Series: An Exploration of Addiction

by Pablo Bolanos on March 21, 2017

The term “recreational” defines as an activity done for enjoyment when one is not working. Skiing, knitting, sporting leagues, and book clubs are examples of recreational activities that can enhance our overall life experience. Recreational is also a word used to describe the casual use of mind-altering substances such as drugs and alcohol. Because these behaviors are often exhibited in social settings, recreational drug and alcohol use is oftentimes perceived as harmless, non habit-forming behavior due to its informal nature and seemingly broad social acceptance.

However, a thin line separates the casual use of drugs and alcohol and the potential steep fall into a serious substance abuse disorder. Substance abuse disorders manifest when the recurrent use of drugs and/or alcohol causes clinically and functionally significant impairment, such as health problems, disability, and failure to meet major responsibilities at work, school, or home according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5).

Why then, are some people able to casually enjoy a cocktail on the weekend while firing up the grill, while others end up crossing the line from recreational use to addiction? And, when a user’s life is flipped upside down because of their physical and psychological dependence on mind-altering substances, what are they and their loved ones to do?

In this new series, we will take a deeper dive into what decades of psychological and pharmacological research have to tell us about the science behind substance abuse disorders and addiction, how individuals are affected, and what employers can do to both thwart problematic behavior and to offer aid through established Employee Assistance Programs (EAP).

To learn more about drugs of abuse, visit our resources page or our common drugs of abuse literature.

The Case for Maintaining a Drug Testing Policy

by Steve Beller on March 16, 2017

Employers conduct drug testing for a number of reasons – pre-employment, random, post-accident, reasonable suspicion, and return-to-duty. Of these, reasonable suspicion can often be the most litigious and, as such, points out the importance of creating and maintaining a comprehensive workplace drug testing policy and program. The case of Layne v. Kanawha County Board of Education is a great example of an effective policy in action.

The case was presented in a recent article in the National Law Review. In it, “the petitioner, Layne, was a middle school sign language interpreter who was observed behaving erratically by five employees.”  Her actions were reported to the school principle who subsequently met with Layne. During their conversation, the principle observed suspicious behaviors. Among other things, she had trouble sitting still, was rambling, and seemed overly fixated on items in her bag. The principal documented his observations and requested that she submit to a drug test. The article goes on to state that “when the interpreter refused, the consequences (i.e., disciplinary action) were explained and after refusing further, the school suspended the interpreter.” She continued to refuse to take a drug test and the school opted to not renew her contract, effectively terminating her employment.

Layne fought the termination and sued the Board of Education. She lost her case and subsequently appealed to the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals. The Supreme Court of Appeals found no error in the initial ruling and affirmed the lower court’s decision.

This case demonstrates the importance of creating a detailed, comprehensive workplace drug and alcohol testing policy. Best practices for such a policy include:

  • Have a written policy that clearly spells out the types of testing that will be conducted and the consequences for refusing to test
  • Actively communicate your substance abuse policy to employees
  • Provide supervisor training on the warning signs of drug abuse
  • Make certain that your testing program complies with state laws

Learn more about creating effective workplace testing programs by downloading our Guide to Establishing a Workplace Drug Testing Program. For information on drug testing, visit our website or contact us online.

Winter Storm Stella May Cause Delays

March 14, 2017 News

The National Weather service has issued winter storm warnings throughout the northeast, with likely impacts including Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington D.C. In addition, blizzard warnings have also been issued from northeast New Jersey to far southeast New York and southern Connecticut. Be aware that this hazardous storm may impact the logistics and transportation of […]

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Employee Protections in the Era of Medical Marijuana Legislation

March 10, 2017 Drug Testing

More than twenty states have enacted medical marijuana laws since Proposition 215 was passed by California voters in 1996. The earliest medical marijuana laws typically only provided criminal protections, however in the past two decades, laws are now extending protections to housing, schooling, domestic relations, and employment. State marijuana regulations uniquely address aspects such as […]

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I’m There: Charlie Sullivan

March 6, 2017 We're There

Charlie Sullivan believes that if we take care of our employees, in turn, they will take care of our customers. As a result, he trains and mentors his team to focus on providing a seamless experience at our collection sites so that a donor’s first impression is a positive one. He understands that our frontline […]

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We’re There When You Need Us – 5 Years Strong

March 3, 2017 Drug Testing

While businesses are driven by profits and the necessity to grow, a team is shaped by people and their collective energy and commitment to drive both the business and culture forward. In 2011, we embarked on a journey with the goal of gaining a better understanding about our culture and its impacts on our customers, […]

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Worldwide Economic Development and Drug Use

March 2, 2017 International testing

Regardless of where we live in the world, socioeconomic status can influence our life experiences. From the neighborhoods were we grow up, to the extracurricular activities we take part in, many times the circumstances into which we are born can predetermine our futures and the futures of the generations that follow. According to the American […]

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By the Numbers: Going Green with eCCF

March 1, 2017 By the Numbers

Our By the Numbers blog series takes a closer look at the numbers, facts, data, and outputs that impact workplace drug testing programs. In this post, we examine the environmental impact of moving from paper-based custody and control forms (CCF) to electronic custody and control forms (eCCF). Paper-based CCFs have been a mainstay of the drug testing […]

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Weeding Out the Facts Webinar Recap

February 21, 2017 Webinars

Employers face challenges as states continue to pass marijuana legislation, while the substance is still illegal under federal law.  In our recent webinar, two highly-regarded industry experts, Dr. Barry Sample, Senior Director of Science and Technology, Quest Diagnostics, and D. Faye Caldwell, Attorney at Law, Caldwell Everson, presented facts and insight about marijuana and the workplace […]

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I’m There: Carolyn Loza

February 14, 2017 We're There

Employers understand the serious consequences of alcohol and substance abuse. When an accident or emergency occurs at work, tensions can run high. Carolyn Loza remains committed to ensuring that all aspects of the drug testing process run smoothly, especially in stressful situations. In this month’s feature of our “I’m There” series, Carolyn describes what we’re there […]

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