Red Ribbon Week is October 23 Through 31!

If you are a parent, this is an important week. No, we’re not talking about Halloween and trick-or-treating, we’re talking about Red Ribbon Week! Red Ribbon Week is an alcohol, tobacco and other drug and violence prevention awareness campaign that occurs annually in October, and this year it’s happening October 23 through 31!

With school back in session and lots of upcoming holidays, this time of year is full of potentially risky situations for your teen. Peer pressure is rampant among teenagers, especially at parties and other social gatherings, and your teen may be pressured into trying drugs, alcohol or tobacco products. This week as you’re preparing for all the excitement of Halloween, take a moment to celebrate Red Ribbon Week as well! Talk with your teen about the dangers of tobacco, drug and alcohol use, and learn what you can do if you suspect your child is dabbling in or abusing drugs.

Could your teen be abusing drugs? Here are some warning signs to look for:

  • Sudden behavioral changes
  • Noticeable changes in hygiene and appearance
  • Otherwise unexplained health issues
  • Problems at work or school
  • Increased rule breaking, delinquency or other suspicious behavior

If you notice any of the signs listed above, it may be time to get more information about your teen’s activities. Any Lab Test Now offers many options for teen drug testing, including a Trust But Verify random drug testing program for teens.

Our teen drug testing includes options for rapid drug screens, drug tests for different detection periods and lab-based drug screens that test for some of the most commonly used drugs including, but not limited to:

  • Marijuana
  • Prescription medications
  • Cocaine
  • Synthetic designer drugs like K2, spice and bath salts.

Additional tests are available for alcohol use, tobacco use, unknown substances and cough syrup abuse. Talk to our experts at Any Lab Test Now to find the right test for you and your child’s needs. Getting answers is the first step in helping your teenager. Celebrate Red Ribbon Week by getting the answers you need!

Latest Drug Trends Parents Need to Know About

Your teen is at a party. They told you the parents would be home and that it’s just a small get-together. But even a small party can be a toxic pool of peer pressure for a growing teenager. Do you actually know what your teen is doing at that party? Will there be drinking or even drugs? While it’s important to have a trusting relationship with your teenager, it is also important to know when it’s time to step in and take charge of their activities. New drug trends can pop up fast, and before you know it, your teen may be in a dangerous situation at a social event. But you can take action just by staying in-the-know about drug trends and being aware of the warning signs that your teen might be abusing drugs. With the right information, you can better monitor your teen’s activities and behaviors. You don’t want to find out too late.

Here are a few of the drug trends for 2015 you should know about:

Molly: Commonly known as Molly or ecstasy, the official name for this drug is MDMA. It has been steadily gaining popularity since the late 2000s, and it is certainly a drug to watch out for among teenagers. Molly is considered a club drug and is typically used in pill form at raves and other kinds of parties. It is a synthetic psychoactive drug that produces feelings of increased energy, euphoria, emotional warmth toward others and distortions in sensory and time perceptions. Because it is lab-created, Molly is an unpredictable drug that can vary greatly in strength, composition and dosage — you never know what you’re going to get. It can result in a rapid heartbeat, high blood pressure, blood vessel constriction and sweating, and the inability for the body to regulate temperature. It has also been known to cause panic attacks, psychosis, seizures and extreme dehydration.

Flakka (or Gravel): Flakka, also sometimes called Gravel, is a new and highly dangerous drug trend that has recently been seen emerging in Florida but is spreading to other areas as well. The drug is a combination of crystal meth and bath salts, giving it a gravel-like appearance. It can be eaten, snorted, injected or vaporized in an e-cigarette or similar device and can cause a condition called “excited delirium” that involves hyperstimulation, paranoia and hallucinations that can lead to violent aggression and self-injury. It has been linked to fatalities from suicide and heart attacks, and it can raise body temperatures to dangerous levels, leading to kidney damage and kidney failure.

K2 (or Spice): K2 is a particularly tricky drug to look out for as a parent because it can be obtained legally and is sold in gas stations, head shops and on the Internet. It is a synthetic cannabinoid of herbal mixtures that is chemically similar to THC, the active ingredient found in marijuana. However, the effects of this drug are much more powerful than marijuana and can include anxiety and agitation, nausea and vomiting, high blood pressure, shaking and seizures, hallucinations and paranoia, and violent behavior. Recently, there have been increasing instances of hospitalizations due to overdoses of K2.

Adderall: Adderall (and other stimulant medications like Ritalin and Concerta) is the dangerous drug your teen might be getting right out of a friend’s medicine cabinet. Typically prescribed to people with ADHD, Adderall has recently become a heavily abused drug among young people, especially students. People with prescriptions can easily give or sell it to others, usually those seeking the ability to focus better while studying. The problem? When abused or taken without a prescription, these drugs can be highly addictive. This type of drug suppresses the appetite, increases wakefulness, and increases focus and attention. It can also produce feelings of euphoria and is often abused for recreational purposes as a result.

Fentanyl: This drug is an opioid twice as potent as heroin and has been increasing in popularity across the nation since 2013, causing hundreds of overdoses and deaths. An opioid overdose can stop a person’s breathing, and fentanyl can cause this to happen very rapidly. In some cases, people have been unknowingly taking fentanyl in what they believed to be pure heroin, though a growing number of people are intentionally seeking out the stronger drug. Fentanyl produces a state of euphoria and relaxation.

Any Lab Test Now partners with the Partnership for Drug Free Kids and their Medicine Abuse Project to help educate parents about the problem of teen drug abuse, as well as share tools to help them talk to their teens. Be sure to talk to your teenager about the dangers of drug abuse and how to get help if something happens. If you think your teen may be abusing drugs, you may want to consider bringing them in for a drug test through our Trust But Verify teen drug testing program. Talk to our experts at Any Lab Test Now to find the right test for you and your child’s needs.

Unknown Substance Analysis and Unknown Poison and Toxins Analysis

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Do you suspect an employee, friend or loved one is abusing drugs or being poisoned somehow? Or maybe you are worried you have been drugged or poisoned yourself? Then you might want to consider getting an Unknown Substance Analysis or an Unknown Poisons and Toxins Analysis at Any Lab Test Now. These tests are designed to give you peace of mind, whatever your needs happen to be. Once you get a definitive answer, you can finally act on your suspicions and help improve your health or the health of someone you know. But which test is right for you? Read on to learn what each analysis scans for and why you may need to get one.

Unknown Substance Analysis
An Unknown Substance Analysis is a drug-based scan of many classes of drugs, including prescription medications, illegal drugs and over-the-counter medications. It can be used to identify a pill, powder or substance suspected to be a drug or identify drugs already present in the body. This test uses blood, urine or hair, drug paraphernalia or beverage containers to identify any substance that may be present. Test results are typically available within 10 business days after your specimen is collected.

This may be a good option for you if you suspect a friend, family member or employee is abusing drugs or if you are curious about a substance, pill or powder you can’t identify. This analysis can also be used if you believe you have been drugged and would like to identify the suspected drug. If an unfortunate situation has happened to you or a loved one, an Unknown Substance Analysis may provide you with the answers you are looking for.

Unknown Poisons and Toxins Analysis
An Unknown Poisons and Toxins Analysis screens for and identifies the presence of more than 1000 common chemicals, poisons and toxic substances. The test includes frequently used pesticides, poisons, organic chemicals, painting and cleaning products, and hygiene-type products. This analysis does not include drugs or heavy metals testing. Testing can be done using blood, urine or hair samples, as well as food or beverage samples. Test results are typically available within 10 business days after your specimen is collected.

This may be a good option for you if you suspect that you or a loved one has been poisoned, intentionally or unknowingly. Getting the answers you need can ease your mind, get you on the path to better health and may even save your life.

What are the Differences between a Lipid Panel, VAP® Test and PLAC Test?

So you’ve been told you may need to have some cholesterol tests done.  Or, maybe you are getting ready to get in shape and eat right, and want to set a baseline to measure what’s going on inside. Getting tested is the first step to becoming a healthier, happier you. Any Lab Test Now is here to help you Take Control of your Health® with the Lipid Panel, VAP Test or PLAC Test – three different tests to measure your cardiovascular health. But which test is right for you? Read on to learn more about each of these tests.

Lipid Panel
A Lipid Panel is used to determine if you have abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels. These measurements can help your doctor determine if you are at risk for heart disease or other coronary illnesses. A Lipid Panel includes five tests: Total Cholesterol, HDL, LDL, HDL/LDL ratio and triglycerides. When evaluated together, these tests can help your doctor determine if you would benefit from a cholesterol maintenance medication. You are required to fast for at least eight hours prior to the tests. A Lipid Panel costs only $49 at Any Lab Test Now.

VAP Test
A VAP Test, or Vertical Auto Profile test, is used to provide an extremely accurate picture of an individual’s potential for heart disease and diabetes. Not only does this test include the basic cholesterol tests seen in the Lipid Panel, but it also gives a detailed report of individual lipoprotein subclasses and apolipoprotein subclasses. It identifies any cholesterol abnormalities that may be a precursor to heart disease or diabetes and can help your doctor provide the proper care to prevent future heart attacks. Best of all, you are not required to fast for this test so can come in anytime during the day. A VAP Test costs $79 at Any Lab Test Now.

PLAC Test
A PLAC Test measures the increase of an enzyme present when your arteries are inflamed. This test can help your doctor better assess your risk for heart attack and stroke, as well as determine any necessary medication or lifestyle changes. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration uses this test to assess the risk of coronary heart disease and ischemic stroke, associated with atherosclerosis. The PLAC Test is usually an “add on” to other tests, and no additional blood work is necessary if done with another blood test or panel. You are not required to fast for this test. A PLAC Test costs $139 at Any Lab Test Now.

Ignoring it won’t make it better!  If you haven’t had your cholesterol checked lately, now is the time to do it – for you and your family.

Are You Ready for That Job Interview? And The Drug Test That Comes With It?

 

When you are preparing for a job interview, you are probably making sure that your interview outfit is clean and ironed, you have work samples ready, your licenses or certificates are in order, and you have your resume handy.  You get yourself psyched up to answer questions and present yourself in the best possible light. You hope you’re ready for anything that they throw at you. Will you be ready if you are sent into the next room to provide a urine, hair, finger/toenail or oral fluid sample for a drug test? If you are looking for a job, it’s more and more likely that you will be asked to provide a sample. Clearly, now is the time to “Say No to Drugs!”

You may be thinking: “It doesn’t matter what I do on my own time. If they do a drug test I’ll have time to get clean if I get an interview.”  While this may have been the case in the past, it is no longer a safe excuse to keep using and hope that a few days is enough to clean up your act. While the urine drug screen is still the most common type of sample used for pre-employment and random drug testing, there are alternative specimens that can be used to detect drug use for months prior to the test.  It’s important to be aware of these drug and alcohol testing technologies so that you aren’t caught off-guard and denied the perfect job based on a positive drug test.

Drug testing technology has advanced dramatically since the tests were first instituted in some industries in the late 1980’s.  Standard urine tests can detect drug use on average within a one to three day window; and an oral fluid swab detects drug use within an even shorter period, only 2 to 24 hours.  Hair follicle, and finger or toenail drug tests are able to detect drug use for 3 to 6 months, depending on the drug andavailabilityof a sufficient amount of the specimen to be collected.  If you don’t know the test is coming, there is no way to prevent a positive test if you are a consistent, recreational drug user.

Hair and finger/toenail samples are very difficult to adulterate and very easy for the test collector to observe. The window of detection varies based on multiple factors, including frequency of use, concentration of the drug ingested, type of drug or drugs used, and even a person’s metabolism. What this all boils down to is that if you are job-hunting, you need to be prepared to take a drug test. Many prescription medications such as sedatives, opiates, and mood stabilizers can cause a positive test result.  In these instances, be prepared to provide a copy of your prescription to the Medical Review Officer (MRO).   If you don’t have a verifiable prescription for medication, just don’t take it.  In some states, although marijuana may have become legal for medical use, this does not guarantee that the company will hire you. Even if you have a valid prescription, marijuana use may go against their hiring or drug-free workplace policy.

Employers are increasingly testing prospective employees to comply with drug-free workplace mandates.  Some industries, for example, those that hire drivers, pilots or heavy machinery operators, are required to conduct drug testing on candidates and random testing on employees due to government regulations.  Other employers just want to prevent problems on the job that can lead to injury or liability.  And, employers have the right to conduct drug testing regardless of the type of work or environment. As long as they test everyone, drug testing is not considered a discriminatory hiring practice.

If you’re gearing up for a job search, get clean now and be sure that you put your best foot (and hair, fingernail and toenail!) forward.

Which Alternative Specimens for Drug Testing Ensure a Drug-Free Workplace?

Drug testing has become common practice for many employers, but navigating the various types of specimens that can be tested to meet your company’s goals, objectives and DrugfreeWorkplace Policy requirements can get confusing. Urine tests have been the gold standard since pre-employment and random drug testing was instituted by many organizations in the 1980s. Unfortunately, there are candidates who know how to get around the urine drug test collection process so that they are able to continue drug use, potentially endangering your clients and their workplaces.

While not all employers need, or want, to test current or prospective employees, those whose employees have access to confidential information or perform jobs operating heavy machinery or driving or flying may be required to use drug testing. Common reasons companies institute aDrugfreeWorkplace Program include:

  • Government regulations or contract requirements
  • Reduce risk and safety liability
  • Reduce incidences of theft
  • Reduceworker’scompensation premiums
  • Reduce absenteeism
  • Improve productivity
  • Ensure the habits of drug users and abusers don’t negatively affect their company’s culture and good employees

According to a recent survey of 1,000 companies performed by the American Management Association, 51.5% of the respondents engaged in some form of drug testing, representing a net increase of 140% since 1987.

The urine drug test is the easiest to administer and is inexpensive, but it can be easy to adulterate and pass. To ensure that this doesn’t happen, it is sometimes necessary to observe the urine collection, a degrading process for everyone involved. Urine drug testing detects drug use within an average window of the past 1-3 days.  This is only an average, as frequency of use, concentration of the drug ingested, and even the donor’s own metabolism influence the detection period.  In situations where direct observation is required, same gender collectors and facilities that accommodate proper urine collection protocols. Current alternative testing technologies provide not only accurate results with a longer detection window, but simpler test administration.

If employers want to conduct drug testing there are other options that may be easier, less invasive and more difficult to tamper with. Hair and fingernail/toenail drug testing offer longer detection windows (common employer practice is a 90 day period for a hair follicle test; nails provide 4 to 6 months of information). These tests are easy to administer with very simple facility accommodations and without the need for gender based test collectors. In addition, these biological specimens are very difficult for candidates or employees to adulterate. Although more expensive than urine testing, an employer has the ability to monitor a candidate’s usage over a longer period of time and with less inconvenience and discomfort than traditional urine drug tests. These tests also offer the benefit of identifying long-term drug use, while urine tests only show use within the most recent few days.

Oral fluid testing is also available and may be the right test if there is a suspicion of drug use or immediately after an incident. Because the detection window is even shorter than a urine test, only 2-24 hours, this test is best used to pinpoint short-term, immediate use or for a random drug test. Oral fluid testing is a lab-based test, not a rapid test, is difficult to tamper with, very easy to administer, and requires virtually no facility adjustment or specific test collector requirements.  It is also a good solution for remote work areas, where it may be challenging for a drug testing provider togetonsitewithina reasonable period of time.

Alternative specimens for drug testing provide flexibility for employers to better meet their corporate and HR goals and objectives, especially for those with higher risk and safety issues at stake.  It is important to incorporate language for alternative specimens intoyourDrugfreeWorkplacePolicy if you choose to expand testing beyond the more common urine drug test.

Although not every employer will need to know how their employees, either current or prospective, spend their time over the weekend, whether engaging in drug use or not, many employers want to know that employees are not coming to work under the influence, missing work or deadlines due to drug use or endangering clients or other employees. Each drug testing specimen has benefits and situations in which it is best suited.

The urine drug test still has a place in an overall drug testing program and is ideal for random drug testinginongoing drug-free workplaces. It is cost-effective and provides instant results when a rapid screen is used. Adulteration and dilution testing of specimens collected is available, and it is still the most common method of drug testing.

Employers considering instituting a drug testing program should investigate and design a comprehensive program that utilizes multiple tests to deter drug use. Multiple detection windows and test specimens can help to ensure that candidates and employees are staying clean, thereby protecting your workplace, your employees and your clients.

National Drug Facts Week 2015: Shatter the Myths!

 

 

Monitoring the Future Study is an annual survey conducted by the National Institute of Drug Abuse as an effort to shed light on the average American teen’s attitude towards drugs and tobacco use. Out of the 40,000 teens who participate every year, almost a third of high school seniors admit to having used an illicit drug at some point in the past year. Over 10% report to nonmedical use of prescription painkillers and more than 20% claim to have smoked marijuana at least once during a given month’s time. Numbers like these prove that teenagers need to be receiving a better education on the dangers associated with drug use and substance addiction.

The National Institute of Drug Abuse noticed this need and have worked to meet it by sponsoring the National Drug Facts Week. First launched in 2010, this week has served as a chance to crush the myths about drug abuse and addiction that so many teens develop through the things they hear on TV, in movies, music on the Internet or from friends. This year, National Drug Facts Week will be recognized the week of Jan. 26th through February 1st. Throughout these days, organizations across the country (including hospitals, schools, sports clubs, etc.) will be hosting events where teens can come with their questions on drug use and have them answered by professional addiction scientists and highly educated health experts.

Want to get involved? Visit the NDFW website to see what events will be taking place in your community and test your knowledge about drugs by taking the National Drug IQ Challenge. For questions regarding teen drug abuse, substance addiction, or teen drug testing, contact us at Any Lab Test Now® today.

National Red Ribbon Week: Steps for a Parent

Currently, the United States represents 5% of the world’s population and 75% of prescription drugs taken. 60% of teens who abuse prescription drugs get them free from friends and relatives. When you meditate on those numbers, it is obvious to conclude that youth drug abuse is a serious problem in our society today and one that will only gain momentum as the access to these drugs becomes easier for our children to obtain.

Although the answer to ending youth drug abuse is not a simple solution, parents can begin doing what they can to solve the issue by taking actions in their own home. The very first action step parents can take is to talk to their kids about drug use.  Explain to them the risks associated with drug abuse and misuse. It is said that children of parents who talk to their teens regularly about drugs are 42% less likely to use drugs than those who don’t. Yet, only a quarter of teens report to having these conversations. Check out the Medicine Abuse Project for more insight.

Secondly, lock up both your prescription and over-the-counter medications.  Easy access makes for easy misuse and abuse.

This week, October 23rd-31st, Any Lab Test Now® is joining in support of the 2014 National Red Ribbon Week.  Formerly known as the National Federation of Parents for Drug Free Youth, National Family Partnership established Red Ribbon Week to help raise awareness on drug prevention among the nation’s youth. Communities across the country use this week to educate their youth on the dangers of drug use and encourage participation in drug prevention activities.

We encourage all parents to join in their communities effort and help support this cause.  If you are a parent and would like to begin taking the first action steps in your home, sign the Red Ribbon Pledge now. Like we said, it’s not a quick fix, but setting the stage in your home is the best thing you can do for your children and the nation’s.

Quick Tips for Parents of Young Drivers

This week, October 19th- 25th, is being recognized as the National Teen Driver Safety Week. Communities across the country are using this time to raise awareness on the importance of teen driver safety and shed light on the dangers associated with poor driver and passenger behaviors. Below are a few action steps parents can take to support the NTDSW initiative by helping your teen learn safe driving skills.

Ensure your teen accumulates 50+ hours of supervised driving. To do this, create a schedule each week that has specific lot times for driving practice. Choose various routes to have your teen practice driving on so that they experience different types of roads, speed limits, sharp and wide turns, etc. Log your teen’s driving time so that you can easily keep track of the hours.

Understand the expectations. Too much time together in one car can easily cause some tension between you and your teen. Especially when the purpose is to teach them how to drive.  Make sure that you and your teen understand what each of your expectations are for the driving lessons. Set guidelines on how and when feedback should be given, how it should be received and through it all: remain calm and respectful.

Talk with your teen’s driver education instructors. Be in communication with your teen’s driving instructors so that you can learn of ways to help reinforce effective defensive driving habits. Take their expert advice and begin implementing them in your one-on-one driving lessons with your teen.

Create some “first year” rules.  Monitor your teen’s first year of independent driving by setting household rules such as how late they can be out driving at night or what amount of distance they can drive away from your home. Assuming that your teen follows the set rules, consider increasing their driving privileges over time.

Support National Teen Driver Safety Week and get involved!

Let’s Talk About Medicine

October is being recognized amongst the National Council on Patient Information and Education (NCPIE) as “Talk About Your Medicines” month.  As the first ever direct access lab testing services company, we strongly believe in the importance of patient education on medicine. Knowing the risks and benefits associated with the medicines you are taking allows you to understand exactly what you are putting into your body, determine what dosage is right for you and ultimately empower you to truly take control of your health.

Time and time again, patients and especially teenagers, hold a belief that if a doctor prescribes a drug or medication it must be safe – even if not prescribed for that person. This common overlook has, unfortunately, factored into this staggering statistic: 1 in 4 teens report to having misused or abused a prescription drug at least once in their lifetime.

The underlying question now is, “How can we prevent this from happening in the future? And in our child’s future?” For parents with teenagers, the conversation needs to start at home. Sadly, studies show that there is a general disconnect between teenagers and their parents on many topics, including medicine abuse. We challenge you to eliminate the disconnect now. By starting the discussion on medicine misuse and abuse at home, your children can begin to develop a clear understanding of the dangers associated with each. Thus, preparing them to appropriately handle any interaction with prescription drugs in the future that they may be involved in.

Do you need help talking to your teen? Start with the Partnership at Drugfree.Kids’ Parent Toolkit for assistance on how to have that hard conversation or call their Parents Toll-Free Helpline, 855-DRUGFREE. Our Trust, But Verify program can also help with any concerns you may face as a parent. As a local partner to The Medicine Abuse Project, we encourage you to learn more about what you can do in the fight to stop medicine misuse.