In a world this size, it is very easy to underestimate the number of harmful and highly addictive drugs that thrive on our streets, as well as drugs that are just now gaining public awareness. Each week, we'll examine harmful and/or illegal drugs of all forms, shapes, and sizes. There are some you may be familiar with, but there will likely be a surprise or two along the way. This week, we'll be looking at a small yet powerful benzodiazepine known as Rohypnol and its troubling impact on teens and young adults.
In just over nine months, the Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse is scheduled to go into effect. Signed into law in 2016, the Clearinghouse will serve as a central database where drivers’ drug and alcohol violations are stored.
Marijuana positivity for the American workforce is up for the fifth consecutive year, a trend showing no signs of slowing. Drug positivity in states without marijuana use statutes has kept pace with the national average of 2.1% for the combined U.S. workforce. However, data from Quest Diagnostics shows that the states with the highest positivity rates do not necessarily contain the cities or metropolitan areas with the highest marijuana positivity.
Epidiolex Cannabidiol (CBD) was approved by the FDA in 2018 to treat seizures in people (primarily children) with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. While CBD remains on the DEA Schedule I list, it has been decriminalized in 47 states. As a result, thousands of CBD products such as oils, tinctures, pills, and liquids used in vaping devices are now widely available in retail stores and online. However, there are currently no uniform standards or widely accepted testing certifications for CBD.
Deaths from cocaine, after holding steady for many years, increased an alarming 52% between 2015 and 2016, according to the CDC, with the trend continuing in the most recent federal data. The stimulant is now killing approximately 13,000 people a year, on track to rival painkiller pills and heroin.
Many employees do not realize the ramifications of refusing a DOT drug and/or alcohol test. The Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy and Compliance (ODAPC) website offers a poster that helps employees understand what could happen to them should they decide to not complete a DOT test.
The Department of Transportation’s Drug and Alcohol Testing Regulation – 49 CFR Part 40, at 40.151(e) – does not authorize the use of Schedule I drugs, including marijuana, for any reason. State initiatives have no bearing on the Department of Transportation’s regulated drug testing program.
Now, more than ever, clearly defined policies and procedures are critical for employers. The policy decision must consider DOT fitness for duty as well as the possible accommodations that an employer can make in these times when prescription drug abuse impacts millions of Americans from all socioeconomic, political, age, gender, and ethnicity groups.
MRO’s are adding on negative test results “safety concerns” which have confused lots of DER’s on how to handle a safety concern.
Employers, DER’S, Collectors, laboratories, OR Medical Review Officers (MRO’s) may not use “old CCF forms for DOT mandated drug test after June 30, 2018. DOT revised Federal Custody and Control Form will be the only accepted CCF for a valid DOT drug test after June 30, 2018. What is the difference?
Carriers and drivers tend to believe that Hours-of-Service (HOS) regulations are stacked against them and, in some cases, make fatigue and speeding problems worse. It takes effort for drivers and dispatchers to track hours on and off the road and appropriately schedule trips. What benefit is there to the carrier to comply with these regulations?
As one of the nation’s leading safety advocates, the National Safety Council (NSC) spotlights issues in an effort to “eliminate preventable deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the road through leadership, research, education and advocacy.” The organization has identified prescription drug misuse as one of its key safety issues because of the alarming rise in addiction rates, ER visits, overdoses, and fatalities. Dr. Don Teater, Medical Advisor for the National Safety Council, has emphatically stated, “Painkillers don’t kill pain. They kill people.”