drug and alcohol abuse amongst young people. You might be surprised to hear how The Lucky Few, (1923-1942), Baby Boomers (1943-1962), Generation X (1963-1982), and Millenials (1983-2002) vary in drug and alcohol abuse. Taking a look at the infographic below might help shed a little light on the subject, as the results are pretty interesting.

For one, alcohol is the most used substance across all four generations. When at the peak of use, Millenials, Gen X, and Boomers used alcohol in over 80% of cases. The second most commonly used substance across all generation was marijuana. The drug use amongst Baby Boomers seemed to be the most prevalent amongst all 4 generations. It was painkillers, specifically opioids, that the Millenial Generation seemed to stand out much more than any of the other 3 generations. This is unfortunate, yet not surprising as we have seen the opioid epidemic reach records highs.

If you’d like to talk about employment drug testing, just give us a call and we can start working together asap!

 

Workaholics Anonymous | Drug Abuse Among Nurses

Nursing is one of the most admirable positions a person can hold. It takes a kind, strong soul to maintain the desire to continue helping people each and every day. The endless workload can take it’s toll on nurses, as double shifts, rotating shifts, decreased staffing and other factors can lead to high levels of stress. Fatigue, alienation, and the “workaholic” mentality can be tough to deal with and oftentimes, lead to nurses living, breathing, and sleeping through their work. This can lead to drug and alcohol abuse.

Much like anyone else, someone who is in an unstable environment is at risk for abusing alcohol or drugs. Unfortunately for nurses, though the work they do is for the betterment of patients and their families, it is indeed an unstable environment for them. They battle through it each and every day and continue to show up, and that is a testament to all nurses all over the country.

The American Nurses Association has estimated that around 8% of nurses use either alcohol or drugs to an extent that could impair their professional judgement. One could suspect that up to 10% of nurses have alcohol or drug abuse problems, based on the lifestyle that nurses are forced to live. Prescription-type medication use has been noted to be higher among nurses, while cocaine and marijuana use is lower than the general population.

Drug and alcohol abuse can greatly affect an individual’s wellbeing, as well as their families and friends. This could increase tenfold when dealing with the responsibilities that a nurse has when taking care of patients. Drug abuse from nurses is a very harmful and dangerous situation. Just a few consequences that could happen when a nurse is using drugs or abusing alcohol include:

  • Patient mistreatment, including incorrect basic care, medication errors and abuse
  • Patient death
  • Higher hospital or clinic costs associated with legalities of patient mistreatment, stolen drugs, lost wages, training, and re-hiring
  • Nurses may lose time due to treatment, thus receive lower wages
  • Nurses can lose their job and even their entire career depending on the damage drug abuse has caused in their life

Employers that are hiring new nurses should be aware of the risks associated, and implement a drug testing policy with all employees. There are benefits to pre employment drug testing, in order to weed out potential hires who use drugs, but because of how much responsibility a nursing staff has, regular or random drug testing should be on the minds of employers. If you are in charge of hiring new personel at a hospital, nursing home, or any health care facility, turn to an employment drug testing company who takes their position seriously. Employment Screening Services has a long list of clients who know the passion that goes into helping the right people get hired, and preventing the wrong ones from causing harm to your company.

Reasonable Suspicion | Signs of Drug Use in an Employee

Regardless of if you implemented a pre employment drug screening, an employee using drugs is a high risk to your company. You simply can’t afford to risk ignoring a person who is using drugs frequently, or under the influence of drugs while on the clock. This person is not only putting themselves in danger under your figurative wing, but putting their teammates in jeopardy, and could end up costing the company money.

Drug testing all prospective employees prior to their hiring is a good way to avoid letting drug users into the workplace from the get go, but what if you suspect someone currently employed is under the influence? This makes for a time to request a reasonable suspicion drug test. There are many signs that a person may be using illegal drugs, or abusing prescription drugs. Here are a few signs.

  • Frequent Absences With Lack of Notice
  • Flimsy Excuses/Lack of Documentation for Sick Days
  • Frequent Lengthy Trips to Bathroom/Car/Other
  • Irregular Work Performance Fluctuation
  • Evidence of Lack of Attention, Poor Judgement, or Bad Decision Making
  • Typical Issues Causing Serious Explosive Outbursts
  • Memory Loss, Confusion, Difficulty Concentrating
  • Refusal to Take Responsibility
  • Lack of Typical Appearance/Hygiene
  • Intense Personality Changes
  • Fellow Employees Noticing Any Signals

As an employer, the responsibility falls on you to do your due diligence to maintain a staff that is working at the highest of their ability. Without a drug free staff, that task is impossible. Beyond the responsibility associated in ensuring the business runs safely and efficiently, consider the ethical and moral responsibility. If you recognize this person is showing significant signs of drug abuse or addiction, you can intervene and help them fix their situation before it’s too late.

With so much abuse turning into life-altering overdose and in some cases, death, don’t be afraid to reach out to someone who appears to be struggling. That being said, legality is in question when drug use is signified. As an American, you have a legal responsibility to ensure everyone in your circle is not breaking the law. Drug users can cause an accident in the workplace, but when left untreated, they can also cause harm to themselves and their family.

If you are considering implementing a new drug testing policy at your company, turn to a background screening company that takes this seriously. When it comes to employment screening companies, you can find a lot of different salesman, but turn to someone you trust. With years of experience working in this industry, following our leader, Bob Wright, ESS can help you today with any background screening or drug testing needs. Just simply give us a call!

Urinalysis Test Cheaters | How Employees & Job Candidates Can Try To “Beat the Test”

You’ve probably heard old wives’ tales about how so and so “beat” a drug test by using various different methods. You’ve also probably seen some of our materials on the benefits of hair follicle drug testing, in contrast to urinalysis. Maybe you follow professional sports and hear about potential first round draft picks dropping because of “diluted” samples. We figured we could take some time to talk about common methods that potential job candidates may use to “beat” a pre employment drug test.

Dilution

This is probably the most widely used, and widely marketed process to avoid a positive urine drug test. Companies all over the U.S. compete to sell their “Detox” drink, that all promise the same thing; undetectable drugs. Though most are known by title as “detox” drinks, they do not detoxify the body. What it actually does is hold the toxins in the body, allowing someone to pass a drug test. A drug user can possibly turn up a negative test by simply drinking the drink 2 hours before, urinating 3-4 times before the test. “100% Satisfaction Guaranteed” is present on most of these products, but oftentimes, the test will show unusual amount of dilution, which should always require an additional test.

Substitution

A simple Google search, much like the dilution “detox” drinks, can find you a multitude of “Urine Substitutes”. Back in the good ole’ days, a potential drug test cheater might just request or purchase another person’s urine, and try and sneak it in, to use as their sample. Nowadays there are all types of products and methods to try and substitute clean urine. Just check out the number of message boards on the internet to see how much thought and effort go into switching urine samples. Typically the strict way to avoid cheating is for a lab worker to literally watch the person urinate, but there are even products that recreate the process using tubing and artificial genitalia. Yes, artificial genitalia.

Adulterating

This is something that you can see a potential candidate try and to, or even a current employee that may want to turn back a random drug test. Basically what adulterating a sample is tampering with the sample by adding certain chemicals that will either mask the drugs in the system or interfere with the equipment/test. Also known as “doping” a sample, someone who wants to buy time for themselves in a random drug test scenario could add soap, salt, bleach, eye drops or something else to try and avoid a positive test.

As you can see, there is a lot of thought and effort that go toward beating drug tests. This is something that every business owner should know and understand, so they can avoid being fooled someone is drug free. Regardless of if you test them in the beginning, a drug user causing an accident or stealing from the job could cost you serious money. It’s always beneficial to administer a urine drug test for any possible candidate prior to hiring, and it’s also vital to think about random and reasonable suspicion drug testing. Hair follicle drug testing could possibly offer a better solution for new hires, with a longer window of detection. If you have any questions about employment drug testing, feel free to send us a message in our contact form, or give us a call!

Data Shows Increase in Employee Cocaine, Marijuana and Amphetamine Usage

According to a recent report out of the New York Times, Employers across the country are experiencing increased difficulty in hiring protocol as job seekers and current human resources alike both refuse to take and/or are unable to successfully complete required drug tests.  The problem speaks to growing drug use in adult demographics as businesses increase efforts to cultivate safe workplace environments for staff.

While finding qualified and committed employees can be a considerable challenge, the reality is that drug use is a legitimate and expanding factor in filling open jobs in an economy that has stabilized since the 2008 recession.  The number of employees yielding positive results for illicit drug use increased for the second consecutive year in 2014 after having declined from 1988 to 2012.  In fact workplace urine tests that tested positive for illegal substances has risen a shocking 9 percent, according to Quest Diagnostics, a testing services and health care company.

Naturally, increasing drug usage is seen in some sectors more than others, putting a dent in the available labor pool for fields that typically experience higher levels of turnover and increased risks to employee safety — such as transportation and/or construction.

Even in the modern era of changing state marijuana laws — legalization of medical grade or, in some cases, general legalization, positive results increased in other drugs as we’ve recently covered.  Albeit Marijuana held onto its place atop commonly found drug usage.  Experts say there has been an undeniable increase in the number of people using Marijuana daily as usage has doubled from 2004 to 2014 alone and increased by nearly 8 time since 1992.  Interestingly enough, positive marijuana tests in states that have legalized the drug (Colorado and Washington) haven’t seen a significant increase compared the rest of the country.

Related: Positive Employment Drug Test Results Increase For 2nd Consecutive Year

With the alarming data pointing to increased drug usage, it remains integral for employers to screen efficiently, and perhaps more important, intelligently to ensure the quality employee base required to accomplish mutually beneficial goals.  Employment drug testing will save money, time and resources to ensure your first hire is the correct hire.  Whether your business’s unique demands require a hair follicle drug test, a urinalysis test or even NY license verification, it always benefits an employer to weed out any suspected substance abuse in both current or prospective employees.

For more information on how to set up any drug analysis your business requires, don’t hesitate to contact us or give us a call at (716) 332-2274

Quest Diagnostics Shows Increasing Trend of Drug Use in America’s Workforce

The percentage of drug usage in working-age Americans continues to increase, according to a recent report published by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The federal-government research institute works to advance science on the causes and consequences of drug use and addiction and to apply the knowledge to improve individual and public health.

The report shows the staggering results of a national survey on drug use and health trends in prevalence of various drug usage for multiple age ranges. In the 18 to 25-year-old age range, increased usage over the last month was reported in cocaine, hallucinogens, LSD, heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana. In the 26-years-old and older range, usage over the last month had increased in LSD, Heroin and Methamphetamine. But the trends in these drugs signify a general concern: according to analysis by Quest Diagnostics, workforce drug use in the U.S has now reached a 10-year high.

“Our nationally representative analysis clearly shows that drug use by the American workforce is on the rise, and this trend extends to several different classes of drugs and categories of drug tests.”
-Barry Sample, Ph.D., senior director, science and technology, Quest Diagnostics Employer Solutions.

Hair follicle drug tests, reasonable suspicion drug tests and urinalysis tests are just a few variations of employment drug testing that employers can use to avoid hiring drug users. Beyond productivity and efficiency concerns, Sample went on to stress the effect drugs have on safety in the work environment.

“The 2015 findings related to post-accident testing results should also be of concern to employers, especially those with safety-sensitive employees.”

With drug usage in the workforce continuing to rise, properly screening prospective employees plays an increasingly-important role in establishing a culture that your business, and employees can thrive in. Creating that environment requires effective screening protocol that identifies current, recent and/or long-term drug usage alike. Whether you need advanced background checks in Buffalo, NY, urinalysis, E-verify or even NY license verification, don’t hesitate to give us a call at (716) 332-2274 to discuss your specific needs. Establishing quality human resources is integral component of success and our experience in helping employers

Hair Follicle Drug Testing | What’s the Upside?

As we have mentioned, it really is a no brainer to incorporate pre employment drug testing to your potential new hires. Each method of drug testing has it’s own benefits, whether it be cost or turnaround time. Using hair as a specimen for drug testing is beneficial in it’s own way, for a variety of reasons. ESS is here for any questions you may have about any pre employment screening. Here are a few benefits of hair drug tests for employees.

Harder To Cheat. Harder to Beat.

There are countless websites with methods on how to beat a urine drug test. Any head shop nowadays will carry synthetic urine, special diluting drinks that a marijuana user could use within days of the test, and still possibly “beat the test.”

Drug testing specimens can be diluted, substituted (donor uses urine that is not actually theirs), or adulteration (manipulating the urine so drugs cannot be detected).

Bottom Line: Hair specimens are by nature almost impossible to dilute and very difficult to adulterate.

 

Longer Detection Window.

When it comes to laboratory positive detection rates, hair follicle drug testing has a big advantage over urine drug testing. Bottom line, drugs stay in a humans hair longer than it does their urine specimen.

Drugs Detectable in Urine Specimen – 4 Hours – 7 Days

Drugs Detectable in Hair Specimen – 7 Days to 90 Days

Each Drug is different in terms of detection windows, and every person is different as well. Regardless of who you are drug testing, when the last time they used was, etc, using hair follicle specimens as a means of pre employment drug testing will provide an increased hit rate.

Bottom Line: Hair drug testing can increase hit rate, which can lower risk, cost of failed tests, and facilitate a safer workplace for your team.

These are only 2 primary reasons why a company can benefit more from a hair follicle drug test than other forms of pre employment drug tests, but once again, each company profile is different.

Some companies may not need the “scare tactic” of weeding extras out with the public knowledge of a hair drug test. Some companies may need to prevent this as soon as possible, in the hiring process, to avoid hiring the wrong employee. Either way, contact ESS for any further information on drug testing and pre employment screening.