MADISON, N.J., September 16th, 2010 – More American workers and job applicants are testing positive for prescription opiates, according to U.S. general workforce data in the 2009 annual Drug Testing IndexTM (DTI) released today by Quest Diagnostics Incorporated (NYSE: DGX), the nation’s leading provider of diagnostic testing, information and services. Results from more than 5.5 million urine drug tests reveal an 18 percent jump in opiate positives in the general U.S. workforce in a single year (2008 to 2009), and a more than 40 percent climb from 2005 to 2009.
In addition, 2009 post-accident drug tests found opiates up to four times more often than pre-employment tests (3.7 percent in post-accident as compared to 0.78 percent in pre-employment tests in the case of hydrocodone), suggesting that these drugs may be playing a role in workplace accidents.
“Evidence of increased opiate use is now appearing in the workplace as well as the ER,” said Dr. Barry Sample, director of science and technology for Employer Solutions, Quest Diagnostics. “Because more U.S. workers are performing their duties while taking prescription opiates, employers, particularly those with safety-sensitive workers, should note this trend and take appropriate steps to ensure worker and public safety.”
The new DTI findings are consistent with a June report from the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN), part of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. The DAWN study reported a 111 percent increase in the estimated number of emergency department visits for nonmedical use of opioid analgesics from 2004-2008 (from 144,600 to 305,900), and a 29 percent jump from 2007-2008. The highest numbers of emergency department visits were recorded for oxycodone, hydrocodone and methadone, some of the same drugs showing increased use by the U.S. workforce in Quest Diagnostics’ DTI data. Possible opiate side effects include drowsiness, nausea, constipation, and depending upon the drug taken, depressed respiration. They are known for their potential for addiction as well for the euphoria they can induce owing to their effect on regions of the brain that mediate what the body perceives as pleasure.
“The HHS report on nonmedical use of opiates—and its consistency with DTI findings—is notable and of concern, but it’s important to remember that prescribed pain medication plays an important role in patient care and improved health,” said Jon R. Cohen, M.D., senior vice president and chief medical officer, Quest Diagnostics.
“Because both prescribed use and misuse of opiates appear to be on the rise, employers will want to address this issue comprehensively as they work to ensure employee health and safety.”
Within the opiate category, semi-synthetic opiates showed higher numbers. Hydrocodone—which, according to a 2010 Drug Topics report, has been the most prescribed generic drug for the past three years—registered a 1.3 percent positivity rate in 2009 general U.S. workforce DTI data. Oxycodones showed a 1.0 percent positivity, while hydromorphone reached 0.82 percent. Naturally occurring opiates, codeine and morphine, were found at far lower positivity rates, 0.21 percent and 0.48 percent, respectively.
Cocaine and Methamphetamine Positives Continue Declines; Amphetamine Positives Jump Again
Consistent with prior DTI reports highlighting illegal drug use trends, the 2009 index shows that cocaine use continued to decline sharply in 2009 vs. 2008, down 29.3 percent (0.29 percent vs. 0.41 percent, respectively) in the general U.S. workforce, and 25 percent (0.24 percent vs. 0.32 percent, respectively) in federally mandated safety-sensitive (FMSS) workers. While methamphetamine showed little or no change, amphetamine positives continue to climb (greater than 15%) in both general and FMSS workers.
For the full DTI report’s charts and tables, please visit
About the Drug Testing IndexTM (DTI)
The Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index is published as a public service for government, media and industry and has been considered a benchmark for national trends since its inception in 1988. It examines positivity rates – the proportion of positive results for each drug to all such drug tests performed by Quest Diagnostics – among three major testing populations: federally mandated, safety-sensitive workers; the general workforce; and the combined U.S. workforce. Federally mandated, safety-sensitive workers include pilots, bus and truck drivers, and workers in nuclear power plants, for whom routine drug testing is mandated by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
About Quest Diagnostics Employer Solutions Business
Quest Diagnostics’ Employer Solutions Business offers a comprehensive menu of testing and collection programs to manage employers’ pre-employment and employee drug testing, wellness services, national clinical testing, background checks and OSHA requirements. A national leader in drug testing, Quest Diagnostics performed approximately 7 million drug tests in 2009, and leads the industry in drug-testing program options and tools, including urine, oral fluid and hair testing; customized panels; sport-related testing for performance-enhancing drugs; specialized testing of healthcare professionals, and a drug testing program ROI calculator, available online at Quest Diagnostics’ Blueprint for Wellness (, a health risk identification solution and education tool for employers, uses laboratory insights to provide measurable results that help participants manage health risk more effectively, in turn reducing healthcare spending and costs.
About Quest Diagnostics
Quest Diagnostics is the world’s leading provider of diagnostic testing, information and services that patients and doctors need to make better healthcare decisions. The company offers the broadest access to diagnostic testing services through its network of laboratories and patient service centers, and provides interpretive consultation through its extensive medical and scientific staff. Quest Diagnostics is a pioneer in developing innovative new diagnostic tests and advanced healthcare information technology solutions that help improve patient care. Additional company information is available at:

For information on how you can protect your workplace from prescription drug abuse-


September 27, 2010.  Fontana, CA-  As we are now aware, Chrysler has terminated 13 employees and suspended 2 for drinking on company time.  It was very easy to catch the employees, as they darted directly to the liquor store on their 30 minute break, bought alcohol then proceeded to a nearby park to drink the newly purchased booze.

What does this tell us?  The size of the company does not matter.  It could be a small mom and pop company with a handful of employees, or someone as big as Chrysler with 50,000 plus employees.

The most valuable part of this is that the union, as powerful as they are, could do nothing.  The policy states, drinking and drugs are prohibited.  There is no gray area to this policy.  Good job Chrysler for following the policy and terminating the employees.

This could have been a huge liability for Chrysler should one of them been injured, or worse, if they injured another employee.  Besides, do you want your Jeep Cherokee that is supposed to protect your family built by an employee who was drunk or on drugs?

When one puts into prospective all the potential liabilities that could have been produced by something as simple as alcohol on a break- it is mind-boggling.  Not only does this tarnish the reputation of the employees, the company, but it also has an effect on shareholders.

This is exactly why it is so important to have a Drug Free Workplace policy in place and the random and reasonable suspicion drug testing that goes along with the policy as a complete package.  There cannot be enough stress on the liabilities that businesses have to protect themselves from each and every day.  Chrysler was prepared, had a policy in place, and terminated potential huge liabilities, lawsuits, and stockholders losing millions of their dollars in investments.

click HERE for the article about the termination of the Chrysler employees.

Drug Free Network-Fontana, California would be happy to discuss and offer a complimentary needs assessment and policy review.  Drug Free Network is a full service drug testing company that specializes in on-site drug testing.  On-site testing removes the liability of your employees leaving for hours at a time during random drug testing.

Drug Free Network is also available to address educational, civic, and other groups on a variety of drug related topics, including drugs and teens and the myriad of treatments, drug abuse assistance, and how government agencies are working to combat the prevalence of drug abuse.


Keep your business off the liability radar!

by admin on September 27, 2010

Fontana, CA–Business liability is ever increasing.  As the country becomes more litigious, the liability costs associated with doing business continues to soar!  Business insurance, workers comp, malpractice, errors and omissions, business legal consultations, sick leave, friction among employees, and employee safety are just a few of the costs associated with doing business.

One problem that can cut down on all of the above problems would be having a Drug Free Workplace.  By having a drug free workplace your costs on workers comp, legal, employee safety, and business insurance will be substantially lower.  There are many businesses that are required by law to drug test.  However, there are many that are not.  Those are the businesses this article is directed towards.

For example, warehouses are a huge part of our national infrastructure, every city has warehouses.  Many are operated by forklift drivers, cranes, electric palette jacks, and trucks.   Let’s say and employee comes into work as he does every night at 6pm to work his regular 8 hour shift.  Tonight is different; he took Vicoden that was prescribed last week by his doctor for neck and shoulder pain.  He jumps on the electric pallet jack and not having the same coordination as when he is sober, he flies around the corner and ends up in a head on collision with another pallet jack!  Both people are seriously injured and sent to the hospital.

In this situation, there will be workers comp, business liability, damages, and major safety issues associated with this accident.  If families decide they want to sue, your company is 100% liable for the damages and potential fallout.  This could result in millions of dollars of damage over one small white pill the size of a dime.  This can potentially also damage the company’s public image.

If that does not get your attention this will, “Seventeen percent of employees surveyed across five different work sites reported situations that imply prescription drug misuse.” Also  “Fifteen percent of illicit drug users and 6% of heavy alcohol users report that they had gone to work high or a little drunk in the past year.”  Both studies were conducted by SAMSHA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration).

What would prevent this?  Well, that is hard to say as we can never 100% prevent something like this from happening, however, if your company had a Drug Free Workplace policy in place, this would have taken the liability off the company, and possibly prevented the whole accident in the first place.   If there was a policy in place, there should be a clause that in any safety sensitive position (in this case the pallet jack operators),  would have a duty to report any medications they are prescribed that can be a safety hazard.  It is easy to tell if you look on the side of the bottle, if it warns you about driving or operating machinery, there is a good case it will have an effect on coordination.

Training is the key to ANY workplace policies, without training, they are only worthless papers.  During Drug Free Workplace policy training, employees are instructed that if they are to receive medications that may impair their abilities to do their normal job function, they are to ask their physician prescribing the medication to write a letter stating if they can perform their normal duties.  It is crucial that the physician write their job duty on the letter to remove the liability from the company.  If the physician does not feel comfortable, they need to write that as well.  Generally companies will give the employee other non-safety sensitive duties until they can return to their regular job, pending the doctor’s clearance to do so.

The second and most important part of the Drug Free Workplace is regular drug testing.  This is the number one deterrent and works as a checks and measures approach to ensure that the policy is being followed.  It is a deterrent as the employees don’t know when a random drug test will be done and they have the potential of termination if they are caught.  If there are very few to no positives after monthly testing, then the policy is being enforced and is working.  This can potentially lower your liability costs as was discussed earlier.

In the world of business, it is so important to have good people working for your company.  After all, it is the people who make up the company.   To ensure you have the best, it is your responsibility as an officer of the business to make sure you are doing everything you can to keep your employees safe, and your business clear of liabilities.

Drug Free Network-Fontana, California would be happy to discuss and offer a complimentary needs assessment and policy review.  We are a full service drug testing company that specializes in on-site drug testing.  On-site testing removes the liability of your employees leaving for hours at a time during random drug testing.   Drug Free Network is also available to address educational, civic, and other groups on a variety of drug related topics, including drugs and teens and the myriad of treatments, drug abuse assistance, and how government agencies are working to combat the prevalence of drug abuse.

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Fontana, CA  September 22, 2010– What is the number one abused drug on the streets today?  Some think marijuana, while others think alcohol, however there are still others who believe it is much harder substances, such as methamphetamines and cocaine.    All are wrong.  The number one drug on the streets today is prescription medications.

The street value of prescription medications have steadily increased and the ease of getting prescription medications have also increased due to generic low cost alternatives.  For example, take Xanax.  One can acquire a bottle of generic Xanax for approximately $4.50 from any major pharmacy in the US.  Each pill has a street value of approximately $5-10 dollars.  This is scary!

What is more astounding is that there are so many prescriptions written each year where the bottles generally go untouched!  This has become a major problem, especially in the area of pain management.  One may be prescribed a bottle of pain medication and they may not need nearly as much as the maximum dose. Therefore the bottle may be half full by the time one comes off the medication.  That bottle then sits in a medicine cabinet for any length of time.  How many people even know what is in their medicine cabinets?  Not many do.  What is to say a child, grandchild, or neighbor’s child is not stealing from those bottles?  Would one even know?

The DEA has declared that nearly 7 million Americans are abusing prescription drugs!  That’s more than the number abusing cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens, Ecstasy, and inhalants, combined!  That number was 3.8 million in 2000, an 80% increase in 6 years.

Prescription pain relievers are the new drug users’ drug of choice because of the cost and ease to procure the drugs.  Nearly 1 in 10 high school seniors admit to abusing powerful prescription painkillers according to the DEA.  The seniors think abusing prescription painkillers are safer than so-called “street” drugs.  As with the Xanax example above, painkillers such as Vicoden, are sold in generic form for literally 4 dollars a bottle from major pharmacies.

In the drug testing industry, there has been an increase in positive painkiller confirmations in safety sensitive jobs.  Whether driving a commercial truck, or controlling a tractor, these are jobs that one mistake can lead to serious damage, injury, or death.

Many businesses do not realize the overall liability that this can pose to them for NOT drug testing.  For the companies out there that choose to “look the other way” and hope that if they ignore the problem, it does not exist – this should be an eye opener.  As the cost of business increases and the economy is struggling, every business owner should be considering the cost of liability and a potential lawsuit for someone who is over-medicated or on illegal drugs.

If the bottle the medication comes in states “do not drive while on this medication” or “may impair your judgment,” as a business owner your company is taking a huge risk with that employee in a safety sensitive job… the employer ought to consider an alternative position for that employee until they are off the medication, or better yet, have a note from the doctor saying that it is safe for the employee to return to the safety sensitive position.

H & S Business Services is available to address educational, civic, and other groups on a variety of drug related topics, including drugs and teens and the myriad of treatments, drug abuse assistance, and how government agencies are working to combat the prevalence of drug abuse.

H &S Business Services, LLC., based in Fontana, CA is a full service drug testing company offering consultations on Drug Free Workplace policies and full service drug testing.  The advantage of H & S Business Services is that generally they go to the business and conduct on-site testing, supervisor training, human resources training, and employee training on the company policies, drug testing policies, workplace violence and sexual harassment training.  Please contact us for any questions on the above article or for a complementary consultation on your current Drug Free Workplace Policy.  You can visit us online at or call us at (888) 343-6673 toll free.



Do Genes Predispose Some Teenage Addictions?

by admin on September 9, 2008

According to a recent study by University of Utah and University of Wisconsin scientists, genes may determine which teen smokers get hooked for life.  White smokers with certain mutations in their genes who pick up the habit by age 17 are five times more likely to struggle with a life long addiction than their peers who do not have the DNA variants.

People who started smoking after the age of 17 who had the same gene variants did not have increased risks of later addiction, researchers found.

This study stresses the importance of focusing on nicotine treatment and educations on teens before they start smoking cigarettes.  Dr. Nora Volkow, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, said “About 10 percent of 12 to 17 year-olds used cigarettes in the past month, according to 2006 data from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.”

The study shows that if you can delay smoking you may actually be able to prevent nicotine addiction” said Volkow.

The researchers studied 2,827 whites identified as long-term smokers.  A greater percentage of whites (31.4 percent), use tobacco than Hispanics, Asians or African-Americans according to the Department of Health & Human Services.  Also whites have smoked twice as much as blacks between the ages of 12-17 in the last month according to DHHS.

Other factors can lead to addiction beyond genetics, such as environment and the age at which someone begins to smoke.  An estimated 62 million Americans ages 12 or older smoked cigarettes in the last month, according to the DHHS data.  More than 6 million of those who start smoking younger than 18 will die from a smoking related disease, according to the agency.

This study was funded by the National Institutes of Health, based in Bethesda, Maryland.

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On August 27th, John Walters, Director of National Drug Control Policy announced that 24.4 million dollars will be granted to community drug free programs across the country.

This is in addition to the 55 million that was awarded in July to keep current programs in force.  These grants will support all 50 states, The District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Virgin Islands, and Palau.

Additionally, there will be 14 new grants totaling nearly 1 million dollars to support mentoring programs.  This will help develop more self-supporting anti drug communities in the US.

Director Waters said, “Youth drug use has dropped 24% since 2001, due in large part to the active and effective engagement of strong community anti-drug coalitions, and we are proud to support their efforts.”

“The Drug-Free Communities program helps communities get the hard work of prevention done,” said SAMHSA Administrator Terry Cline, Ph.D.  “By connecting local programs, systems, and funding streams through these new grants, the full force of the community will be brought to bear on preventing drug abuse and promoting healthy, productive lives.”

The Drug-Free Communities program was created under the Drug-Free Communities Act of 1997.  The program has earned strong bipartisan support from the President and Congress.  Because of this the program has also earned major funding priorities.  In December 2006, President Bush and Congress passed a five-year extension of the Drug-Free Communities Act.

The program is administered in conjunction with SAMHSA.  You can find out more about SAMHSA and the government programs by visiting

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Drug Testing to Keep Kids Off Drugs

by admin on August 4, 2008

Should you drug test your teen? Will this cause your teens to feel like you are disrespecting them on their “home” turf? Are you ignoring the fact that your teens can get drugs even easier today then ever before?

It’s time as a parent to step up to the plate and confront your teens!!!

Drug use and prevention is one of the most frightening discussions you will ever have as a parent with your teen. According to one recent study, teenagers whose parents talk to them on a regular basis about the dangers of drug use are 42 percent less likely to use drugs than those whose parents don’t. As difficult as it is to bring up the issue of drug use with your teen, simply talking about drug use may not be enough to fully protect your child from experimenting with and using drugs.

How can this be solved? The answer is simple. In-home drug testing! If your teen knows you have the ability to perform a drug test at home on a moments notice, they are going to be even less likely to experiment with drugs. In-home drug testing can be an extremely powerful deterrent tool in preventing drug use! It becomes an “easy out” to peer pressure as well. Your teen can tell their friends, “No, my parents may drug test me when I get home and I have to be clean or they will ground me… take away my car… wont let me go out…” Isn’t this worth providing piece of mind as a parent knowing that your teen is held accountable for their actions?

Drug Free Network is a great resource to buy in-home drug testing kits. The drug test kits come with a 10 panel urine drug test, an alcohol test, and a nicotine detection test. These tests are affordable, simple to use, and give accurate results within 5 minutes! One of the best tools in the kit is the contract that parents and the teens sign stating that they live in a “Drug Free” household. Also included in the kit are lists of local resources for counseling and treatment centers as well as a guide to parents which discusses the signs and symptoms of drug use, the many types of illegal drugs, and dangers associated with them.

In addition to using these simple to use drug tests as a deterrent, you could actually save your child’s life by identifying a problem with drugs before law enforcement or school personnel intervention or even death!

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School Bound For Drug Testing

by admin on July 30, 2008

On July 22nd the US Deputy Drug Czar, Dr. Bertha Madras spoke about random student drug testing in beautiful Honolulu, Hawaii. There was an all-day summit on student drug testing at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel. The topic- Random Student Drug Testing.

Drug usage in schools can turn into abuse, then addiction. This traps kids in a vicious cycle that will ruin their lives along with destroying their families. The most effective tool we have is Random Drug Testing in schools! Not necessarily for the fact that we will catch the occasional drug user, but more importantly, prevent new ones from using! If kids know they may have a chance to be tested, they will think twice before trying drugs.

Our US Deputy Drug Czar was not able to enjoy the beautiful Hawaiian islands, as she was put to work from the moment she got off the plane. Dr. Madras also believes that random testing is the best form of prevention. Privacy of the kids was the main issue that was brought up to Dr. Madras. Madras replied with, “Under the influence of drugs an intoxicated kid can get into accidents, can fail at school, can get into violence and delinquency, and do a whole shopping list of terrible things to themselves. And they could also become addicted. The adolescent brain is not formed, drugs can make them addicted at a much higher rate than other people using. We have to protect our kids. Weigh privacy against the rights of a child to have a healthy development!”

In 2002 the Supreme Court ruled that testing is legal for kids engaged in extra-curricular activities. The Supreme Court is behind protecting our kids. We live in an era where we know drugs are easy to obtain, and we know kids are willing to try new things- especially if their friends are trying it as well. Drugs have become a problematic part of society, especially in schools where peer pressure and other factors have helped fuel the fire. As a result, sales of home drug testing kits has, in fact, been more common as drug experimentation becomes more rampant among students.

The purpose of the meeting in Hawaii was to give parents, educators, and the general public info on how to implement a program and what the legal issues are that surround it. It was also to verify that help is out there, and the US Government is willing to help with grants and funding to schools to implement a program. The parents need to encourage schools to implement a program to protect their kids!


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