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Disturbing Trend Detected: Drug use Soars

By Hempology | March 15, 2007

Redeer Advocate

Workplace Drug Testing

Drug testing companies are noticing a disturbing trend when it comes to workplace substance abuse.

“About six years ago, we only had a handful of cocaine positives in a year,” said Ed Secondiak, president of ECS Safety Services Ltd. “Now it’s almost half of the fails.”

Jan Chandler, who owns Chandler Consulting Inc., tells a similar story. As recently as a year and a half ago most of the positive drug tests her company encountered were for marijuana use.

Now at least half are for cocaine.

Secondiak added that his company is getting many “double-positive” results, indicating both marijuana and cocaine use. He believes this is the result of cocaine addicts trying to ease their crashes.

And while addiction professionals have good results when it comes to helping workers with a marijuana dependency, the same is not true of cocaine.

“We have a dismal record for dealing with individuals who may fail for cocaine,” said Secondiak.

“The drug’s controlling their lives, and they just kind of disappear.”

An even darker cloud could be forming on the horizon, he warned.

“For 2006, we had a handful of positives for crystal meth – methamphetamine. Now it’s not a popular drug in the workforce.

“My concerns are if we don’t have education on crystal meth, that could mushroom and all of a sudden we have the same problems with it as we have with cocaine.

“We need education, education, education.”

Secondiak would also like to see greater education when it comes to marijuana. A concerted publicity campaign about the dangers of tobacco helped reduce its use among young people between 1992 to 2002, but during the same period marijuana use doubled.

“We have a tremendous amount of education on tobacco, but we have nothing on marijuana,” he said.

Secondiak added that alcohol abuse in the workplace is another problem we need to be vigilant against. Although the fail rate for alcohol tests his company conducts is low, impairment on the job can have “terrible consequences.”

Chandler suggested that societal acceptance of drinking probably allows abuses to go unaddressed for longer than is the case for drugs.

She also cautioned against making assumptions about who is suffering the effects of substance abuse on the job.

“Addiction doesn’t respect any boundaries, so we work with company owners, senior management, field operators – it doesn’t matter.”

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