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Alcohol and How It Affects You

April newsletter alcohol small(1)According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “approximately 1 in 5 children killed in traffic crashes were passengers in drunk-driving crashes. Fifty-six percent of the time, it was the child’s own driver who was drunk.” This, among other horrifying statistics about the physical, emotional and financial impacts of drunk driving, has spurred the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign. The campaign will run in partnership with law enforcement agencies nationwide from August 19 through September 5, 2016 to raise awareness about the crime and its dangers.

Of course, the question is at what point does someone cross the line from enjoying a beer at an afternoon cookout to being too drunk to get behind the wheel? Legally, the answer to this is when their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is more than .08 percent. For the average person, however, knowing the legal limit is not enough information.

The best and safest advice is to always travel with a driver who hasn’t been drinking alcohol at all. Whether you invite a designated driver along to the party or call a cab as the event winds down, riding with someone who has not been drinking at all is the best way to stay safe.
If, however, you have consumed alcoholic beverages and are considering driving yourself, know that the body can typically only process one alcoholic drink per hour. An alcoholic drink is measured as a 12-ounce beer or its equivalent. If you’ve enjoyed more than one drink, you should not drive.

Even with that guideline, however, each person’s body responds to alcohol differently. Factors that contribute to how a person metabolizes alcohol include:

Gender. Men tend to have lower body fat than women, which makes them able to process alcohol more efficiently than women.
Weight. When people are heavier, the alcohol becomes diluted more easily in the blood, making it harder to get drunk.
Age. As you become older, your body becomes less able to process alcohol. This means that as you age, it will take fewer drinks for you to become drunk.
Frequency of alcohol consumption. Those who routinely consume large quantities of alcohol tend to become drunk more slowly than those who don’t.
Amount of food consumed. Having a full stomach can slow down the absorption of alcohol. Of course, eventually, the alcohol will make its way into the bloodstream, so it does not follow that eating will ultimately prevent you from becoming drunk.

Each year, over 10,000 people die from drunk-driving accidents. As summer parties rage on, it is important that we all do our part to spread the word about the dangers of driving drunk. If you suspect that you will be in a situation where alcohol is being served, consider talking with your local Any Lab Test Now facility about their easy breath or saliva tests that measure blood alcohol levels.

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.

Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over

Driving while intoxicated is no laughing matter. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, someone dies every 51 minutes in the U.S. due to alcohol-impaired driving. And sadly, it is not always the drunk driver who suffers the consequences. About 17 percent of traffic deaths among children are caused by an alcohol-impaired driver.

Driving under the influence endangers you and everyone around you, not to mention it puts you at risk for criminal charges and a lifetime of regret. If you have had more than one drink or your blood alcohol content (BAC) is higher than .08 percent (the legal driving limit), JUST DON’T DO IT. During Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over this month, we are urging people to make safe driving decisions or — you guessed it — you’re going to see some flashing blue lights in your rear view mirror.

Any alcohol you drink is absorbed by your stomach and enters your bloodstream where it circulates through your body before making its way to the liver. There, enzymes in the liver break down the alcohol slowly, and the alcohol your liver can’t process fast enough continues to circulate through your bloodstream. In the average person, the liver can process one ounce of liquor or alcohol in one hour. This is why your BAC increases when you have more drinks than your liver can process in a certain amount of time. The higher your BAC, the more “drunk” you feel. Once your BAC is above .08, you will start to experience loss of motor skills, your reaction time decreases, your judgment becomes impaired and your ability to process information decreases, among other side effects. This is why it is so important that drivers stay off the road until they are sober.

Drunk drivers are a serious danger to themselves and everyone around them. Remember, if your BAC is above the legal driving limit DO NOT DRIVE. Stay safe, drive sober … or you’ll get pulled over.

Concerned about the alcohol consumption of an employee or loved one? Here at Any Lab Test Now, we have several types of alcohol tests for whatever your needs may be.

An Alcohol Screen (Saliva) tests for the presence of alcohol in the saliva. This test may be used as an alternative to a breath alcohol test by non-DOT (Department of Transportation) employers. You may also wish to get this test done if you are a parent who suspects your child has been consuming alcohol. This test is also commonly used by schools requiring an alcohol screen for certain events such as dances.

A Breath Alcohol Test is used to detect the presence of alcohol in the breath. This test is required for certain situations by DOT testing regulations as well as by other employers. Parents or schools may also want to use this test to check if children or students have been consuming alcohol.

A FAEE Hair Alcohol Abuse Test checks for the presence of Fatty Acid Ethyl Esters (FAEEs), a metabolite of ethyl (drinking) alcohol, in a person’s hair. This test is capable of detecting alcohol consumed over long periods of time and can accurately determine if an individual is alcohol dependent. This test can be used to differentiate between social drinkers and those who consume alcohol excessively. Results from this test may be requested as evidence in court or provide answers if you have concerns about the alcohol usage of a loved one.

An Alcohol Test, ETG (Ethyl Glucoronide) (Urine) is used to detect the presence of the ethyl alcohol metabolite, ethyl glucuronide, in urine. The detection period is typically up to 80 hours after ingestion. This is not an under the influence test. It may be used by programs that require this test, as well as used by court systems for persons who have had a DUI. Employers who have a zero tolerance policy for alcohol use also use this test. This test is also frequently used by parents who would like to know if their child has recently ingested alcohol.

An Alcohol Test, ETG (Ethyl Glucoronide) (Hair) is used to detect the presence of the ethyl alcohol metabolite, ethyl glucuronide, in hair. This test can detect the ingestion of ethyl alcohol within the past seven to 90 days. This test is not an under the influence test. People who request ETG testing may be in a program that requires them to have this test. It is sometimes used by the court system for persons who may have had a DUI in the past. Employers that have a zero tolerance alcohol usage policy may be interested in this test, as well as employers that have substance abuse programs in place that require enrollees to be tested. It is also frequently used by parents who would like to know if their child has recently ingested alcohol.

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.

Get Screened on National Alcohol Screening Day

Did you know that over 50% of the U.S. population above the age of 12 consumes alcohol? It is estimated that there are between 10 to 15 million alcoholics in the United States and approximately 100,000 alcohol-related deaths per year. Because of these staggering facts, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) partnered to establish National Alcohol Screening Day. Held annually on the Thursday of the first full week of April, National Alcohol Screening Day is recognized as a day of outreach, education, and anonymous screening focused on raising awareness on harmful and dependent drinking behaviors and connecting those at risk with treatment options. With the support and participation of thousands of Americans, National Alcohol Screening Day is the nation’s largest and most visible community-based intervention initiative to target alcohol misuse. During this day, participating colleges, military installations and other organizations offer attendees:

  • free and anonymous alcohol screening.

  • referrals for treatment options.

  • education on the impact alcohol can have on one’s overall health.

If you think you or one of your family members suffer from harmful or dependent drink behaviors, Any Lab Test Now® encourages you to get screened on National Alcohol Screening Day, April 9th. Drinking above the average amount of alcohol on a regular basis can have long-term health effects on the body and it’s your responsibility to Take Control of Your Health® now. Tests like our Alcohol Effect Panel  and Liver Function Panel can help do that by identifying any long-term effects alcohol may have on your body. Contact us today to learn more about the alcohol testing services we offer and how we can help you begin bettering the health of your future.

National Influenza Week: December 7th- 13th, 2014

This year, the Center for Disease Control has declared the week of December 7th-13th as National Influenza Week. During this week, the goal is to inform and educate the general public about influenza and highlight the importance of continuing the influenza vaccination.

There are many benefits to getting the vaccine. Along with it being a great preventative measure to avoid infection, it is especially helpful for those with chronic health conditions who could become more seriously ill if they were to contract the virus. If a person has already become sick with the flu, the vaccine can still help suppress the symptoms of the flu and lower the severity of sickness.

The CDC suggests the public to take 3 actions to fight the flu.

  1. Take time to get the flu vaccine early. It takes approximately two weeks after being vaccinated for your body to develop the antibodies it needs to fight the flu effectively.

  2. Take everyday preventive actions to avoid spreading germs like washing your hands frequently and keeping sanitizer nearby.

  3. If you do contract the virus, take flu antiviral medication if a physician prescribes.

The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months and older. By getting vaccinated today, you can help protect yourself and those around you who are more vulnerable to a serious flu illness. Not all Any Lab Test Now® locations provide flu vaccines. Call your local clinic today to see if your particular location offers this service.

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!

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 Psychiatry 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 Psychiatry 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.