Wednesday, July 2, 2014

How long cocaine will show in a drug test

Technology plays a great part in helping to detect traces of cocaine through different advanced methods for drug testing, like using urine, blood, saliva and hair. You can detect the existence of cocaine using the following drug tests.

 Urine Drug Test

To know how long will cocaine show in a drug test, the subject can undergo urine test. It can detect even the slightest trace of cocaine in his urine. However, this will depend on the manner of the cocaine intake. When cocaine is snorted, its detection is possible between 4-10 hours after the intake. When cocaine is injected, its detection is still possible, even after almost a day of the cocaine intake. Cocaine metabolites can still be found even after 2 and ½ days of the intake at a cut off level of 300ng. These metabolites include Benzoylecgonine, ecgonine methyl ester and coca ethylene when cocaine was taken with alcohol.

The urine test is done in collecting the urine of the subject and the urine is placed directly into a cup exclusively prepared for this purpose and the test either performed by a rapid onsite drug test or sent to a lab. If a laboratory is used it will then be sealed with a tamper resistant tape to be sent for drug screening to the testing laboratory. While you can detect its presence, onsite drug test method cannot determine the exact time of the cocaine intake as well as the amount of cocaine used. Nevertheless, this method offers accurate results and is even a lot less expensive than any other drug testing methods. Detection of cocaine is now possible through various laboratory advanced methods like GC-MS methodology which is used to confirm a positive result from onsite urine drug test and determine the amount of cocaine present.

 Blood Test

Even if this drug test is more expensive and intrusive than urine test, it is more recommended and preferred by doctors in order to determine the effects of cocaine on one’s body through blood circulation. Results show more detailed information about its effects on a person’s body. The person is extracted from his blood sample and blood extracted will be subjected to several medical tests to determine which cocaine metabolites are present in the blood. Cocaine detection in the blood can take place within 5-6 hours after the cocaine intake. Results from this test are usually believed to be the most efficient of all and thus, has been the most preferred drug tests for detecting cocaine.

Hair Follicle Test

An expensive method that involves laboratory testing, cocaine hair follicle drug test is non-invasive and bulk samples can be used to detect drug intoxication. The period of cocaine detection using this method can extend up to more than a month as long as the hair stays uncut during that period. Typically, detection can be done within a period of eight hours, which it could extend even up to more than a week. Washing or shampooing the hair may remove some cocaine deposits, its presence in one’s body cannot be totally removed from the hair.

 Saliva Drug Test

Cocaine detection using saliva should be done immediately after the substance is snorted, smoked or injected as its detection can only be done within a day or two after its intake. Determining how long you can detect the presence of cocaine in the body relies on several factors which include type of drug test used. Detection of cocaine or coke, snow, crack, rocks, and flake as it is more commonly known should be done within 24 hours after intake using several drug tests, but some tests can still detect its presence even three months after the last intake.

 The timetable for cocaine detection also depends on the person’s age, the rate of his body’s metabolism, his body mass, hydration level, the level of his physical activities, his health conditions among many other factors.

 Timetable for Cocaine Drug Tests

You will find below an approximated detection window for detection of cocaine using a variety of methods for drug testing.

Urine Drug Test: between 2-30 days
Blood Drug Test: within 24 hours
Saliva Drug Test: from 1-10 days

Hair follicle drug test can be used to detect the presence of cocaine, from 6 days even up to 3 months after the last intake.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

How long Marijuana will show in a drug test

Marijuana is a oil based drug which will make it more detectable since is not water soluble and will allocate in the fat cells of the body. It is hard to tell how long marijuana will manifest in a drug testing because the time to detect its presence depends on many factors. These include what kind and how sensitive the type of test that is being done. How frequent is the person using the substance, what is its dosage, when was the last time he used the substance as well as the user’s genetic make-up, his state of metabolism, weight or obesity, his digestive along with his excretory systems plus other factors.

Urine Drug Test

The most common method of drug testing is through a urine test.  This can be an effective drug test to check for the presence of marijuana in a person’s body through his urine. While the psychoactive component or THC, the delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol found in marijuana cannot be detected through a urine test, it can detect the presence of the non-psychoactive component which is THC-COOH, the metabolite which can able to stay in the body even after several days or even weeks without having impairing effects. Since THC-COOH can be detected even after several days, it goes to show that urine tests can have more sensitivity with marijuana than to other drugs. In fact, about 50% of the drug tests which turned out to be positive are from marijuana testing.

Marijuana test can be detected in a person’s urine test depending on how frequently he uses the substance. For a regular user, one who uses several times a week, the metabolite (THC-COOH) in marijuana will register a high build-up of about several hundreds of nanogram for every milliliter. This will take a few weeks to go down below the outset of detection. There should be an abstinence from using the substance so that the trace will be totally cleared out. For those who use the substance for just once a week or, occasionally, the trace often gets cleared up in just a matter of days. 

Blood Drug Test

Blood tests can detect the trace of marijuana better than urine test as it measures the presence of the active component THC in the blood stream for someone who just recently used the substance. However, since you cannot just administer the test due to being invasive, blood tests are seldom used. They are just used on occasions where there are investigations ongoing related to accidents and injuries as well as those with DUI cases as they are necessary to prove if there is actually a trace of the substance in the blood of the subject through a court order. Another drawback is THC levels in blood will be present in a very short time since the test will perform detection for the delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol found in marijuana also called Parent THC.

To smoke marijuana, the THC easily builds-up within a few minutes of inhalation usually to levels more than 100 ng/ml in the blood plasma and easily subsides to a single-digit measurement after an hour. When the THC levels of the subject turned out very high, it means that the person just recently smoked marijuana. THC may stay at low levels of just 1-2 ng/ml after eight hours or more with no detectable manifestations of mutilation in those who smoked the substance once or rarely. For those who have been smoking marijuana for a long time already, the trace of the marijuana can still be detected even after several days, about 24-48 hours after smoking and sometimes can even stay longer with levels from .5 – 3.2 ng/ml in the bloodstream.

Hair Drug Test

Hair tests are done on a subject because they cannot measure the current use. However, non-psychoactive residues can still be detected in the subject’s hair even after months of last use. Since the residues were absorbed internally, they are not seen in the hair right away and thus, are not washed using shampoos. It would take about a week or more after the first use. This test will most likely be suitable for those smoking marijuana regularly than those who just occasionally smoke. In a study, it showed 85% of regular users resulted positive for the substance while those who smoke occasionally showed only 52% positive results. Smoked marijuana is more easily detected than ingested cannabis due to the digestive process.

Saliva Drug Test

Saliva testing is the newest method to detect the presence of marijuana. This technology will detect the delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol found in marijuana or Parent THC. This test is more appropriate for recent marijuana usage which could be for just a few hours up to 3 day. The test is designed to detect through the secretions which are not washed out by using mouthwash. Since this test is not as intrusive as using a blood test or urine test, the government would like to develop this type of testing. Most drugs can have residues in the saliva for only a few hours up to a day after last use. Thus, this test could only be efficient when the test is done immediately or within that period.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

What is a Rapid Strep Test? : Benefits to perform a Strep A Test

Strep throat is an infection in the throat, making a person experiences a sore throat. To determine if a person has a strep throat, what usually done is taking a rapid strep test. There are several types of strep, but the Group A strain is usually the cause of serious throat infections. It is necessary to take a strep A test as soon as one develops symptoms of throat infection to determine if there is a presence of the Group A strep.
Usually, doctors recommend taking a Strep A test if a person is experiencing signs of sore throat such as sore throat, dizziness, weakness, headache or fever. You can perform at Home Strep test with a family member to assist you. You should also check out if the throat is inflamed and has whitish or yellowish spots as well as if your neck has gotten swollen. Anybody who got close to a person with a strep throat could be contaminated and needs to take a rapid strep test as well.

Normally, it takes two to three days to conduct a strep throat test. It is done by getting a throat swab and putting in a special cup or culture and allows the infection to grow in it. If it grows, then there is an infection in your throat. With a rapid strep test, the process can generate results in just a few minutes. What the test does is determine if there is a presence of the Group A strep in your throat.

You can take a strep A test without needing to prepare anything prior the test. What is done is taking a sample of the mucus in your throat with a cotton swab and let it undergo testing for the presence of the bacteria from the Group A strep. While collecting the mucus, some people could feel like choking.

A rapid strep test may be considered excellent for at home use but it may need to be repeated when the test was conducted while there was not yet sufficient presence of bacteria or the sore throat has been experienced for a long period already or when you are already taking some medications for the sore throat.

When the result came out positive for the presence of the bacteria from the Group A strep, there is no more need for further tests. The doctor will prescribe appropriate antibiotics for the infection. Sometimes, it is also possible to have a sore throat even if there is no presence of the bacteria from the Group A strep. It is the milder sore throat and just caused by a viral infection.

United States has a high incidence of strep throat cases reaching about 10 million cases every year. If the symptoms are left untreated, the infection could last for almost two weeks. Young kids under two years old are rarely affected by this condition. However, children who are commonly affected by the strep throat are those aging 5 to 10 years old. Though there are about 20% of the children who could possibly be carriers of the bacteria, it is possible that they do not manifest any symptoms of strep throat.
The importance of identifying streptococcal infection

Those people who experience the symptoms of streptococcal infection and immediately consulted the doctor for proper treatment will recover from the condition more quickly. The antibiotic treatment will provide immediate relief of the symptoms; it will shorten the duration of the illness as well as to prevent the bacteria to be spread to other people.

Those who were diagnosed to have the streptococcal infections are possible for developing rheumatic fever. However, this happens rarely. Why rheumatic fever could be serious is because it is associated with one’s heart, joints and could also damage the person’s nervous system. This could be prevented if you will undergo a Strep A test immediately once you experience the symptoms of strep throat and if found positive, have proper treatment for it.

 Kidney problem could also arise due to this streptococcal infection. And so, when you experience symptoms of a strep throat, it is best that you take at home strep test right away or consult a doctor immediately. Taking a rapid strep test will make a difference as it provides instant results. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

How to Develop Workplace Drug Testing Policies

The Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 is an example of legislation in the US aimed at reducing the number of drug users in organizations contracted by the American government. This act influences contractors of the federal government and organizations that take advantage of the government grants. It demands from them having a workplace without drugs before signing any deal with the authorities. This fact needs to be officially certified, and many businesses run according to the rules of the Drug-Free Workplace Act.

First, a written set of rules need to be established. Every employee must be aware that it is forbidden to possess, distribute or produce drugs in the place of work. There are 35 government agencies that acknowledge the rule which describes conditions to be met by grantees.

In order to prevent their workers from the results of addiction to various substances, many bosses introduce special programs. Such programs usually consist of five elements: no-drugs-in-the-workplace policy, supervised training, educating the employees, supporting them and testing for the drug's presence.  Not all the elements need to be included in the program, still it is advised. It has been scientifically proven that the more elements, the more effective the program is.

 Drug-Free Policy in Various Workplaces

Written rules are a good basis for a drug-free strategy. It needs to be adjusted to the specific conditions of every company, but some elements must remain the same:

The reason for introducing the policy

 It could be as uncomplicated as the willingness to ensure security, health, and good morale of every member of a company or the awareness of the fact that addicted people work less efficiently. Comprehensibly stated forbidden behavior. At least it must include this statement: “Using, possessing or selling prohibited substances by workers is strictly forbidden”.

Clearly explained the consequences of breaking the rules

 It might be a disciplinary punishment, even a termination of a contract or referring an employee to a specialist. These consequences need to be in accordance with current procedures and the law. In order to achieve success in this field, each and every employee must become familiar with the policy rules.

Supervisor Training

When a policy aimed at eliminating drug use in a workplace is prepared, supervisors need to be trained. During this training, the participants must clearly understand:

The rules of a drug-free policy

How to identify and cope with those who are not efficient enough, probably due to problems with drugs or alcohol? What should be done to have an employee referred to a specialist?

All the supervisors need to do is to constantly oversee the efficiency of their co-workers, and report situations when this efficiency is lower than usual. Still, it is not the role of the supervisor to make a diagnosis of others’ addiction problems or counsel people with such problems. Keep in mind that supervisors who can in justified cases refer their co-workers for drug tests must know how to do it.

Educating the Employees

We can call a program successful if every employee completely understands it, is willing to cooperate and sees all the advantages of participating in this program. Such programs allow companies to gain knowledge about the details of the policy, and general features concerning the whole issue of addiction, how it influences work efficiency, health or private life. One can also get to know what kind of help is recommended for the victims of addiction.

There must be no exceptions; everyone in a company is to become a participant of the program. Educating the employees could take forms of workplace displays, home mailings, brown-bag lunches or guest speakers holding seminars.

Supporting the Employees

It is essential to support the employees suffering from either drug addiction or the alcohol one, as a part of the drug-free workplace. When low work efficiency becomes a problem, it is advised to resort to Employee Assistance Programs. Their aim is to alter the situation by helping the employee in question, and his or her private issues that might include abuse of various prohibited substances. EAPs are not only a great support, but they also show that the employer really cares. 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

How Marijuana Affects Brain Function

Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States. It is estimated that 50% of American teenagers have tried marijuana for the first time before they graduate from high school. The main culprit of marijuana’s harmful health effects boils down to THC. THC, which stands for tetrahydrocannabinol, elicits psychological effects when bind with the receptors on nerve cells and fit like a lock. These receptors are commonly found in particular regions of the brain associated with memory, pleasure and thinking. This article runs down the effects of marijuana to brain performance and how chronic use of the drug affects the individual’s everyday life.

Overview on Marijuana
Street names: pot, weed, herb.
Marijuana is made from Cannabis sativa, a hemp plant. People can take up marijuana through smoke of the plant’s seeds, flowers, stems and dried leaves, although marijuana can now be mixed into food. At present, marijuana can be brewed as a tea, and controversially, utilize as a medicine.  Concentrated form of marijuana is termed as hash or hashish.

Regions of the Brain Affected by Marijuana
When cling to the brain receptors, the cells in the brain release a neurotransmitter called dopamine which is responsible for the feeling of euphoria. THC influences the hippocampus, part of the brain responsible for the formation of new memories. Other parts of the brain that are highly affected by marijuana are cerebellum and basal ganglia which primary functions include balance, coordination and movement. The hypothalamus -- the temperature-regulating center of the brain -- can also be moderately affected by long-term use of marijuana. Chronic users of the drug who display sluggish or blunt reactions, excitability and fear are said to have impaired function of amygdala, the region of the brain responsible for emotional response.

Physiological and Psychological Effects of Marijuana
Effects of marijuana take place within minutes after inhalation and gradually reduced up to 4 hours following ingestion, but the effects linger in the body systems up to 6 months. The following summarizes the effects of marijuana:
Physiological Effects
Psychological Effects
Increased vital signs
Anxiety, Depression
Red eyes
Memory loss
Dry mouth
‘high’ or ‘stoned’
Increased appetite
Slowed reaction time
Magical thinking

Impacts of Marijuana
§  Learning. Students who smoke marijuana daily display reduced intellectual capacity and perform worse in school compared to non-smoking students who get higher grades. Further, regular smokers of marijuana exhibit increased absences and tardiness. They also have poor problem solving skills and are less attentive.

§  Driving. THC in marijuana affects certain regions in the brain that have something to do with memory and concentration. That being said, drivers who are intoxicated are likely to encounter accidents due to impair judgment, slow reaction time and poor perception of stimulus.

§  Pregnancy. THC found in marijuana can affect the brain development and emotional maturation of the fetus. Studies disclose that babies born to mothers who use marijuana demonstrate high-pitched cry, decreased response to visual stimuli and increased tremulousness.

§  Workplace. Smoking marijuana affects work performance. Regular and high level use of marijuana leads to less dedication and less motivation to work. Marijuana use also lead to impaired judgment and reduced concentration, making users accident-prone.

Is Marijuana Addictive Substance?
Indeed, marijuana is addictive. Because marijuana has been a common drug in majority of the adolescents in the United States, 1 out of 6 teens are reported to have developed addiction to the substance. Over the recent years, most especially with the tolerance of medical marijuana use and increased access to the drug, more and more people have become dependent on marijuana.
 A person is considered addictive to marijuana if there is an obvious impairment and significant suffering with at least 3 of the following symptoms:
§  Consumption of larger amounts of the drug
§  The need to increase the quantity of the drug to obtain the desired effect (drug tolerance)
§  Specific symptoms show up when the person abstains from using the drug for several days (withdrawal symptoms)
§  Increased desire to use marijuana
§  Trouble in cutting off marijuana use
§  Continue to use the drug despite experiencing negative health effects
Note: Withdrawal symptoms of marijuana is similar to that of symptoms experienced during tobacco withdrawal which normally start 1 to 2 days after termination of marijuana, peak between 4 and 6 weeks, and last up to 3 weeks. Withdrawal symptoms include but not limited to irritability, decreased appetite, depression, anger and insomnia.

Long-Term Effects of Marijuana Use to the Brain

A new study shows that chronic use of marijuana shrinks some parts of the brain, particularly hippocampus and amygdala. The study was conducted for several years were the main subjects were heavy users of marijuana. The finding was surprising. The hippocampus of marijuana users decrease by 12% in size compared to people who do not smoke marijuana. Similarly, amygdala, part of the brain that involves in memory and emotion, was 7% on average. Furthermore, the study suggests that people who use marijuana for long periods have higher tendency to report symptoms associated with mental health problems. It is also reported that they performed worse on a verbal learning test but researchers are not sure if such is associated with the decrease in volume of some parts of the brain. 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Will Medical Marijuana Exempt Employee to Comply with a Drug-free Workplace?

In a 2012 statistical finding released by the National Survey in Drug Use and Health, there were 9.8 million full-time Americans adults who use drugs in the workplace including medical marijuana. In a separate study, it is found out that more or less 50% of industrial accidents are related to marijuana consumption.

Effects of Marijuana Use in Work Performance

Despite the legal regulation of cannabis laboratories and dispensaries in few states, marijuana is still considered an illicit, strictly controlled drug under the federal law. Marijuana use in the workplace greatly affects the individual’s healthy, safety and productivity. Impaired thinking, reduced concentration, loss of balance and decreased reaction time are among the most known adverse affects of marijuana. Thus, every establishment strives for a drug free workplace recognizing the hazardous consequences of its use and its impact to the workers’ productivity.

Note: Marijuana traces can be detected through blood, urine, saliva and hair samples from day 1 up to 6 weeks (or more) following utilization. The most common methods in detecting marijuana metabolites in the body are urine test, which determines past use of marijuana and blood test, which detects present intoxication of the drug.

Patient’s Rights Versus Federal Law on Medical Marijuana Use

To promote a drug-free workplace and to increase productivity among workers, companies especially in the United States conduct a random marijuana drug test. According to the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988, any company or organization that is subjected to federal regulations should require random drug testing among employees including workers who use marijuana for medical purpose.

Such federal concern has led to the rise of arguments and debates regarding marijuana use for medical reason in the workplace. This is because by federal law, marijuana is illegal and any activity relating to the drug (whether utilization, possession or trade) is a criminal offense. In Washington, employer can fire a worker who uses medical marijuana even the worker takes it up at home and does not elicit any impairment at work. But in keeping with the Disabilities Act (ADA) law, employers can still accommodate workers who have medical conditions that require the use of marijuana. But such consideration should be based on what defines a ‘reasonable accommodation’ of the law. This has then become a challenge for many employers since there is a clear-cut conflict between state laws and federal laws. For instance, Arizona allows medical marijuana use in the workplace, but Maine strictly prohibits the utilization of the drug in any place of employment.

Current Marijuana Laws and their Impact on the Workplace

At present, there are no less than 13 states that employ medical marijuana laws including Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Montana, Nevada and Washington. Primarily, the aim of this law is to insulate doctors from criminal liability for prescribing marijuana to their patients for specific medical conditions. As a result of inconsistencies between the federal and state law, every state has statutory requirements that every employer should follow to be discharged from any legal consequences. For example, any worker who uses medical marijuana in Alaska must register with the Department of Health and Human Services and should secure identification cards for himself and the caregiver indicating the worker’s diagnosis and recommendation of marijuana use. In Arizona, any doctor can prescribed medical marijuana but this should be confirmed by a second doctor in which all opinions should be translated in written form and kept in the patient’s medical file.

Meanwhile, the federal Department of Transportation released a new guideline that medical marijuana use is strongly not tolerated for transportation workers and those involve in safety-sensitive jobs such as ship captains and pilots (even in states where medical marijuana use is allowed).

Measures that Employers Should Do

To deter legal liability, employers and companies should be keen on their stance regarding marijuana use in the workplace and notify prospective workers about medical marijuana policy in written form. In addition to that, employers should be clear about marijuana drug test policy particularly the consequences when found positive. Every employer has the right to maintain a drug-free establishment not only to protect the company against costly litigation but more essentially, to look after the safety of the workers.

… so, the question is: does employers exempt workers who use medical marijuana to comply with the drug-free workplace? That depends on the state requirements and the company or the employer. At present time, many employers follow the federal law and anyone who finds violating it would be considered disobedience of the Drug-free Workplace Act. Workers with positive marijuana drug can be refused to get the job, fire from the job or get referral for drug rehab treatment.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Drug Testing in the Workplace

How important is to Drug Test?

For a lot of people the answer is very easy  but in reality there is a complex issue that affects companies and their employees. For many years the war on drugs has been fought but the reality is that people still use illicit drugs but also on the rise is the use of unauthorized prescription and synthetic drugs (K2 - Synthetic Marijuana and Molly - MDMA). More than a black and white issue or an employer dictating how a employee must behave outside their work schedule, for most companies the real issue involves labor security and how drugs in the workplace impacts companies losses.

A poll from the Society of Human Resources Management showed primary reasons why companies will not conduct a drug test program in the workplace:

·       24% Their organization didn't believe in drug testing.
·         18% They are not require by the state to drug test.
·         16% The cost of drug testing is too high.
·         16% Saw no return on their investment on a drug test policy.
·         7%  It's too difficult to administratively manage a drug test program.
·         2% They are planning to drug test in the future.
·         5% Other reasons.

How does drug abuse impact the workplace?

Drugs sometimes have a financial impact on employees that consume them because their income can't support their habit. This creates a dangerous situation to the employer in which can open the door to workplace crime and theft. According to a report sponsored by the Department of Labor, Small Business Association (SBA) and the office of National Control, lower productivity can reach 33 percent less compared to other coworkers.

From a study in 2007 by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) this type of worker will have a trend to change jobs more often. This can impact dramatically worker turnover in a company. This relates to cost of training, slowing down company productivity, and performance.  Data from the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) shows that employee turnover decreases by 16 percent when drug testing program is in place. The same data showed a drop from their respondents of 50 percent in their workers' compensation  after they implemented a drug test program. This cost preventing measures are the reason why drug testing in the workplace is so important for companies and provides the ROI to their "Bottom Line"once the program is implemented that helps keep the work environment safer.