Positive Workplace Drug Tests for Marijuana, Cocaine Sharply Dropped Since 1988

Positive workplace tests for marijuana and cocaine have dropped sharply since 1988, while tests revealing prescription drug abuse are increasing, according to a study by the medical-testing company Quest Diagnostics Inc.

The findings come from a review of more than 125 million urine drug tests conducted from 1988 through 2012. Last year, 3.5 percent of samples were positive, down from 13.6 percent in 1988. About three-quarters of tests were conducted for pre-employment screening.

Between 2002 and 2012, positive tests for amphetamines, including prescription drugs such as Adderall, more than doubled. From 2005 to 2012, positive tests for Vicodin increased 172 percent, while those positive for OxyContin increased 71 percent. Workers tested after they have been involved in an accident on the job show higher levels of painkiller use.

“Even when used under prescription, these drugs can have an impact on workplace safety,” Barry Sample, director of drug-testing technology for Quest, told The Wall Street Journal.

The decrease in positive marijuana tests may be due in part to workers becoming better at passing drug tests, according to the article. Labs are trying to reduce the number of people who use other people’s urine to pass drug tests, by experimenting with oral swabs and hair tests.

Full story of workplace drug testing at DrugFree.org

Beedie Savage – President of Quantum Units Education

Study Finds Random Drug Testing Doesn’t Deter High School Students’ Substance Use

Random drug testing in schools does not reduce students’ substance use, a national survey of high school students concludes. The study found students who attend schools where they feel treated with respect are less likely to start smoking cigarettes or marijuana.

Students who attend schools where they feel respected, who have already started smoking, escalate their smoking at a slower rate than their peers at schools with less positive atmospheres, the study also found.

Neither random drug testing nor a positive school climate was associated with a reduction in alcohol use, according to researcher Dan Romer, PhD, Director of the Adolescent Communication Institute of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania. He and lead author Dr. Sharon Sznitman, currently at the School of Public Health at Haifa University in Israel, spoke about the findings at the recent American Sociological Association annual meeting.

The researchers interviewed 361 high school students twice, one year apart. They asked them about their use of cigarettes, alcohol and marijuana. If they had not started using these substances at the beginning of the year, the researchers asked whether they had started to do so a year later. If they already had started using any of these substances, the students were asked whether they increased their use.

Students were asked whether their school had a random drug testing program and what the social climate was in their school. “We measured this by whether students think the rules in their school are fairly administered, whether they feel they have a say in how the rules are developed and if they feel they are treated with respect,” Romer said.

Full story of random drug testing for high school at DrugFree.org

Beedie Savage – President of Quantum Units Education

Teen Eating Disorders Increase Suicide Risk

Is binge eating a tell-tale sign of suicidal thoughts? According to a new study of African American girls, by Dr. Rashelle Musci and colleagues from the Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University in the US, those who experience depressive and anxious symptoms are often dissatisfied with their bodies and more likely to display binge eating behaviors. These behaviors put them at higher risk for turning their emotions inward, in other words, displaying internalizing symptoms such as suicide.

The study is published online in Springer’s journal, Prevention Science.

With the focus on appearance in Western culture, it is not uncommon for many girls and women to have eating behavior problems. The most frequently occurring problem eating behaviors are binge eating, or eating large amounts of food in a short period of time and feeling out of control while eating. This behavior leads to shame, embarrassment, distress and an attempt to conceal it.

Full story of teen eating disorders and suicide at Science Daily

Beedie Savage – President of Quantum Units Education

Youths, violence and gun ownership

Nearly one in four young adults and teenagers admitted to a Flint, Michigan, emergency department for non-sexual assault injuries say they currently possess a firearm of their own or have possessed one within the past six months, according to a new study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

The estimate is higher than past studies have found. One reason, according to the researchers, is that the young people studied had been involved in violent disputes; previous research looked at all comers to the emergency room.

Only 17% of those reporting they possessed a firearm say they obtained the weapon legally.

“This points to the ease with which American teenagers and young adults can get access to weapons, and in fact do,” says Dr. Robert Sege, director of the Division of Family and Child Advocacy at Boston University School of Medicine.

“Also I think it points to something that I think we’ve known for a while, that a lot of the firearms injuries happen among a group of kids who fight a lot. And I think that this paper helps make that link.”

Full story of youth gun ownership and violence at CNN Health

Beedie Savage – President of Quantum Units Education

Teens who text and drive more likely to take other risks

High school students who acknowledge texting while driving are more likely to engage in other risky behaviors, such as riding with a driver who has been drinking alcohol; not wearing a seat belt; or drinking and driving themselves, according to a new study.

“This suggests there is a subgroup of students who may place themselves, their passengers and others on the road at elevated risk for a crash-related injury or fatality by engaging in multiple risky MV (motor vehicle) behaviors,” wrote the authors of the study, published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

The study

Researchers analyzed data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2011 national Youth Risk Behavior Survey, which asked high school students whether they had texted while driving in the 30 days previous. Nearly half of the 8,505 students aged 16 or older who answered that question reported doing so. The survey also queried participants on behaviors such as wearing a seat belt or riding in a car with a driver who had been drinking.

Full story of teens taking risks at CNN Health

Beedie Savage – President of Quantum Units Education