The Future of Marijuana in the Drug Free Workplace

Recent developments in marijuana legislation and legalization has left many companies and individuals alike wondering whether drug free workplaces are required to test for marijuana. As marijuana laws change many people believe that it should not be lumped in with other drugs that are traditionally tested for such as meth, heroin and cocaine. The legalization of marijuana in some states is complicating workplace drug testing.

In 1989, the Federal Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 became law. This law required that all federal contractors who receive $100,000 or more, as well as all federal grant recipients, must comply with its requirements. What is often overlooked is that the Act did not require drug testing. Actually, here is a quote from the Department of Labors website’s FAQ about the Drug Free Workplace Act:

Is drug testing required or authorized under these regulations?
The Act and these rules neither require nor authorize drug testing. The legislative history of the Drug-Free Workplace Act indicates that Congress did not intend to impose any additional requirements beyond those set forth in the Act. Specifically, the legislative history precludes the imposition of drug testing of employees as part of the implementation of the Act. At the same time, these rules in no way preclude employers from conducting drug testing programs in response to government requirements (e.g., Department of Transportation or Nuclear Regulatory Commission rules) or on their own independent legal authority.

What the Drug Free Workplace Act did require was policies, information, education about the dangers of drugs and resources if you have a drug or substance issue, but not testing. Read More

Heroin in the Suburbs

USA Today published Heroin is Back , a detailed story from Charlotte, NC to Maine to California, all seeing heroin spreading to the suburbs.  Concerned about a rise in heroin dependence in the detox ward, Carolinas Medical Center wanted to dig deeper in the data and found that their heroin patients came from the five best neighborhoods in the Charlotte area. Read More

Suboxone Use Grows

Buprenorphine is used to treat opioid dependence and ease the withdrawl symptoms of drugs like heroin. Buprenorphine is marketed under the names Suboxone and Subutex and was approved by the FDA in 2002.

The drug is closely regulated and doctors must be approved in order to prescribe it, in 2005 there were only 5,656 physicians certified to prescribe Suboxone for the treatment of addiction to opiates. The 2010 data is now available and there are now 18,582 certified physicians prescribing Buprenorphine and the number of patients receiving it has risen from 100,000 in 2005 to 800,000 in 2010. Read More

Where to get a home drug test?

Home Drug Test at Walgreens

While it may be difficult to know where to look, you can now find home drug tests in most drug stores. The drug tests are typically found around other home tests or  “Health Monitors”.  The drugstores offer multi panel drug tests that can test for four, six or twelve different drugs or a single test for Marijuana or Cocaine.

Our recent survey of CVS, Walgreens and Walmart showed that a twelve panel drug test averaged $39.41 and a Marijuana (THC) only test averaged $15.53 Read More

Advertise Happiness

After a long stressful day at work you come home to cook dinner, feed the dog, do the dishes and then finally settle down to unwind by watching television. As you try to relax you are assaulted with commercials about depression with a soothing voice asking “Are you sad?” or “Are you tired?”. There are days the answer is yes, but does that mean medication is necessary.

Then the Abilify commercial informs you that 2 out of 3 people being treated for depression still have symptoms of depression, so you should add Abilify to your current medication. Instead of adding Abilify, maybe we should question why 2 out of 3 people are not being helped by their antidepressants or better yet question why 11 percent of Americans are taking an antidepressant. Read More

Marketing Oxy – at what cost?

Oxycontin is the number one selling prescription pain pill sold in the USA with sales reaching $3 billion per year.  There are other forms of prescription opioids and all together their sales have quadrupled over the last decade.  The warning bells are sounding in our country that we have a prescription painkiller epidemic on our hands.

In 1998, Purdue Pharma the maker of Oxy, made a marketing video that was shown to 15,000 doctors that claimed Oxy was less addictive than other drugs.  The paid doctor in the video urged other doctors to prescribe opioids more often. That doctor now says some of his statements went too far and there were no studies of the long term effects of the drug.

A four year investigation into Purdue Pharma and their marketing arm Purdue Frederick ended in 2007 when Purdue Frederick Company pled guilty to charges of knowingly and fraudulently misbranding Oxycontin as being less addictive, less subject to abuse and diversion, and less likely to cause tolerance and withdrawal problems, than other pain medications. Purdue agreed to pay a $634.5 million fine.

That 1998 video highlighted seven patients who were successfully using Oxy.  Take a look at this follow up video completed in 2012, fourteen years since they endorsed Oxy.  What happened to the poster children of Oxycontin?