Helping to Keep Medical Professionals Drug-Free

by Nicole Jupe on October 26, 2016

substance-abuse-nursingMany individuals misuse prescription drugs to stay alert, self-medicate, increase energy or performance at work, and manage stress or pain. Substance abuse crosses all industries and professions, including healthcare. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) reinforces this fact by saying, “The last people we would suspect of drug addiction are healthcare professionals—those people trusted with our well-being. Yet, healthcare workers are as likely as anyone else to abuse drugs.” Below are a few data points that show the reach of substance abuse in jobs related to medicine.

  • Physicians struggle with addiction to alcohol, narcotics, and sedatives just like the general population, especially those in the field of anesthesiology, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association.
  • Survey results from the Substance Abuse journal revealed that 48 percent of nurses reported drug or alcohol use at work, 27 percent acknowledged that patients were put at risk one or more times because of substance use, and 25 percent of nurses indicated that they obtained drugs in the workplace. The nurses surveyed declined to seek help for fear of embarrassment and losing their nursing license.
  • A Mayo Clinic study showed that medical students had twice the rate of alcohol problems as surgeons, physicians, and the general public because of factors such as burnout, educational debt, age, and emotional exhaustion.

Where healthcare professionals do differ from the public is that their drug use and access to powerful medicines puts patients and colleagues at risk. For this reason, many hospitals, clinics, medical schools, pharmacies, and addiction recovery centers have implemented drug testing programs along with early identification and prevention training.

However, the drug testing of medical professionals can be somewhat controversial in the healthcare industry. The primary argument against drug screening is that healthcare professionals will self-regulate and blow the whistle if they suspect a colleague of substance abuse. Yet, Dr. Art Caplan, New York University professor and medical ethicist, explains to Medscape, “When you ask doctors, residents, and even medical students hypothetically if they would report someone that they thought was impaired, they tend to say no.”

Quest Diagnostics offers a comprehensive specialty panel for organizations who want to protect the safety and well-being of patients and healthcare staff. Test panels can be configured to screen for substances readily available to medical professionals, such as benzodiazepines, barbiturates, and opiates, as well as illicit drugs.

Download our brochure to learn more about our Medical Professional Panel options.

To learn more about medical professional testing, visit our website or contact us online.

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Red Ribbon Week: October 23-31

by Landon Todd on October 23, 2016

red_ribbon_week.jpgSponsored by the National Family Partnership, Red Ribbon Week is the oldest and largest drug prevention program in the U.S. Since 1985, parents and youth in communities across the country began wearing Red Ribbons as a symbol of their commitment to raise awareness of the deaths and destruction caused by drugs. Red Ribbon Week (October 23-31) serves as a catalyst to mobilize communities to educate youth and encourage participation in drug prevention activities.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse suggests, “Prevention programs are most effective when they employ interactive techniques, such as peer discussion groups and parent role-playing, that allow for active involvement in learning about drug abuse and reinforcing skills.”

Take the National Red Ribbon Campaign Pledge to help fight the war on drug abuse and be a part of the creation of a drug free America:

  1. As parents and citizens, we will talk to our children and the children in our lives about the dangers of drug abuse.
  2. We will set clear rules for our children about not using drugs.
  3. We will set a good example for our children by not using illegal drugs or medicine without a prescription.
  4. We will monitor our children’s behavior and enforce appropriate consequences, so that our rules are respected.
  5. We will encourage family and friends to follow the same guidelines to keep children safe from substance abuse.

Visit to learn more about this awareness campaign and how to get involved.

For information about drug testing, visit our website or contact us online.


Ask the Experts: Six Sigma Quality

October 18, 2016 Ask the Experts

Question: What is Six Sigma? Six Sigma is defined by the Council for Six Sigma Certification as “a set of business tools, statistical theory, and quality control knowledge that helps improve your business procedures. A Six Sigma process is expected to be free of defects with no more than 3.4 defective defects per million opportunities (DPMO).” […]

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National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

October 14, 2016 Industry News

Many people use prescription medications as part of their daily routine to help treat disease and improve their health. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that the most frequently prescribed drugs fall in the “therapeutic class,” which includes Analgesics, Antiheperlipidemic agents,  and Antidepressants like Zoloft and Lexapro. Prescription painkillers are […]

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Webinar: Gain the eCCF Advantage

October 13, 2016 eCCF

With more than 5.8 million federally-regulated urine drug tests conducted in 2015 alone, electronic custody and control forms (eCCF) represents a tremendous opportunity for companies to improve efficiencies to save time on their drug testing programs. While non-regulated eCCFs have been available for several years, Quest Diagnostics will launch eCCF for federally-regulated testing beginning in […]

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By The Numbers: Oral Fluid Positivity

October 12, 2016 By the Numbers

Our By the Numbers series takes a closer look at the numbers, facts, data, and outputs that impact workplace drug testing programs. In this post, we examine the surge in oral fluid drug testing positivity over the past three years. Laboratory-based oral fluid is reliable for detecting recent drug use, and because the collection is […]

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Finding the ‘Root’ of Prescription Drug Addiction

October 11, 2016 Industry News

Genetics, smoking, drug abuse, sugar, and home care routines like brushing and flossing can all play a role in the health of your teeth. What happens if you face an issue? Depending on the severity, it may be as simple as your dentist filling a cavity or more invasive treatments such as a root canal […]

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Important Changes With eCCF

October 10, 2016 eCCF

The content below highlights a number of the changes you should expect as you prepare to make the transition to electronic custody and control forms, or eCCF, for Federal drug testing from Quest Diagnostics. One of the biggest changes is the use of the Specimen ID as the single, identifying number for all drug testing […]

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National Drug-Free Work Week: October 10-15

October 10, 2016 Industry News

The National Drug-Free Workplace Alliance (NDWA) is dedicated to the prevention of substance abuse and collaborates with other organizations in activities aimed to educate and encourage safe work environments. This year’s annual observance of the National Drug-Free Work Week is October 10 through 15 and its goal is educating employers, employees, and the general public about the […]

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By the Numbers: Positivity by Drug

October 6, 2016 By the Numbers

Our By the Numbers series takes a closer look at the numbers, facts, data, and outputs that impact workplace drug testing programs. In this post,we take a closer look at positivity by drug which the Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™ (DTI) measures using a combination of three factors: drug category, specimen type, and workforce segment. […]

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