“Drive With Reason” This Holiday Season

Who’s responsibility is it to be sure people are driving safely and are not under the influence of drugs or alcohol? Yours! And mine! Statistics from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System show that although the number of people killed in the US in car accidents has declined, the number of accidents involving drugs, both legally prescribed medications and illegal drugs, has increased 6 percent over the past 6 years. Whether this is due to an increase in the use of prescription and over the counter medications or illegal drugs, including marijuana and cocaine, isn’t clear.  What is clear is that many of us don’t think that being impaired by drugs will affect our driving. Did you know that some antihistamines can impact your driving? Especially if you have a drink or two on top of taking the medication. Some people think that smoking a joint won’t affect your ability to drive. It’s not as bad as drunk driving, right? Wrong! It is well known that some drugs can impair your motor coordination, reaction time and visual perception. One in four fatally injured drivers under the age of 25 tested positive for marijuana! If you are a parent, lay down the law and let your teenage or young adult driver know that it’s not OK to drive while under the influence of anything that can impair your judgement, not even a little bit. If you need to, have your teen drug tested to be sure they are following your rules. A “Trust, But Verify” policy can save your child’s life or the lives of others on the road. If you are...

Is the Drug-Free Workplace Act Working?

Has your employer instituted a Drug-Free Workplace policy yet? According to the American Council for Drug Education, since the act was passed in 1988, more than half (57%) of all employers have begun drug testing all employee. Even though the act did not mandate drug testing, federal agencies started testing soon after the act was passed to provide safe workplaces and many private organizations followed suit. So whether employees like it or not, drug testing is here to stay.  Studies show that drug testing deters drug use in the workplace and employers are trying to protect themselves in our litigious society. Due to drug testing, drug use in the workplace has declined 74% in the past 25 years.  If someone is hurt because an employee was using drugs on the job, it is possible that the employer will be sued. Florida’s death rate from prescription drug use has also fallen due to stricter drug laws for prescribing pain medications, such as oxycodone, one of the most addictive prescription drugs on the market. This provides hope that drug testing, drug-free workplace policies and stricter prescribing laws and enforcement of those laws can save lives, not only for those who use drugs themselves, but for those who are put at risk by others’ use. You may not like a policy of drug testing, but you most likely appreciate being safer from the effects of drug abuse and misuse! Written by www.labtestingnow.com...

Medical Marijuana Users Not Protected From Employer Drug Testing

Even for the states that have legalized marijuana for medical use under the Medical Use of Marijuana Act (MUMA), people who are taking advantage of the law are still at risk from their employers.  The act is intended to protect medical users from arrest but the protection does not extend to private businesses.  In at least 2 separate instances employees who were using marijuana for medical purposes were required to submit to drug tests for their employment and were subsequently fired.  Even though both of these people informed their employers about their medical use of marijuana and had supporting evidence from their doctors, the companies still followed through with their corporate policies. For people suffering from chronic pain or undergoing cancer treatment, marijuana can make a huge difference.  The talk show host, Montel Williams, has suffered with Multiple Sclerosis for years and found relief from constant neurological pain with marijuana.  He says that it improved his health and well being.  He supports this as a treatment so much that he is opening a medical marijuana dispensary in Sacramento, CA that he claims will be professional with a focus on patient care.  It’s truly sad that these sufferers are punished when they have found a treatment that works for them and enables them to function well enough to go back to work.  True medical use of marijuana does not provide an exemption for employers concerned with sticking stringently to the rules but it should.  Their lack of compassion in our “Drug Free” world is cruel and unacceptable. Written by...

Drug Testing for Welfare Recipients on the Rise

Kansas is one of the most recent states to try to pass laws requiring welfare recipients to submit to drug testing.  Although there are many opponents who claim that this will cost the state too much money to test all of these people, in the long run this will help to ensure that the money is going to the children and welfare dependents who need food and shelter.  Too many drug users are on welfare and using the state’s money to purchase drugs.  From any perspective this is not the intention of welfare and makes most taxpayers (including me!) angry.  In fact, many of the welfare recipients who were asked about the drug testing bill now headed to the Governer of Kansas support the concept.  They have seen friends and relatives using welfare funds inappropriately. The unfortunate side effect of passing laws such as this, and so far 30 states have proposed bills like this, but none have successfully been enacted, is that this doesn’t provide a support system for drug addicts.  The bills address different aspects of the problem, from receipt of welfare benefits, to applying for welfare, to receipt of food stamps.  Those who test positive may be referred for treatment but the treatment isn’t necessarily covered and then there is the question about how they will support themselves while undergoing treatment, if they actually take that step.  What about false positives?  Is there any recourse for those who receive an incorrect result?  Another worry is that some who really need financial aid, and may use it properl,y won’t even apply if they have to be tested.  Some...

Stop! Don’t Eat Out of That Can!

Guess what?  Another warning on what we should and shouldn’t be eating.  This time though, it’s not the type of food, but what it’s wrapped in that matters.  Eating locally grown, fresh produce is even better for you than you thought, so go ahead, stop by the farmer’s market on the way home.  We have all heard warnings about BPA and its hazards.  Recent research has demonstrated a link between exposure to bisphenol (BPA) and numerous diseases and disorders including breast cancer, heart disease, diabetes, infertility, and in children Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).  Most of the focus has been on plastic water bottles and baby bottles, but the net has widened. The newest research showed that eating only freshly prepared, organic foods for 3 days reduced the amount of BPA in your system by 66%.  The endocrine disrupting chemical is found not only in bottles, but in food storage containers and plastic sealing wrap.  It is also used to line the inside of food cans.  Yes, not eating any prepared or pre-packaged foods is a huge sacrifice, but if you are at risk for any of the diseases or disorders that BPA may cause, you might want to think about cutting  back as a start.  You can be tested to determine the level of BPA in your system with a urine test.  It’s a good way to start making a decision about whether you need to get organic.  The FDA hasn’t come down against BPA and the research isn’t clear on whether lowering BPA levels in your body really matters.  Another one to watch and see, but less trash is good for the...