SHRM in the Big Easy

by Bonnie Bush on July 13, 2017

New Orleans has a rich history that spans back to the 1700s. The city’s pulse beats through marvelous jazz musicians, street performers, and some of the world’s most diverse and delicious food. No other city in the United States quite compares. This eclectic stage lent itself to a lively conference held by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). My first impression of SHRM was a jazz band that greeted me at the baggage carousel. The music was just a taste of the energy that was to come.

The annual SHRM conference attracts more than 15,000 attendees from all over the world to share HR solutions and best practices. The three-day conference was packed with sessions, demonstrations, networking, and a bustling exhibit floor. While working at the Quest Diagnostics booth, it became clear just how well human resources professionals relate to people. Our booth had friendly visitors all day and many swung by just to say thank you for the support.

It was clear that our drug testing solutions aid in the employee recruiting, hiring, and onboarding process. One attendee after the next reiterated that drug screening programs help them search for capable, talented, drug-free job applicants. This frequent comment mirrors industry research that shows people who use drugs are less likely to work for employers that conduct pre-employment or random drug testing. With that in mind, although many attendees knew Quest, there were a number of great questions about the complexities of administering drug-free workplace programs.

What is the best drug test type for remote employees?
A drug test collection in the field can be challenging for employers hiring remote and rural employees. Instant urine drug tests can be completed regardless of the location and sent to a lab to confirm positive test results. Oral fluid testing is another popular option because of its simple to conduct, observed collection process that’s tough for donors to cheat.

Does Quest conduct drug testing internationally?
Yes. Quest Diagnostics operates facilities in the United States, India, Mexico, and Australia. International drug test specimen types include urine, oral fluid, hair, and instant.

Does Quest offer 24-hour drug test collections on a national scale?
Yes. We have more than 6,000 certified collectors throughout the U.S. that provide around-the-clock access, especially in cases of emergencies or accidents. Our 24/7 call center dispatches a trained collector who typically completes the collection within 2 hours of the call.

How quickly can my company get a drug test result?
Each of our four laboratories located around the country measure turnaround times from the moment a the drug test specimen enters the lab until the time when we release the final result. That said, turnaround times depend on the specimen type, reason for testing, and if the test is positive or negative.

This year, the liveliness of the city of New Orleans was matched by the energy and enthusiasm of the SHRM attendees. We’ll exhibit again at next year’s conference in Chicago, and you’re invited to come and visit with us at our booth.

Stay connected with Quest Diagnostics on LinkedIn and Facebook.

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

Fighting Opioid Prescription Addiction

by Steve Beller on June 29, 2017

Opioid addiction can begin with the best of intentions, like managing pain. The middle-aged male visits the ER for a back sprain. A typical teenager has her wisdom teeth removed by the oral surgeon. To minimize discomfort, the healthcare professional may prescribe 20 or more hydrocodone pills. In fact, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), estimates that on average, more than 650,000 opioid prescriptions are written and dispensed each day in the U.S.

Addiction has skyrocketed as a result. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) estimates that in 2015, “Two million people in the United States suffered from substance use disorders related to prescription opioid pain medicines and over 33,000 Americans died as a result of an opioid overdose.” NIDA also found that the (negative) impact to the U.S. economy due to prescription opioid misuse to be more than $78 billion a year.

As a result, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued a new guideline in 2016 for the prescription of opioids. Primary-care providers are discouraged from turning to opioids to treat acute pain. The guideline advises doctors to “start low and go slow.” Doctors are urged to prescribe the lowest effective dose in the smallest quantity needed for the time period when pain is severe enough to warrant a narcotic. If an opioid is prescribed, the CDC recommends a faster-acting medication with a short duration of pain relief, rather than slower-acting, extended-release drugs with a longer duration. Adapting to these new guidance may prove challenging for doctors who, throughout their careers, practiced aggressive pain management.

State and the federal government are joining the fight by either evaluating or enacting legislation to limit opioid prescriptions. An article from Bloomberg View reports, “In New Jersey, a patient’s first course of opioids is now limited to five days (30 has been the norm) and the lowest effective dose. A similar bill in the U.S. Senate would limit first prescriptions to seven days. The Senate is also considering taxing prescription opioids to help pay for addiction-treatment services, as are lawmakers in Alaska and California.”

Our country is in the midst of an opioid epidemic. Media attention provides much needed awareness and entities like the CDC deliver education on how to identify, combat, and positively impact the growing issue. Where awareness and education fall short, guidelines and laws aimed at reshaping how physicians address pain management will make the biggest long-term impact. Because of all opioid- related deaths, nearly half of them involve a prescription.

Follow our blog to laern more about opioids and the impact of the opioid abuse.

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

Increases in Illicit Drugs, Including Cocaine, Drive Workforce Drug Positivity to Highest Rate in 12 Years

May 16, 2017Drug Testing

The Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™ (DTI) reveals insights into patterns of drug use among the American workforce. It has been published annually for more than 25 years as a public service for government, employers, policymakers, media, and the general public. This year’s report will be presented at the Drug and Alcohol Testing Industry Association […]

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Employers Paying the Price of Substance Abuse

May 9, 2017Drug Testing

Substance abuse in the workplace is increasing. For the past several years, data from the Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™ has shown an increase in drug test positivity in the American workforce. We knew that employee drug use was costly to businesses in turnover, absenteeism, accidents, and insurance. However, the actual cost employers bear for […]

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2017 National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

April 14, 2017News

An ambulance blazes by a sea of idling cars in the midst of evening rush-hour. Weaving through traffic, the EMT’s singular goal is to arrive at the emergency room as quickly as possible. The passenger is a victim of accidental prescription drug poisoning. This scenario plays out daily in cities across the country. In fact, […]

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Winter Storm Stella May Cause Delays

March 14, 2017News

The National Weather service has issued winter storm warnings throughout the northeast, with likely impacts including Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington D.C. In addition, blizzard warnings have also been issued from northeast New Jersey to far southeast New York and southern Connecticut. Be aware that this hazardous storm may impact the logistics and transportation of […]

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Revisions to Federal Workplace Drug Testing

February 10, 2017Drugs & Alcohol

On January 23, 2017, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) revised the Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs. More specifically, the notice expanded federal urine workplace drug testing to include four Schedule II drugs: hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxycodone, and oxymorphone. The effective date for the revised Guidelines is October 1, 2017. […]

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Clarifying the New OSHA Post-Accident Drug Testing Regulations

February 3, 2017Drug Testing

New regulations issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regarding Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illnesses became effective on December 1, 2016. The regulations prohibit employers from retaliating against employees for reporting workplace injuries and illnesses (OSHA 29 CFR 1904). Although drug and alcohol testing was not mentioned in the Final Rule […]

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2017 Random Testing Rate

December 21, 2016News

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced last week that the minimum annual drug testing rate will remain at 25 percent for 2017. Visit the ODAPC website to see a helpful graphic, which outlines the annual minimum drug and alcohol random testing rates established within DOT Agencies and the United States […]

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Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse Aims to Make Roads Safer

December 8, 2016Drug Testing

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced a final rule that “establishes a national drug and alcohol clearinghouse for commercial truck and bus drivers. The clearinghouse database will serve as a central repository containing records of violations of FMCSA’s drug and alcohol testing program by commercial driver’s license (CDL) […]

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