Category: Drug Testing News

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Hawaii Becomes the 26th State to Decriminalize Marijuana

On Tuesday July 9, 2019 the State of Hawaii, under the new legislation HI measure 1383 became law without the signature of Hawaii Governor David Ige.  This new bill will take effect on January 11, 2020 which removes any jail time associated with marijuana possession of 3 grams or less and now individuals will face a fine of $130.

Additional penalties outlined in this bill include Possession of more than 3 grams, but less than 1 ounce of marijuana is a petty misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days imprisonment and/or a fine of $1,000.

Possession of 1 ounce or more but less than 1 pound is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 1-year imprisonment and/or a $2,000 fine.  Possession of 1 pound or more, of marijuana is a Class C felony punishable by up to 5 years imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

Governor David Ige declined to sign the legislation but also didn’t veto it by Tuesday’s deadline.

States with Marijuana Decriminalization

The following states have passed laws either fully or partially decriminalizing certain marijuana possession offenses. Usually, decriminalization means no arrest, prison time, or criminal record for the first-time possession of a small amount of marijuana for personal consumption.

In most decriminalized states, these offenses are treated like a minor traffic violation.

Additionally, over 50 localities in about a dozen states have enacted municipal laws or resolutions either fully or partially decriminalizing minor cannabis possession offenses.

* Voters in each of these jurisdictions have subsequently approved legislation legalizing the adult use and personal cultivation of cannabis.

** These states have partially decriminalized certain marijuana possession offenses. Although the law still classifies marijuana possession offenses as criminal, the offenses do not carry any threat of jail time.

*** North Dakota’s law takes effect on August 1, 2019.

**** Hawaii’s law takes effect on January 11, 2020.

How does marijuana legalization effect employers?

Employers regulated by Federal law (DOT, HHS, Federal Drug Free Workplace Act) are still required to test for the Standard Federal 5 panel drug test which currently screens for the following drugs.

  • Marijuana (THC)
  • Cocaine
  • Amphetamines
  • Opioids
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)

Under ‘Opioids’, previously ‘Opiates’, DOT testing will continue to include confirmatory testing, when appropriate, for Codeine, Morphine, and 6-AM (heroin). 

HHS also added initial and confirmatory testing for the semi-synthetic opioids Hydrocodone, Hydromorphone, Oxycodone, and Oxymorphone to this Opioids group.  Some brand names for the semi-synthetic opioids include OxyContin®, Percodan®, Percocet®, Vicodin®, Lortab®, Norco®, Dilaudid®, Exalgo®.

 Non-Regulated Employers

In most states employers still reserve the right to be a drug free workplace regardless of specific State or local municipalities laws regarding recreational and/or medical marijuana.  We recommend that each employer review their drug free workplace policy and any specific State, local or case law that may impact testing for a marijuana prior to implementing a drug free workplace policy/program.

What Employers Can Do?

  • Create a culture of safety for your employees, customers and community
  • Research any State, local or case law that may impact your drug free workplace policy to ensure compliance
  • Update your workplace drug & alcohol policy, making sure it is clear on violations and consequences.
  • Your policy should include all forms of drug & alcohol testing that you intend to use.
  • Employees company-wide must be made aware of the workplace drug & alcohol policies and procedures. This is an on-going conversation that should occur on a regular basis.
  • Enforce your policies consistently and fairly.

For more information regarding establishing a drug free workplace policy call us today!

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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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Can You Fail a Drug Test For Alcohol?

The plain and simple answer is yes.  If a particular drug testing panel contains alcohol as a marker, it is possible you may fail a drug test for alcohol.  Oftentimes employers and individual’s think of drugs and alcohol as one in the same.  In fact, both substances have the ability to cause impairment of a person’s mental, physical abilities, cause long-term health issues, and can foster unsafe situations.

Due to the abuse of alcohol and its long-term impact on public safety, society, addiction and health problems, it is common for employers to establish a drug-free workplace testing program that includes both drug and alcohol testing.

Concerns regarding substance abuse and addiction concerns is sweeping the nation and various companies may choose to implement alcohol testing as a deterrent and promote safe and healthy working environments. For this reason, one common question many employers and employees have regarding workplace alcohol and drug tests is, “Does alcohol show up in a drug test?” Let’s find out .

Does Alcohol Show Up In a Drug Test?

As we take a deeper look at if alcohol will show up in a drug test, we find several options.  It is important to note that a standard drug test does not test for alcohol.  However, alcohol can be included in a drug test if specifically requested. Thus, if you’re interested in testing employees or individuals for both drugs and alcohol, simply consult with your drug testing provider to determine what type of program best meets your needs.

How Can An Employer Test For Alcohol In The Workplace?

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recommends testing at the very minimum of the 5 most commonly abused drugs: (amphetamines, THC, cocaine, opiates, and phencyclidine (PCP) as well as alcohol. As stated previously, a standard drug test does not evaluate the presence of alcohol in a person’s system, but many companies elect to include alcohol in their written drug-free workplace policy.  The most common form of alcohol testing is a breath alcohol test; however, urine, saliva or hair testing options are available as well. In addition, with the current climate of the opioid epidemic, many companies are requesting their drug test include additional drugs beyond the standard five mentioned above (e.g., adding synthetic opioids and ecstasy).

Which Alcohol Test Is Right For Me?

Let’s dig a little deeper and determine if alcohol will show up in a drug test?  If you plan to test for alcohol, it is important to understand the different testing methods available and the amount of time that alcohol is detectable in the human body.

In hair, alcohol is present for up to 90 days. In blood or oral fluid, it is present for 12-24 hours. Finally, in urine alcohol can be present for 6-80 hours (depending on the method used for testing).

The two most common ways an employer can test for the presence of alcohol are through breath and saliva tests:

Breath: This method is the most common method for alcohol testing in the workplace.  Breathalyzer is the brand name of the original device and is the one of testing methods that provides a real time result and will measure impairment.  The Department of Transportation (DOT) has established strict requirements for the devices used to perform breath alcohol tests.  All devices used for DOT alcohol testing must be on the Conforming Products List of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  We recommend that employers or individuals only utilize devices that meet these high standards.

Saliva: This detection method detects the presence of ethanol, a by-product of beer, wine, and spirits. Although slightly more expensive than urine tests, saliva tests are easy to perform and can also detect alcohol ingested within the past day or two.

Finally, blood, hair and urine tests are most often used in forensic, legal and civil testing but infrequently in the workplace.

For more information call us today, 800-221-4291

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Belgian Police Use DNA to Find Suspects in Brussels Airport Bombing

March 28, 2016

Police Use DNA Testing

Belgian investigators are currently analysing DNA from the bombing in a Brussels airport to link a connection to the Paris bombings. French authorities say that the DNA found on one of the bombers vests in the Brussels airport was also found on a vest from the Paris attacks, which killed 130 people in November 2015.

There were two blasts at about 8AM on March 22nd ripped through the Belgian city’s main airport. An hour later, an explosion struck the subway station of Maelbeek, in the heart of Brussels. The attacks, claimed by ISIS and believed to have been carried out by five terrorists, killed 31 people and injured more than 300.

“After explosions like these, the first step is to collect all the objects from the blast scene that could be associated with the attack,” David Foran, the Director of the forensic science program at Michigan State University’s School of Criminal Justice says. “In the case of the Brussels attack, these likely included fragments of the explosive devices, screws and nails reportedly used as shrapnel, and the suitcases and luggage carts the suspects are shown pushing through the airport in security footage.”

The second step is to bring all recovered objects to the lab and swab them to collect any traces of DNA that have survived the blast. This is where things get tricky: DNA can be damaged by heat.”DNA will burn, just like any part of your body can burn,” Foran says. “It doesn’t like direct flame.”

“DNA evidence recovered from explosive devices isn’t usually high-quality. It mostly comes from fingerprints left by whoever handled the bombs and the containers, like suitcases and backpacks, where the devices were placed,” Foran says. If investigators are able to zero in on a DNA sample, the last step is to enter it into a database to see whether it matches with existing DNA records.

With DNA evidence found at the Brussels airport, Belgian investigators identified Najim Laachraoui, a 24-year-old Belgian citizen born in Morocco, as one of the suspects. It’s not clear how French and Belgian investigators had a record of his DNA in the first place. But it matched with DNA evidence found not only on suicide vests used in Paris, but also in two houses in Belgium.

With DNA and background testing centers throughout the entire state of Michigan, Accredited Drug Testing Inc. is available to answer all of your DNA and background testing questions and needs. For more information contact:

Andrew Gormally
Marketing/Industry Relations Assistant
Andrew@accredtiteddrugtesting.com
https://accrediteddrugtesting.com/
(800) 221-4291
Accredited Drug Testing Inc

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DEA and Partners Hold Prescription Drug Take Back Day Saturday

Oct. 20 2016

DEA and Partners Hold Prescription Drug Take Back Day Saturday

Thousands of communities participate in this weekend’s event

OCT 17 – (Washington, DC) – DEA set to repeat on of its most popular community programs this weekend, National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.  On Saturday October 22 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. the public can dispose of their unused, unwanted prescription medications at one of 4,700 collection sites nationwide, operated by 3,800 local law enforcement agencies and other community partners.  The service is free of charge, no questions asked.

 

As referenced in previous articles, America is currently experiencing an epidemic of addiction, overdose and death attributed to the abuse of prescription drugs and particularly opioid painkillers.

Approximately 6.4 million Americans ranging from age 12 and over (representing 2.4 percent of the population) abuse prescription drugs.  The 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health released last month that their research reveals that more individuals abuse cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens, and methamphetamine combined.  Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of injury-related death in the United States, surpassing deaths from motor vehicle crashes or firearms.  The majority of prescription drug abusers report that they obtain their drugs from friends and family, including from the home medicine cabinet.

 

Last April, during its 11th Take Back Day even, the DEA and over 4,200 of its national, tribal, and community law enforcement partners collected 893,498 pounds (about 447 tons) of unwanted prescription drugs at almost 5,400 collection sites.  Since the program’s inception, six years ago, about 6.4 million pounds (about 3,200 tons) of drugs have been collected. That translates to more than a quarter pound of pills for each of the 25 million children age 12 to 17 in America.

 

Individuals can  now find a nearby collection site by visiting www.dea.gov, clicking on the “Got Drugs?” icon, and following the links to a database where they enter their zip code.  Or they can call 800-882-9529.  Only pills and other solids, like patches, can be brought to the collection sites—liquids and needles or other sharps will not be accepted.

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Marijuana testing has been a hot button topic over the last couple of years. We’ve done several blog posts about how it can affect your workplace and the legal status in specific states. But after meeting with Quest Diagnostics this past week, we realized some staggering statistics about Marijuana use in the U.S. today.

22.2 million Americans aged 12 or older were current users of Marijuana in 2015

This equals to about 8.3% of the total population in the United States alone. It has actually been dubbed the most commonly detected drug for more than 3 decades of drug testing. And the latest Drug Testing Index (DTI) showed that Marijuana positivity is increasing dramatically in all three drug test specimen types including urine, hair, and blood.

1 in 8 Americans said they currently smoke Marijuana

Marijuana is typically smoked using cigarettes or pipes, but it can also be mixed into edibles and drinks. Potent oils and waxes can be extracted from the Cannabis plant. Recently, the federal government relaxed some restrictions to allow researchers to study more strains of marijuana and its therapeutic effects on specific medical conditions.

8 states permitting medical Marijuana have also passed recreational use laws

Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize recreational Marijuana use in 2012. This legislation captured the attention of the media, government, and the general population, all of whom have been eagerly watching to determine the impact.

38% of employers will reject a candidate who uses Marijuana, even if it is for medical reasons

Current laws do not require an employer to accommodate on-duty drug use or prohibit an employer from taking action if an employee is working under the influence of Marijuana. Most organizations still have a zero-tolerance policy towards Marijuana.

What have we learned? While various forms of Marijuana continue to become legalized, over 28 states and counting, employers still aren’t removing it from their drug testing panels and probably won’t be anytime soon. Quest Diagnostics has even shown that in 2016 more than 99% of all workplace drug tests performed by them continued to screen for Marijuana.

For more information on drug testing trends and any questions you would like answered please visit accrediteddrugtesting.com

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Police Officers in the Boca Raton Area to be Required to Carry Heroin Antidote

February 27, 2016
Earlier this month, the Delray Beach Police Department announced Heroin Drug Testingofficers would carry the lifesaving heroin overdose antidote. Thirty-two shift supervisors can now check out kits naloxone, which is used to save the lives of heroin users that overdose.

Police departments across the country have seen a spike in heroin overdoses as of late, and in some areas receiving almost ten calls a day. Delray Beach Police Chief Jeff Goldman, has called the recent spike a heroin epidemic. The city has already seen ten suspected heroin overdose deaths.

Heroin is an opioid, that is synthesized from morphine. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse in 2011, 4.2 million Americans (aged 12 or older) had used heroin once in their lives. Prescription opioid pain medications such as Oxycontin and Vicodin have similar effects to heroin, and when abused, are common gateways to chronic heroin use. Heroin and similar opioids can be easily detected in a 10 panel drug screening.

Many young people who have previously used heroin, reported abusing prescription opioids before turning to the incredibly addicting drug. Others say they took up heroin because it was cheaper and more easily accessible than prescription drugs.

Due to its potency, many users continue and even increase use of the drug to “chase the same high,” to ease the physical dependency. Chronic users become physically dependent on the drug to avoid withdrawal symptoms.

Delray Beach Fire Rescue has trained it staff to use naloxone for years, and have already administered the antidote seventy-seven times this year. Unlike paramedics, the police department will be trained to administer the antidote using a nasal spray. Law enforcement officers are generally the first to respond to emergency calls, and training them to resuscitate a heroin overdose can mean life or death. Accredited Drug Testing can easily schedule a drug test that detects the use of heroin and similar opioids, potentially saving someone you know and love.

With drug and alcohol testing centers throughout the Boca Raton area, Accredited Drug Testing is there to answer all of your drug and alcohol testing questions and needs. For more information contact:

Andrew Gormally
Marketing/Industry Relations Assistant
Andrew@accredtiteddrugtesting.com
https://accrediteddrugtesting.com/
(800) 221-4291
Accredited Drug Testing Inc
Health Screening USA Inc