Why Not Trust, but Verify Your Teen?

Screen Shot 2014-08-04 at 10.47.39 AMSummer is coming to a close and schools all across America are back in session. That means your teenager is preparing to meet lots of new people and have some wonderful new experiences in the coming year. However, we all know sometimes teens can be led down the wrong path, through impulsive decision-making, situations involving peer pressure and that feeling of pure invincibility that almost all teenagers experience. These common themes in many teenagers’ lives can sometimes lead them on the path to drug use.

Being able to trust your child more as they grow older is a wonderful thing to celebrate. But when we know that even the best teenagers can be prone to making poor decisions every now and then, why not take the preventative steps to protect them from engaging in dangerous activities?

The Trust, But Verify random teen drug testing program offered by Any Lab Test Now is a great way to help your teenager make good decisions when it comes to drugs. When your teen knows they can be randomly drug tested at any time, they can say “no” to their friends more easily, without succumbing to peer pressure. Your teen can let their friends know that they can’t try drugs — not even once — because they get drug tested at home. You can still have a trusting relationship with your teenager knowing that you’ve given them the tools they need to refuse dangerous substances, without having to feel like their activities are constantly monitored.

At Any Lab Test Now, teen drug testing options include:

  • Rapid drug screens for when you need to know now.
  • Lab-based drug screens and confirmations of drug screens for your assurance, including but not limited to prescription medications, cocaine and synthetic designer drugs like K2, Spice and “bath salts.”
  • Drug tests for different detection periods.
  • Additional tests are available for:

Contact Any Lab Test Now to learn more about our Trust, But Verify teen drug testing program today.

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.

Unlock the Secrets of Purposeful Parenting

July is Purposeful Parenting Month, and it promotes building strong, meaningful relationships between parents and children. Goals of Purposeful Parenting Month include children’s habits, growth in their independence and nutritional eating habits. One of the many ways to encourage parenting with a purpose is by modeling the specific behaviors that we want our children to obtain. Another way includes open communication, which has been proven to be a large component for success. Make time in your schedule to have open, honest conversations with your children. Allow times to play with your children, help them with their homework and stimulate their minds. Simple changes such as a family dinner discussion rather than a meal while watching T.V. creates steps in the right direction towards open communication. Game nights are always a fun idea, too!

“Taking the time to provide consistency, structure, accountability, along with unconditional love, support and understanding can increase the likelihood that your children will make healthy decisions.”   – David Niven, Ph.D.

Explore additional ideas to get involved with purposeful parenthood month. You have the power to make a difference in your child’s life.

Heroin’s Typical User Is Not The Same As It Once Was

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health reports that 605,000 Americans beginning from age 12 and up, have abused heroin at least once in 2009, when they were surveyed. As such a dangerous and addictive drug, it’s important to be informed of the facts.

Heroin use has shifted from the city and has gradually entered suburban and rural territories. JAMA Physciatry conducted an in-depth study on the issue, and the findings are quite surprising. The typical heroin user in the past was an older male living in the city, which is no longer the case. JAMA Psychiatry reports that now, the typical user is a suburban resident in their 20’s. In addition, the number of women who are using has greatly increased.

“Although the “high” produced by heroin was described as a significant factor in its selection, it was often used because it was more readily accessible and much less expensive than prescription opioids.” –JAMA Psychiatry The Changing Face of Heroin Use in the United States This is probably one of the main reasons heroin has caught on in the suburban and rural market with young people. JAMA Physiciatry notes that this doesn’t necessarily mean the use has decreased in urban areas, it has just predominantly made it’s way into other areas. This dangerous drug is something to be cautious of. If you are suspicious of a loved one using, consider drug testing.

Health Insurance Marketplace / Obamacare from a Married 20’Something’s Point of View in GA

By Damire Winn

All of this started when I received a letter in the mail from my current health insurance company in regards to ACA and the changes to come. In this letter they offered me the opportunity to keep my current insurance plan and pay $40 more than what I currently pay. Another option was to keep my current plan with the same premium until the end of the contract and then switch over to an ACA-Compliant plan.

After reading this, my first thought was “let’s see what my options are with the Marketplace.” The way it played in my head was based on what little knowledge I have about the Affordable Care Act, the price for the new insurance plans should be affordable. So the first step to discovering my options was to go on to www.healthcare.gov and create an account.

The process to create an account was beyond frustrating. Why? Because it took me a total of 2 hours to simply enter my basic information and create the account. After 2 hours I decided to give it a rest and try the next day after I cooled off to continue my application, in order to see what my options were. The next day I decide to give one more try. After all, the letter my health insurance company sent me had a deadline for me to provide my answer. So I logged in ready to continue my application and really looking forward to my “affordable” health insurance options.  Once logged in, you need to enter all of your taxpayer information. Now I have a considerably fast broadband Internet connection and for some reason each step took a minimum of 20 minutes to be processed. Again frustration started to build at an extremely fast pace.

After two and a half hours frustration won yet again. New plan! Call my health insurance company and have them find out for me. During this phone call, the representative explained to me that if I kept my current plan, all the current benefits would stay the same and they would add in maternity to the benefits. My current plan covers free preventive care, $35 copay for doctor visits, $50 copay for visits to a specialist, prescription coverage and vision. Keeping this plan means that my family (myself and my husband) gets the same coverage plus maternity for $314.  But I wanted to know more, so of course I asked about the new ACA-Compliant plans and their costs. He started to explain to me that there were four different tiers of health insurance bronze, silver, gold and platinum (the Cadillac of health insurance plans).

My husband and I are both in our late 20’s and we’re non-smokers, I figured with pre-existing conditions no longer an issue (I have lived with a thyroid condition since childhood), the premiums will be relatively low and maybe we will be able to afford a higher tier than bronze. First the representative explained to me that prices vary by state and that with the new ACA-Compliant plans benefits were still being worked out. The items plans covered in the past might not be covered under the new plans. He gave an example of the bronze tier insurance plan; he said that this plan covers preventive care only if your physician bills the visit as preventive care. In order to get prescription coverage he said that it has to be purchased separately.

So I asked him to tailor a quote to my situation, my state being GA, again both my husband and myself in our late 20’s and non-smokers. I wanted to know what my options were. The quote he gave me almost knocked me out of my seat. He said that for us a bronze tier plan will cost $662/month. After listening to him, I struggled to find the affordable part in the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare.

At the end of our conversation he suggested I take the offer to keep my current plan for $40 more than what I currently pay. With my current plan I already know what my benefits are and he said my current plan is an equivalent of what the Gold or Platinum tier will be in terms of coverage. Then he said something that I could not agree more with, he said, “Hopefully by next year the ACA-Compliant plans will actually be affordable.”

The reality of what ACA has created has sunk in and it’s not pretty. Now Americans will pay more for fewer benefits. How that made sense when they were drafting these laws is beyond me. As for the Health Insurance marketplace it has been two and a half weeks and the portal still has not been able to provide me with options. Needless to say my husband and I kept our current plan and will deal with ACA-Compliant plans next year, though we’re secretly praying that my health insurance provider decides to extend this opportunity another year just in case the prices have not gone down by the end of 2014.