President Barack Obama clarified his stance on the United States’ War on Drugs and drug abuse prevention in a recent YouTube program. In it the President explained he does not favor legalization, but does think the problem should be looked at from a different perspective. In the past, the focus was on the supply side of the equation. Now, however, Obama stated that he feels the issue of drug addiction should be dealt with as a public health problem.
Although his stance emphasizes less resources being put into law enforcement for drug abuse prevention, Obama was clear that drug trafficking is an issue that will need to be handled with force. “We have to go after drug cartels that not only are selling drugs, but are creating havoc, for example, along the U.S.-Mexican border,” the president explained.
Drug abuse should be addressed in the workplace. Contact Working Partners to learn more about drug abuse prevention.
According to research completed at Brigham Young University, kids of parents who provide either too strict or too lenient of an environment are more likely to engage in binge drinking.
The study surveyed 5,000 children in seventh to twelfth grade. They were asked questions regarding their drinking habits, the frequency of communication with parents, and the style of parenting they perceived their parents as having. The results showed that “indulgent” parents, who gave praise to their children without monitoring problematic behavior, had children who were three times as likely to engage in binge drinking than those not deemed indulgent. However, parents who swung to the other extreme and were strict didn’t fare much better. Their children were two times more likely to binge drink.
Study author Stephen Bahr, professor of sociology at BYU, explains the disconnect with kids raised by strict parents: “Kids in that environment tend not to internalize the values and understand why they shouldn’t drink.”
In short, researchers believe that, once again, moderation is key. The parenting style that led to the lowest rate of binge drinking in children was a balance between accountability and support.
Binge drinking can cause problems in the workplace. Learn how to sustain an alcohol free workplace with Working Partners.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) discovered that one-third of drivers killed on the nation’s roads and highways in 2009 had drugs in their system, and this startling statistic does not include alcohol testing results. This indicates a 5 percent increase since 2005. The tests were run for illegal drugs as well as prescription and over-the-counter varieties. Marijuana was the most prevalent of all the substances, found at a rate of 28 percent.
Perhaps the most alarming fact is that the NHTSA study did not include alcohol testing results. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), on the other hand, has been able to put an estimate on the total amount of drivers who were under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs at 30 million last year. This equates to about 13.2 percent of people over the age of 16. Of this 30 million, it is estimated that 10.1 million drove with drugs in their system.
Employers should be aware of these statistics and utilize alcohol testing for employees to avoid problems in the workplace. Contact Working Partners to learn the elements of a drug-free workplace program.
Researchers estimate 36 million Americans have used an unlicensed pharmacy to buy drugs over the net, proving the importance of drug free education. Google, Visa and PayPal are joining the United States government’s efforts to decrease this activity. The companies are assisting by shutting down websites and blocking payments of sites suspected of illegal behavior and will sponsor public awareness campaigns aimed at educating the public about the issue.
The Partnership at Drugfree.org and the Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies will head up research aimed at uncovering what is behind the quantity of purchases, the kinds of drugs being purchased, and the wide range of risk perception associated with these actions.
Educating your employees on the benefits of living drug free is important for your workplace. Contact Working Partners to learn more about drug free education resources and materials.
Initial results for a cocaine vaccine appear promising but may cause companies to alter their substance abuse screening policies in the future. The vaccine, which consists of a dormant cold virus and a chemical that imitates cocaine, is being developed by researchers at Weil Cornell Medical College. It was first tested in mice. The group receiving the vaccine showed no reaction to cocaine, while the unvaccinated group showed signs of irritability and hyperactivity. Researchers are hopeful that clinical testing can begin on humans in the next two years.
There is also optimism that the vaccine, which prevents cocaine from passing through the brain and bloodstream, can eventually be adapted for other drugs. Unfortunately, some addiction experts caution that this wouldn’t simply cause addicts to become “clean;” rather, it would possibly drive them to try other drugs. Companies may have to update their substance abuse screening policies to test for alternatives to cocaine that weren’t previously an issue.
Learn more about developing substance abuse screening policies in your company.
An employee drug testing policy is important because binge drinking can affect work performance. A study by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) titled “Binge Drinking – United States, 2009” outlines some of the disproportions seen in adult binge drinkers. The research from the study indicates that:
- Over 15 percent of Americans binge drink at least once a month. The average number of episodes is four per month.
- Among this group of binge drinkers, men averaged nine drinks per episode, while women averaged six. Both are well beyond guidelines that define the behavior as a risk.
- Higher-educated and better-earning households are more likely to report binge drinking. However, those reporting incomes under $15,000 and individuals without a high school diploma tallied the highest average number of episodes, with five per month.
- Among racial/ethnic groups, the highest average of drinks per episode (eight) is found among American Indians and Alaska Natives.
The study’s lead author, Dafna Kanny, PhD, feels the research supports that binge drinking affects people from all walks of life. She shares, “… the issue really affects everyone. It’s a lifespan of behavior, a phenomenon, unfortunately, that we’re trying to bring attention to.”
Employees who abuse alcohol are often excessively tardy and absent from work. Companies may also have to deal with less productivity from these employees and an increase in theft. Learn more about creating an employee drug testing policy that will work for your company.
The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) has issued a warning about a bath salt drug sold in paraphernalia stores and gas stations. The bath salts are made of legal substances such as 3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone and mephedrone. Though legal, they are said to produce effects similar to cocaine, ecstasy and methamphetamines. The salts have fallen through a crack – not approved for human consumption by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) but not banned by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
Some of the bath salt drug brand names include Ivory Wave, Red Dove, Bliss, and Vanilla Sky. The chemicals in these salts can lead to hallucinations, paranoia, rapid and irregular heartbeat, and suicidal thoughts.
Employers should be aware of bath salt drug abuse because employees can easily gain access to these drugs. Practicing good drug awareness is essential to find out which drugs employees may be using. Contact Working Partners to learn more about employee education and supervisor training classes to build drug awareness in your company.
Low-cost drinks combining caffeine and alcohol have been the rage on college campuses recently. However, in the wake of incidents where students have been rushed to the hospital, universities across the country are banning these drinks. Alcohol testing has shown that mixing caffeine and alcohol is a potentially deadly combination.
New Jersey’s Ramapo College prohibited these drinks after a rash of problems with its students, while Boston College, Boston University, Harvard and Northeastern have all issued advisories to students about alcohol safety and the dangers of mixing alcohol and caffeine. Boston University cautioned students that “alcohol companies are targeting college students with these products without regard for [students’] safety.”
Federal entities appear to be taking notice of the troubles brewing on campuses. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that mixing alcohol and energy drinks increases the risk of binge drinking 300 percent. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sent a warning letter to seven manufacturers of these drinks. Makers of four of these beverages have ceased manufacturing or shipping their products while the drinks are under review by the FDA. United Brands, Charge Beverages Corporation and New Century Brewing have all quit selling their products. Phusion Projects, maker of Four Loko, will continue to do business but has agreed to stop including caffeine and other energy additives in its products.
Four Loko is by far the most popular among this group. At a cost of only $3 for a 23 ounce can, the fruity-flavored drink contains as much alcohol as four beers. The brand came under fire after nine underage drinkers at Central Washington University were hospitalized after alcohol testing showed that they consumed too much of the concoction.
In Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina, a program is already in place to take care of the remaining products on shelves and in warehouses. The liquids will be recycled into ethanol to create fuel, and the cans will be sent for metal recycling.
These caffeinated alcoholic drinks can create problems in the workplace as well. To learn more about a drug-free program and alcohol testing for your company, please contact us.