February 3, 2011
More workers using opiates at work than we thought
A recent study by Quest Diagnostics shows that more workers (including those in safety-sensitive positions) are using heroin or prescribed opiates on the job than was thought previously. Before we panic too much, the incidence rate is still pretty low at .04% of workers who test positive for heroin. However, post-accident tests are four times more likely to show opiate use than is pre-employment testing, which suggests it might be difficult to prevent such accidents by pre-employment testing alone.
The rise is due in part to a better testing method, but may also be due to more employees self-medicating to deal with stress. For more see this Fortune story, which also discusses confidentiality and Employee Assistance Programs.
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I saw a story a few months ago about a woman who went through a nightmare with her newborn when she tested positive for heroin shortly after giving birth.
Turns out, she had eaten a poppy-seed bagel the day before giving birth.
I wonder if this possibility was controlled for in this data.
Posted by: James Young | Feb 3, 2011 5:48:06 PM