It is not uncommon for Houston company drug testing policies to incorporate the use of random drug testing. Many of these policies will identify the circumstances in which drug tests will be performed as well as other components and conditions. However, it is important for employers to implement the required safeguards to ensure the random drug testing is equipped to identify the intended drugs. One problem employers may face is in the detection of synthetic drugs.
With the growing concern regarding the increased use of synthetic drugs in Houston, it has become very important for companies to have random drug testing as a part of the Drug Free Workplace Program.
The question becomes, 'Is your company including synthetic drug panels in your drug testing program?' All too often I hear, "They won't catch what I'm smokin'," or "Synthetic drugs are safer." Neither statement is true. While synthetic drugs are not in a standard drug testing panel, there are tests that can identify synthetics. Unfortunately, those tests come at an additional cost for the employer. And, the use of synthetic drugs is just as bad (if not worse) than the standard drugs we have all been used to seeing. How do you think this affects your employees, and in turn, your company?
Synthetic drugs, also referred to as designer drugs or bath salts are known to reduce the probability of being exposed in drug tests.
There are many forms of synthetic drugs, however synthetic marijuana, synthetic hallucinogens, and synthetic cocaine are most commonly seen. South Texas Poison Center reported an increase in calls regarding synthetic drugs since 2011. The major concern regarding synthetic drugs are the increased dangers posed as related to common drugs. Because synthetic drugs can result in longer lasting symptoms and higher potency, more fatalities are being reported. In fact, it is said synthetic marijuana is 400 times more potent than THC commonly found in marijuana.
Ever wonder what synthetic drugs are made of? You may be surprised the most common products are sold right in the grocery store cleaning supply aisle. Other questionable products included in synthetic drugs are debated in state legislation daily. Needless to say, as a result of the convenience of these drugs, synthetic drug use has skyrocketed. Drug users are finding these drugs provide an even greater high at a lower cost, but greater risks.
Synthetic Drugs in Houston
A survey of Texas high school juniors found approximately 600 students have used some form of a synthetic drug. In Houston, synthetic drugs have become a major problem.
Dangers of Synthetic Drugs
- Problems in Detection - One of the leading concerns is in the difficulty of detecting synthetic drugs. Typically, synthetic drugs will go undiscovered in commonly used drug tests.
- Stronger Side-Effects - Synthetic drugs can result in enhanced behavioral, psychological, cognitive, and health risks as a result of the chemicals included in these homemade drugs. The chemicals included in these synthetic drugs have been identified as the cause of fatalities within cities around the United States. Deaths in Galveston and cases in Houston have contributed to the ban of such chemicals in Texas.
- Difficulty in Regulating Manufacturers - The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has confronted challenges in regulating distribution and restricting the use of various chemicals. Additional challenges are seen in the tracking and monitoring of sales of synthetic drugs online.
- Easily Accessible - Synthetic drugs are not only conveniently priced, but readily available any time of day. Many teens are able to buy some form of synthetic drug such as Spice at local smoke shops, convenience stores, and online.
The hidden consequences of synthetic drug use can result in unpredictable behavior in a person, often leading violence and even death.
With the widespread of synthetic drugs in the United States, it is important to increase the understanding of the risks of these drugs. Employers can be proactive by including synthetic drugs in their drug testing panel and implementing random drug testing to ensure the organization remains a drug free workplace.
📷: Texas Tribune.com