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Accredited Drug Testing/Coastal Drug Testing President/CEO James A. Greer is featured in this month’s issue of Spacecoast Business Magazine.

The current magazine issue was released on January 3, 2020.  In it, Mr. Greer mentions the companies focus on passion, expertise and commitment to customer service which are key drivers of the companies’ success.  

Accredited Drug Testing, Inc. and it’s subsidiary Coastal Drug Testing, Inc. are Nationwide TPA’s which focus on DOT/NON DOT drug testing, background checks, occupational health testing, FMCSA Clearinghouse TPA services and other valuable services.

To read the article in its entirety click here. 

For more information on the services offered by Accredited Drug Testing, Inc. and Coastal Drug Testing, Inc. Call (800)221-4291 or visit our website at www.accrediteddrugtesting.com

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On Monday January 6, 2020 employers, owner operators and CDL drivers nationwide were experiencing difficulties accessing the FMCSA clearinghouse website. With the overwhelming amount of traffic, many individual’s may have been experiencing difficulties.  The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is providing temporary relief to employers who are trying to hire new truck drivers but are unable to complete required background checks in the Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse.

The FMCSA has stated on their website the following notice:

“If you are an employer currently experiencing technical difficulties accessing the Clearinghouse and are unable to conduct required pre-employment queries, you may hire a driver using solely the procedures set forth in 49 CFR 391.23(e),” the agency states in an alert posted on the clearinghouse website. “Once FMCSA has determined and announced that users are able to access the Clearinghouse, pre-employment queries must also be conducted as required by section 382.701(a).”

Pre-employment queries along with annual queries for all currently employed drivers, became a federal requirement for carriers as of Jan. 6, 2020. However, the system began crashing over the past several days due to a large influx of registrations and query requests.

Employers should register as soon as possible in the FMCSA Clearinghouse.  Here are some helpful hints for the employer registration process.  Employers should request a user role in the portal prior to accessing and registering for the clearinghouse.  Employers should ensure that they have an FMCSA portal account or PIN number sent from the Department of Transportation to allow for a smooth registration process.

If you require assistance with clearinghouse registration or c/TPA services contact Accredited Drug Testing at (800)221-4291.

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FMCSA Random Drug Testing

FMCSA Raises Random Drug Testing Rate to 50%

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announces that it is increasing the minimum annual percentage rate for random controlled substances testing for drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) requiring a commercial driver’s license (CDL) from the current rate of 25 percent of the average number of driver positions to 50 percent of the average number of driver positions, effective in calendar year 2020. 

The rule states that the FMCSA Administrator must increase the minimum annual random testing percentage rate for drugs when the data received under the reporting requirements for any calendar year indicate that the reported positive rate is equal to or greater than 1.0 percent. 

FMCSA has determined that based on the results of the 2018 FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Testing Survey, the positive rate for controlled substances random testing increased to 1.0 percent.  As a result, the Agency will increase the controlled substances minimum annual percentage rate for random controlled substances testing to 50 percent of the average number of driver positions.

Click here to read the entire Federal Register

Accredited Drug Testing provides DOT random drug and alcohol testing services commonly referred to as a consortium.  For more information on how to join our random drug and alcohol testing pool which will assist with compliance of DOT random drug and alcohol testing requirements, call us today!

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Accredited Drug Testing Voted “Top 10 Recommended Drug Testing Provider”

Accredited Drug Testing has been voted one of the Top 10 recommended drug testing providers in the nation for pre-employment screening.
 
Accredited Drug Testing, one of the Nation’s leading providers of drug, alcohol, and DNA testing has been voted a “Top 10 Recommended Pre-Employment Screening Provider in the United States” by ES Professional Services Magazine.

Accredited Drug Testing was recognized for its exceptional customer service, expertise in the drug and alcohol testing industry and its significant growth in 2019. With drug testing centers in most cities throughout the United States including Orlando, Los Angeles, Atlanta, New York City, Las Vegas, Charlotte, Nashville and Miami, Accredited Drug Testing provides testing services for employers including small, medium and large companies who need a pre-employment, random, reasonable suspicion or post-accident drug test and for individuals or families needing a drug test for court-ordered purposes or personal reasons.

Company President, James A. Greer, stated, “We are honored to have been selected as one of the top 10 drug testing providers in the Nation and this recognition is shared by all of our employees from the scheduling department to the drug testing collectors and all team members who serve our customers.”

Greer, who has been in the drug testing business since the early 90’s, is recognized as an expert in the drug and alcohol testing industry and is a graduate of the Prestigious Cornell University’s Executive Leadership Program. Greer also currently serves as the Chairman of the National Alcohol and Drug Screening Association (NDASA).

Accredited Drug Testing also specializes in providing US Department of Transportation (DOT) drug and alcohol testing for employees designated as safety-sensitive such as truck drivers, airline pilots, train engineers and mariners regulated by the US Coast Guard. The company’s commitment to exceptional customer service includes the availability to schedule a drug or alcohol test by phone or online 24/7 and the fact that all employees are thoroughly trained in DOT and NON-DOT testing requirements and the overall company philosophy that serving their clients in a friendly and professional manner is the number one priority.

To read more about Accredited Drug Testing being selected as one of the Top 10 Pre-employment Screening Companies click here to read the whole story!

 

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DOT Drug Test

The question is often asked, “what happens if I refuse a DOT drug test?” 

Let’s be clear on what it means to refuse a DOT drug test before diving into what happens afterward. According to DOT Rule 49 CFR Part 40 Section 40.191, an employee has refused to take a drug test if you:

  1. Fail to appear for any test (except a pre-employment test) within a reasonable time, as determined by the employer, consistent with applicable DOT agency regulations, after being directed to do so by the employer. This includes the failure of an employee (including an owner-operator) to appear for a test when called by a C/TPA (see §40.61(a));
  2. Fail to remain at the testing site until the testing process is complete; Provided, That an employee who leaves the testing site before the testing process commences (see §40.63(c)) for a pre-employment test is not deemed to have refused to test;
  3. Fail to provide a urine specimen for any drug test required by this part or DOT agency regulations; Provided, That an employee who does not provide a urine specimen because he or she has left the testing site before the testing process commences (see §40.63(c)) for a pre-employment test is not deemed to have refused to test;
  4. In the case of a directly observed or monitored collection in a drug test, fail to permit the observation or monitoring of your provision of a specimen (see §§40.67(l) and 40.69(g));
  5. Fail to provide a sufficient amount of urine when directed, and it has been determined, through a required medical evaluation, that there was no adequate medical explanation for the failure (see §40.193(d)(2));
  6. Fail or decline to take an additional drug test the employer or collector has directed you to take (see, for instance, §40.197(b));

7.  Fail to undergo a medical examination or evaluation, as directed by the MRO as part of the verification process, or as directed by the DER under §40.193(d). In the case of a pre-employment drug test, the employee is deemed to have refused to test on this basis only if the pre-employment test is conducted following a contingent offer of employment. If there was no contingent offer of employment, the MRO will cancel the test; or

8.  Fail to cooperate with any part of the testing process (e.g., refuse to empty pockets when directed by the collector, behave in a confrontational way that disrupts the collection process, fail to wash hands after being directed to do so by the collector).

9.  For an observed collection, fail to follow the observer’s instructions to raise your clothing above the waist, lower clothing and underpants, and to turn around to permit the observer to determine if you have any type of prosthetic or other device that could be used to interfere with the collection process.

10.  Possess or wear a prosthetic or other device that could be used to interfere with the collection process.

11.  Admit to the collector or MRO that you adulterated or substituted the specimen.

Once the MRO reviews and verifies that a DOT employee has refused a DOT drug test, the employer or TPA will immediately remove the employee from performing the safety-sensitive function until successful completion of the return-to-duty process with a qualified substance abuse professional.

This means that if you are a truck driver, you will no longer be driving your truck until you meet with a substance abuse professional, they evaluate you, prescribe you a course of treatment and you complete this return-to-duty process at your own cost.

*You will be drug tested at least 6 times in the next 12 months, and up to 60 months.

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Drug Testing Panels

What Drug Test Panel Should I Choose?

Many employers and individuals do not know which drug test is right for them. Listed below, you will find information regarding the most popular drug test panels available.

5 Panel

A 5 panel drug test is still the most common available.  Currently, the 5 panel urine drug test is the only panel currently used for testing by the Department of Transportation (DOT).

What Is Tested In a 5 Panel?

A 5 panel screens for the following substances:

  1. Marijuana
  2. Cocaine
  3. Phencyclidine
  4. Amphetamines – Methamphetamine, MDMA & MDA
  5. Opiods- codeine, heroin, morphine, oxycodone, hydrocodone & hydromorphone

10 Panel

As we continue to explore options for drug testing, it is important to note that a 10 and 12 panel drug test will always include the drugs tested in a 5 panel. These tests are more common when looking for something specific not included in a standard 5 panel.

What Is Tested In a 10 Panel?

The drugs tested in a10 panel urine drug test include:

  • Amphetamines
  • Barbiturates
  • Benzodiazepines
  • cocaine
  • Marijuana
  • MDA
  • Methadone
  • Methaqualone
  • Opiates
  • PCP
  • Propoxyphene

What Is Tested In a 12 Panel?

The 12 Panel is on of the most comprehensive options available that screens for:

  • Amphetamines
  • Barbiturates
  • Benzodiazepines
  • cocaine
  • Marijuana
  • MDA
  • Methadone
  • Methaqualone
  • Tramadol
  • Demerol
  • Opiates
    • Codeine
    • Morphine
    • 6 AM Heroine
    • Hydrocodone
    • Hydromorphone
    • Vicodin
    • Lortab
    • Lorcet
    • Dilaudid
    • Oxymorphone
    • Oxycodone
  • PCP
  • Propoxyphene

What other drug test panels are available?

Employers and sometimes individuals continuously look for ways to expand their drug test panel.  Employers will often customize their drug drug testing program to keep their workplace productive, healthy employees and to promote a safe working environment.  If you are in need of a customized drug testing option, call us today at (800)221-4291 and speak with our customer service team.

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Teen Drug and Alcohol Abuse

As expected, as teens enter high school, and sometimes even middle school, they are likely to experiment with drugs and alcohol. Maybe they saw their parents drinking and wanted to try it, or maybe a friend offered them some marijuana and they gave in to peer pressure. Either way, the reality of the matter is that more and more teens are becoming addicted to drugs and alcohol.

The Effects of Teen Drug and Alcohol Abuse on the Brain

According to Dr. Kevin Wandler, Chief Medical Officer, Advanced Recovery Systems, “Teens have chemically naïve brains that have not been exposed to drugs or alcohol. The neurochemical effects that they get are more intense than folks older than 25.” With that being said, it is the harsh reality that as the children grow older, the brain will begin to develop unevenly due to the drastic effect of drugs and alcohol. This may cause a negative effect on the child’s memory, ability to respond to stimuli, and develop an addiction much easier than that of a child who has never used drugs.

 

Fast Facts About Teen Drug and Alcohol Abuse

  • In 2017, about one in four high school seniors used an illicit drug, such as heroin or marijuana, in the past 30 days.
  • In 2015, more than 770 teens aged 15 to 19 died of drug overdose
  • According to results from the 2017 Monitoring the Future survey, 45 percent of teens have tried marijuana once in their life by 12th grade.
  • The report found that 33.2 percent of 12th-graders, 19.7 percent of 10th-graders and 8 percent of eighth-graders reported drinking alcohol in the past 30 days.
  • One in 10 teens in high school drinks and drives.
  • More than 1.4 million adolescents ages 12 to 17 needed treatment for an illicit drug problem in 2016.

How To Get Your Teen Drug and Alcohol Tested

Accredited Drug Testing offers urine, blood, hair and oral saliva drug and alcohol testing for minors, with parental consent. If you suspect your teen may be using drugs or alcohol, please give our office a call at 800-221-4291, so we can schedule the right test for you!

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It is very important to watch the contents that you put into your body, but even more important once you become pregnant. Studies have shown that once a woman uses drugs during pregnancy, she becomes a higher risk for a miscarriage, premature labor, fetal death and even maternal death. Some common drugs and their harmful effects are listed below:  

Marijuana

  • What happens when a pregnant woman smokes marijuana? Marijuana crosses the placenta to your baby. Marijuana, like cigarette smoke, contains toxins that keep your baby from getting the proper supply of oxygen that he or she needs to grow.
  • How can marijuana affect the baby? Studies of marijuana in pregnancy are inconclusive because many women who smoke marijuana also use tobacco and alcohol. Smoking marijuana increases the levels of carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide in the blood, which reduces the oxygen supply to the baby. Smoking marijuana during pregnancy can increase the chance of miscarriage, low birth weight, premature births, developmental delays, and behavioral and learning problems.

Cocaine

  • What happens when a pregnant woman consumes cocaine? Cocaine crosses the placenta and enters your baby’s circulation. The elimination of cocaine is slower in a fetus than in an adult. This means that cocaine remains in the baby’s body much longer than it does in your body.

 

  • How can cocaine affect my baby? According to the Organization of Teratology Information Services (OTIS), during the early months of pregnancy cocaine exposure may increase the risk of miscarriage. Later in pregnancy, cocaine use can cause placental abruption, which can lead to severe bleeding, preterm birth, and fetal death. OTIS also states that the risk of birth defects appears to be greater when the mother has used cocaine frequently during pregnancy. According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecology (ACOG), women who use cocaine during their pregnancy have a 25 % increased chance of premature labor. Babies born to mothers who use cocaine throughout their pregnancy may also have a smaller head and be growth restricted. Babies who are exposed to cocaine later in pregnancy may be born dependent and suffer from withdrawal symptoms such as tremors, sleeplessness, muscle spasms, and feeding difficulties. Some experts believe that learning difficulties may result as the child gets older. Defects of the genitals, kidneys, and brain are also possible.

 Heroin

  • What happens when a pregnant woman uses heroin? Heroin is a very addictive drug that crosses the placenta to the baby. Because this drug is so addictive, the unborn baby can become dependent on the drug.
  • How can heroin affect my baby? Using heroin during pregnancy increases the chance of premature birth, low birth weight, breathing difficulties, low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), bleeding within the brain (intracranial hemorrhage), and infant death. Babies can also be born addicted to heroin and can suffer from withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms include irritability, convulsions, diarrhea, fever, sleep abnormalities, and joint stiffness. Mothers who inject narcotics are more susceptible to HIV, which can be passed to their unborn children.

Methamphetamine

  • What happens when a pregnant woman takes methamphetamine? Methamphetamine is chemically related to amphetamine, which causes the heart rate of the mother and baby to increase.
  • How can methamphetamine affect my baby: Taking methamphetamine during pregnancy can result in problems similar to those seen with the use of cocaine in pregnancy. The use of speed can cause the baby to get less oxygen, which can lead to low birth weight. Methamphetamine can also increase the likelihood of premature labor, miscarriage, and placental abruption. Babies can be born addicted to methamphetamine and suffer withdrawal symptoms that include tremors, sleeplessness, muscle spasms, and feeding difficulties. Some experts believe that learning difficulties may result as the child gets older.

If you, or someone you know, would like to know more about how drug usage can affect a pregnant woman or their unborn child, please give Accredited Drug Testing a call at 800-221-4291

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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