Archive for April, 2012

Government Promotes Selective Drug Testing in the Workplace

In the latest National Drug Control Report for 2012 released last week, the government wants businesses to conduct a drug testing program for their workers to maximize productivity and minimize health-related costs.

Yet not all employees will be subjected to the drug testing procedure and the US Labor Department has not released guidelines pertaining to the matter.

drug testing employeesAdministration spokesperson Rafael Lemaitre from the Office of National Drug Control Policy said that they believe in drug testing as an effective way to help employees who are affected by substance abuse but “…. it is certainly not our policy that every employer in America ought to test and punish employees.”

Last February, Congress allowed states to drug test unemployed welfare recipients who want to get back in the work force. Information gathered from the Society for Human Resource Management claimed that about 57% of industries and businesses require drug testing for applicants.

Sen. Steve Smith (R-Maricopa) who has sponsored a drug testing bill said that most industries today already implement drug testing  for employees. “For a vast majority of very large companies, or private and public sector jobs in general, drug testing is something that’s mandatory. As far as I’m concerned, if you’re on drugs, you probably won’t make the best applicant or interviewee.”

As expected, advocates against drug testing were quick to respond and shared their thoughts on the government’s initiative. Drug Policy Alliance representative Bill Piper commented that “Drug testing has nothing to do with what goes on in the workplace. Drug testing is all about finding out what people did in their time off, and they’re only detecting past marijuana use.”

In a report from the Huffington Post, the Obama Administration is strongly pursuing the idea of drug testing in the workplace. “Workplace programs that provide clear policies regarding drug use; offer prevention and education opportunities for employers and supervisors; conduct drug testing to detect and deter use; and support referral and treatment for those who have substance use disorders can play a large role in reducing the demand for drugs throughout our Nation and in helping drug users get into treatment.”

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Teens Get their Alcohol from Parents or Other Family Members

The Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has released a report that suggests most teens get their alcohol from parents or from other family members.

MADD gathered data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) which shows that 26% of teen drinkers aged 12 to 17 years old have access to alcohol through their parents or other family members. It was also noted in SAMHSA’s survey that parents have the biggest influence when it comes to underage drinking as 3 in every 4 kids say their decision to drink depended heavily on their parent’s behavior towards alcohol.

drinking with parentsHere are the results of the survey conducted by SAMHSA with regards to alcohol sources of teen drinkers:

1) 26% say they get their alcohol from their own parents, guardians, or from other family members aged 21 years old and above.
2) 25% claimed they get the said substance from people of legal age with whom they aren’t related to.
3) Another 22% say people not related to them and below the legal age become their sources of alcohol.
4) 10% of teens say alcohol is available in their home.
5) 5% of the survey population get their alcohol from other people’s homes.

According to Bill Windsor, Associate Vice President for National Insurance Consumer Safety working with MADD, underage drinking is also a problem that involves adults. “This data shows that underage drinking prevention is not only a problem for our youth. It’s an adult problem too. More than half of teens who drink are getting their alcohol from adults.”

MADD was formed by a mother who lost her daughter due to drunk driving. Mothers Against Drunk Driving is one of the largest non-profit organization operating nationwide focusing on the safety of teens and their families as far as alcohol issues are concerned. MADD can be reached through hotlines 1-877-MADD-HELP or 1-877-ASK-MADD.

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Local Parents Urged to Help Fight Teen Drug Abuse

The Glendora Unified Parents Summit was held last Tuesday with educators, local police, and drug counselors calling for local parents’ help in keeping kids away from drug abuse.

teen drug abuseAt the event organized by the Glendora Unified School District together with the Glendora Police Department, teen issues including substance abuse and the effect of technology on family relationships were put on a spotlight.

Glendora Police Chief Rob Castro joined the said event and gave a tough message to the parents present during the forum. “We realized as police and school administrators we are not the panacea for helping our kids. It starts at home, it starts with you… It’s not our job, by the time we find out that something is wrong it’s already too late.”

The Glendora Police Department introduced the different types of drugs such as ecstasy, marijuana, prescription drugs, and alcohol. There were also new types of drugs emerging and making their way in the community such as Xanax and spice as well as the re-entry of heroin in the list.

According to Mike Schaub and Robin McGeough from the Charter Oak Recovery Program, teens today are experimenting with more potent drugs. With their work as drug counselors for Whitcomb High School, they have recorded that most teens under drug use or addiction do not only stick to one type of drug but a variety of dangerous substances.

Heroin is fast becoming a drug of choice for the youth again. Parents are warned that kids today do not necessarily need needles to use the drug as they now snort or smoke heroin believing it’s a much safer route.

At the end of the event, only one strong message was left to parents: that they have to be involved in their kids’ daily lives; knowing where the kids are, who they hang out with, and what they do after school are necessary if they don’t want their kids to get into trouble.

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Majority of Teen ER Admissions Caused by Alcohol or Drugs

Most of the teens admitted at the Medical Center Hospital (MCH) have something in common: they almost always come from activities involving either drugs or alcohol, or even both.

teen hospital admissionsApproximately 75% of teens who are rushed in emergency rooms are usually intoxicated, and for MCH Trauma Outreach Coordinator Lisa Earp, the situation on hand is very alarming. “We need to do something about it and it’s imperative we do something now,” Earp added.

In the recent county health ranking released nationally for substance abuse, Ector County remained on the upper part of the list with excessive drinking rates by teenagers in the county placing way above the national average.

The MCH once again reiterated the need for parents to get involved in their kid’s activities and be good examples, since most of the time, teens tend to follow their parent’s behavior. “Most of your underage drinkers are a direct reflection of their parents, their friends and their family. They are the greatest influence on whether or not they drink.”

This is why the MCH has organized a town hall meeting on Saturday, 2 to 4 pm, to spread information and awareness not only to parents, but also to the kids, on the issue of substance abuse. There will be invited guest speakers from local law enforcement and from substance abuse treatment facilities.

Chief Medical Officer for MCH Dr. Bruce Becker warns parents not to disregard their instincts nor deny the truth that their kids might be in trouble. With countless encounters of teens’ drinking and taking drugs, Dr. Becker knows how things could go terribly wrong.

“I know a story [about a teen] that was doing something as simple as standing on a balcony after drinking when he tried to high five a friend across another balcony and lost his balance. He fell to the ground and died.”

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Drug Testing Kits for Free at Rural Metro

In Rural Metro, Rochester, drug overdose incidents are fast becoming a normal occurrence as an astounding 1,600 calls a year, or 3 to 5 calls a day, are received for ambulance assistance due to overdose related cases. From the total number of calls made, more than a hundred involve kids and young adults aged 10 to 20 years old.

drug testsThis is why the Rural Metro has partnered with the notMYkid organization, a group campaigning against teen addiction, to address the alarming situation.

Through their initiative, 500 free home drug testing kits, with the capacity to determine 12 kinds of drugs including prescription medications, will be made available for parents in the Rochester region at no cost.

From marijuana to Oxycontin, parents will be able to identify which drug their kids are hooked on in minutes using the home testing kits.

Rural Metro General Manger Thomas Bonfiglio said the kits can even be used to open communication lines between parents and their children before drug complications can happen in the family. “Sometimes having this kit will create conversation to prevent from getting into in the first place,” Bonfiglio claimed.

The earlier partnership of the Rochester Police Department and DePaul National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence supported the idea of giving drug testing kits to the community. According to Jennifer Faringer who heads the DePaul National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence in Rochester, many parents worry about their kids when it comes to drug issues, and so the kit will be a very useful tool for these concerned parents.

Starting April 21, the kits will be made available in the Rochester area. Parents can visit various locations, including the Rochester Police Headquarters on Exchange Boulevard and the DePaul Council at 1931 Buffalo Road, to take advantage of the free drug testing kits.

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Government Launches New Approach to Prescription Drug Abuse

Instead of throwing drug users to jail, the Obama Administration introduced a new approach to deal with prescription drug abuse.

prescription drug abuseAccording to the director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy Gil Kerlikowske, the government is looking at drug abuse in a new angle. Drug addiction is seen as a treatable disease which could hopefully make an impact in minimizing drug crimes and imprisonment, as well as re-arrests of addicts.

In the new strategy, the growing problem of prescription drug abuse is highlighted. Measures to control such type of drug abuse include educating the public about the dangers of prescription medicines’ misuse and keeping medications secured and at the minimum at home. It also orders law-enforcement agencies to be vigilant on so-called “pill mills.”

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine admits that controlling prescription drug abuse won’t be easy. People have the tendency to think that because doctors are somehow involved in the process, then prescribed medications must be safe. What the public doesn’t realize is that drug overdose has climbed the second spot when it came to accidental death causes in their state.

“Prescription drugs are killers,” he said. “But people don’t look at them that way.”

DeWine believes that education and proper information dissemination will change the people’s perspective on prescription drugs.

Yet for some concerned citizens, like public health nurse Lisa Roberts from the Portsmouth City Health Department, the new initiative still does not ensure that the public will be safe.

Roberts found it ironic that the Food and Drug Administration suspends the retail of some products in the market with side effects such as muscle twitching, but not products which kill thousands of people every year, like some opiate painkillers do when abused.

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