Employers Having to Upgrade Drug Testing Procedures to Include Prescription Drugs

Within this last month there have been a total of 37 arrests due to drug charges at a Boeing aircraft plant. The Boeing employees were arrested and accused of purchasing or selling painkillers and anti-anxiety drugs at a plant in Philadelphia. Officials researched the plant for a time frame of four years using undercover investigations to make the arrests.

These drug charges are opening many employers’ eyes to increased prescription drug abuse in the workplace, according to the experts. Increased use brings on the need for updated drug testing procedures.

Disclosing prescription drug abuse in the workplace is highly difficult in some situations. Many of the drug tests used by employers are not able to detect the use of painkillers or other prescription drugs. Last year out of the 4.5 million drug tests that were administered, only 12% of the tests could detect oxycodone, a commonly abused painkiller. Rusty Payne, a spokesman for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration stated, “These problems with prescription drugs, the addiction rates, the abuse rates, are happening in a lot of places that would surprise you. These are people who don’t fit the profile of a typical drug user.”

It is official that abuse of prescription medicine is on the rise. In September 2010 a study was released by the diagnostic testing company, Quest Diagnostic, in which they found more American job applicants and workers were testing positive for various kinds of opiates. Opiates are most commonly found in prescription medications. They also uncovered an increase of 18% in positive drug tests for opiates in the average U.S. working class from 2008 to 2009. There was also more than a 40% jump from 2005 to 2009.

 

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