Marijuana and Employment: Positive Workplace Drug Tests on the Increase

drug-free-workplaceFor the first time since 2003, workplace drug tests took a jump. This is according to Quest Diagnostics, a company performing workplace drug tests across the country. In all, more than eight million workplace drug tests contributed to the most recent Quest Diagnostics database.

Their results showed that in 2012, the rate of positive tests was 3.5% of all workplace tests. In 2013, that rate rose to 3.7%. That constituted a 6.7% increase.

While that may not seem to be an extraordinary increase, consider this: In Colorado, the first year that recreational use of marijuana was legalized, the rate increased 20%.

And in Washington State, which also legalized the recreational use of marijuana, the rate increased 23%.

Some companies choose to hire drug-free employees and others must hire drug-free employees due to security issues, government contracts or highly sensitive job duties. Continue reading

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Epidemic of Opiate Abuse and Addiction

The 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health has been released. Study this very long and detailed report and you will see that for some drugs, the numbers of Americans using them have gone down. Not so for heroin.

The graph below shows the numbers of heroin users among those 12 and older. You can see how much the numbers have gone up since 2003.

graph of heroin users

Past Month and Past Year Heroin Use Among Persons Aged 12 and Older: 2002-2012 Source: National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Summary of National Findings, 2012.

This report just takes you through 2012. Some of heroin use numbers in 2013 were up again. Continue reading

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New Informational Resource Released by Narconon in Observance of National Recovery Month

recoveryIn September of every year, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration sponsors National Recovery Month. President Obama heralded the 2014 edition of National Recovery Month with a proclamation at the end of August, in which he praised the “courageous men and women” who every day “take the first step toward reclaiming their lives from substance abuse disorders.” He cites the fact that more than 20 million people in the United States suffer from substance abuse disorders, but underscores the fact that “recovery is possible.” Something can, indeed, be done about the problems of substance abuse and addiction. Narconon is fully on board with the goals of National Recovery Month, and is one of many groups and organizations who are participating in the event, which is now in its 25th year of annual observance. This year’s edition carries the theme “Join the Voices for Recovery: Speak Up, Reach Out.” In keeping with this theme, Narconon has released a new online information resource which is aimed at helping people reach out to their friends and family members who may be struggling with substance abuse and who need assistance in recovering and getting sober. Continue reading

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Marijuana Impaired Driving Illustrated in Denver Car Crash

In Denver in July 2014, there was a serious traffic accident caused by a young female driver who was driving impaired. According to her statements to police after the accident, she had drunk one beer and smoked “a bowl”of marijuana before driving.

She was speeding down Colfax Avenue – a 30 mph zone – at 60 miles per hour. When she ran a red light, she crashed into another car and caused six people to be injured. She now has to appear in court to answer to charges of driving impaired and vehicular assault.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has carefully analyzed the kinds of impairments caused by the use of marijuana. In fact, their website carries the results of their analysis of fifteen different drugs and their impacts on driving performance. You can download a PDF of the entire series here:

marijuana impaired driving effects Continue reading

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What Makes Synthetic Marijuana (Spice/K2) So Dangerous?

k2 synthetic marijuanaUse of this relatively new drug tends to be more common among those people who think they might be tested for their drug use. So two groups that may use more of this drug than the general population include teenagers and members of the military. A few years ago, it was true that drug tests could not detect these drugs. But now many of them can be detected with updated drug tests.

There is still a problem with detection – the formulas constantly change. As one chemical is banned by the federal or state government, another chemicals, created by just changing a single molecule, hits the streets. This new formula might not show up on a drug test, even an updated one.

When a person reacts badly to this drug or takes too much (there’s no recommended dosages) he (or she) may end up in the emergency room. Even if he can tell the doctors what he took, they may not know what’s in that package. Continue reading

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Opioid Overdose Deaths – Are They from Heroin or Painkillers?

prescription drugs heroinSurveys show that teens and young adults abuse prescription drugs because they think they are safer than street drugs. If that impression were actually true, then it would seem that the majority of opiate overdose deaths would come from heroin. A new report shows that prescription opiates are killing more people than heroin.

Many people get started abusing these drugs after they are prescribed by a doctor. With many drugs that end up being abused, the first thing that happens is that a patient develops a tolerance to the initial dose. As a tolerance is built up, it takes more of the same drug to provide the same degree of pain relief. The patient returns to the doctor and explains that they are once again in pain (or sleepless or anxious, depending on which drug was prescribed). The doctor expects this and increases the dose. This may happen again, maybe even two or three more times. At this point, many doctors will become uncomfortable with increasing the dose and may refuse. Or he may become concerned with the possibility of overuse or abuse by the patient and cut him or her off completely. Continue reading

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Trying to Understand a Methamphetamine Addict


meth addictFrom time to time, there are shocking and painful news articles that feature a person who was using methamphetamine heavily before the event reported in the news. For example, this story from Utah, June 2014. A woman apparently gave birth to seven infants over a period of time and killed six of them, hiding the babies’ bodies in the garage. (The last baby was stillborn.) She was a methamphetamine addict. In the news report, the police stated that she did not want to deal with the responsibility.

A heavy methamphetamine addict is nowhere near this coherent. This may be what she told the police, once she wasn’t high and was trying to answer their questions. But it’s probably not the real story.

When a person uses methamphetamine heavily, they often stay up for days. Meth is an extremely strong stimulant that makes a person abnormally energetic. If they have enough of the drug, they will stay up for several days. They don’t feel hunger so they don’t eat. The body will finally collapse and then they might sleep for 24 hours or longer. Continue reading

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How Everyone in the US Pays for Illicit Drug Use

Imagine for the moment, a family living in a nice suburb. There are three children of varying ages, with one in high school and one in middle school. The father and mother have a glass of wine occasionally, or a beer with a barbecue and maybe a mild over-the-counter painkiller from time to time. The children receive no other drugs than perhaps an antibiotic or children’s aspirin from time to time

drugged drivingThis family might feel that they are free from the effects of drug abuse. No one is buying marijuana and using it, there are no opiate painkillers used or abused. No one gets drunk. Therefore, they might feel that the entire subject of drug abuse is something they don’t need to pay any attention to.

They would be wrong. They are paying for drug abuse in many different ways. It’s just that these ways are unseen by them. Let’s look at a few of these. Continue reading

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Music Festivals and the Drug Deaths Associated with Them

music festivalIt’s possible that most people who plan to go to an outdoor music festival also plan to use drugs or drink while they are there. It’s almost like drugs and music festivals go together like peanut butter and jelly. Unfortunately, this practice regularly results in one or more deaths.

Not every festival results in deaths. But in the Southern California area, the death of a fifteen year old girl in 2010 resulted in a serious crackdown on drugs at these events. The particular event at which she died – the Electric Daisy Music Festival – was banned from California and moved to Las Vegas. Despite this move, in the next four years, four more people died as a result of their drug use at music festivals in Southern California.

An attorney for the family of one of the people who died made a statement that may be all too true: “I think that any time a promoter is going to put on an electronic music festival, they need to have body bags, because people are going to die.” Continue reading

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Are the Legal Driving Limits for Marijuana Use Safe Enough?

using marijuana and drivingIn Michigan, law enforcement officers met to compare notes on how the increasing use of marijuana might affect traffic safety. In most states, legal limits for the amount of marijuana found in one’s bloodstream have not yet been set. The two states that have thus far legalized recreational use of pot have set a legal limit but that standard seems to have a rather tentative status so far.

The meeting was the Governor’s Highway Safety Association conference that convened in early September, 2014, in Grand Rapids. The director of the Washington Traffic Safety Commission told the group, “This is coming whether you like it or not,” referring to the necessity of determining the safety or danger of driving while high on marijuana. Continue reading

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