I like peeing in a cup purely for the fact if they're going to make me do something disgusting at least they have to do something equally as disgusting in handling it. Nothing feels worse in your hand than a warm cup of pee.
Trucking company's that do hair folicle testing?
Page 3 of 6
Most drugs get out of your system in a fairly quick fashion through urine. It is my understanding that with hair, some chemicals adhere to the follicles so when it is tested the lab can tell if you have had certain drugs within a certain time frame. I think that THC is one of the chemicals that will show up in hair analysis. THC is in Marijuana.
1. Are the active or metabolic compounds of the drug water soluble, or fat soluble.
2. What is the dosage of the drug.
3. What is the length of time one has been using the drug.
The majority of prohibited drugs will be clear of one's system within 2 weeks of the discontinuance of usage. Some will be clear the system within 3 to 5 days. Others, like THC (pot), can be detected by urine testing for up to 3-4 months (or longer) after stopping use, depending on which testing methadology is used to process the sample.
The testing procedure must be done in a specific protocol for the collection, handling, and the reporting of results from a specimen, as defined by the FMCSR and the federal labor departments. However, the employer can choose to have the laboratory, which is testing the specimen, employ testing methods on the specimen itself which are far more 'sensitive' than some other testing methods. All the feds require is that the testing method must meet the minimum federal standards for finding illicit substances in the specimen, but the employer can exceed those minimum standards if he so chooses.
A test with a higher 'sensitivity' will more easily detect drug usage that goes further back in a person's history. In other words, such testing would detect a drug which was stopped by someone 14 days before the test, where in a test with less 'sensitivity' it would not have been detected if the drug were discontinued 5 days before the test.
THC (pot) is hard to hide because of its tendency to store itself in fat and because marijuana use has usually been going on for a while.
Someone asked "What happens if pot is legalized?". The answer is this; it will still be illegal for the driver to use. Just as there are currently drugs which are legal to use (most often via a prescription), but which are prohibited for the truck driver, so the case would be if ever pot is legalized. Right now, it matters not if one resides in a state which has, or will, legalized marijuana. The FMCSR are FEDERAL regulations which supercede all STATE regulations. The FMCSR determines what drugs drivers are allowed to take.
The issue of legalized marijuana and employment testing also has several federal and state court precedents. Basically, private, state, and federal employers have wide latitude in determining whether or not to allow an employee to work who has a history of a specific drug usage. The employer is allowed to determine whether or not a specific drug, legal or not, poses an employer-defined risk in the workplace.
Also, please keep in mind that the FMCSR will not accept, as excuses for a positive drug test, that one has eaten poppy seeds, or that one has been accidentally exposed to second-hand marijuana smoke.
I don't forsee a future where truckers will be allowed to legally use marijuana.
I believe you are right on most counts, bbqguy. But if legalized (fat chance), then pot would be not be under perscription category (if generally legalized and not the curren medical marijuana thing) that you suggest in your scenario, but similar to alchohol. It would just have those kind of restrictions on sale, taxes, and such. If that is the case, true, a driver with a level of alchohol in his system is in deep shinola, but at what level would the pot smoker get dinged? Theoretically, a person could do a "doobie" on his off time, say Friday, and then get picked up on Tuesday for drug scan and show positive, yet he is in no way "under the influence".
I am not really one to advocate the lawyers out there, but this scenario would be really fun to watch play out in the courts. The Libertarian in me would love to see pot legalized just to watch the fun that would go on regarding law suits and stuff. If it is legal for a driver to drink on his off time, you can bet that a truckload of lawyers will be out there ready to pounce on the opportunity to show that legal marijuana should be allowed just as alchohol is.
Isn't it darn right fun to watch the insanity of all this? Pot was totally legal until the 20's, when alchohol was also criminalized. Alchohol came off the criminalized list, but pot had to stay. In my experience, I would lot rather deal with a pot smoker than a drunk. I do not want to see anyone high or drunk in a vehicle, and drunk driving laws should also apply to using pot. But, when one is not under the influence, they should be left alone. And it will really be hard for even the government to win a law suit saying that a legal substance cannot be used by a driver during his/her off time. What you mentioned are prescription drugs, which are controlled substances unlike alchohol. Legalized marijuana would fall under the same regulations as alchohol.Panhandle flash Thanks this.
Let me underscore a point I made above. Yes, I did talk about prescription meds and marijuana as one aspect of the issue. But as I stated, both the federal government and private employers can require abstinence from BOTH prescription and non-prescription substances. The substance DOES NOT even have to have any relationship to impairment. Employers prohibiting any tobacco use by employees is one example of this.
The comparison of alcohol and marijuana may seem reasonable, but they are two different substances with differing physiological effects. As such, each substance needs to be judged individually as a risk to both safety and productivity. Alcohol has a far more predictive degradation rate in the system than does marijuana. In addition, testing can, and is, done for alcohol impairment, even when such impairment may not be apparent. Testing is done based on any criteria the employer wishes to use. And don't forget that the federal DOT (in charge of the FMCSR as well as ALL transportation related issues using any mode of travel) DOES require minimum waiting periods, after alcohol is imbibed, for drivers, airline pilots, railroad engineers, bus drivers, etc.
Marijuana has two major issues going against it, which cannot be easily solved:
1. Even when regulated (as with medical marijuana growers), the dosages of THC are variable within each plant, and within each species of plant. The individual uptake of the THC is variable from user to user. There is also evidence, in both directions, which indicates that regular THC use can have longer term residual performance degradation, beyond the initial use, which is not predictable. These issues are even observed with THC given in 'pill' form, such as Marinol, where one would expect dosage values to be highly controlled.
2. Liability and risk issues are what regulate a company's business model with regard to insurance categories and federal safety (CSA 2010, for example). Companies which require their employees to abstain from tobacco use (and yes, these companies can and do test for tobacco use) do so for the issues of peformance (time taken for smoking breaks, increased sick time, etc) and health. There would be increased liability and risk issues to a company from the brand-new addition of marijuana impairement by out-of-compliance drivers. Combine that with drivers who might be out-of-compliance for alcohol impairment and it is pretty self-expalnatory when it comes to defining increased costs to a company.
Companies would also be faced with increase costs for health insurance, which would need to add drug treatment for marijuana in addition to existing alcohol treatment. Insurance risks are determined using several models:
Insurance risk factor profiling
Insurance predictive modeling
insurance risk modeling
Insurance risk-level classification
Throwing in a whole new substance, which can be abused and put a company at risk for liabilities incurred by out-of-compliance drivers, is a pretty major issue.
Many have attempted to rationalize an employee's use of marijuana by comparing it to alcohol. However, one must remember two things:
1. Presupposing a legal right to use one intoxicating substance as an employee during time-off, on the basis that another potentially intoxicating substance is allowed by employees during there time-off, is a non-starter in the courts. There is no right to use an intoxicating substance, therefore there is no right which requires an employer to not discriminate against users of a substance.
One might imagine that legal lawsuits would be forthcoming if legal marijuana is prohibited, but alcohol use is allowed. However, they would find that the courts have already set precedence in such issues and that such a lawsuit would be summarily dismissed at the initial hearing. Now, a lawsuit would be successful if the issue were caucasian employees being allowed to use marijuana, but asian or black employees are not. But there is no footing to challenge a policy by an employer which prohibits ALL employees from using pot.
2. Let's imagine the unlikely; let's say that the courts would rule that employers cannot prohibit employees from smoking pot IF they allow alcohol use. So, how might the companies react? Due to the temperament surrounding safety on the road for professional drivers, it is far more likely that trucking companies would began to ban ANY alcohol use by employees, rather than to allow marijuana use.
I seldom find convincing those arguments which would legitimize one behavior simply because a different behavior is allowed. Different things are seldom on the same equivalent footing. The alcohol vs marijuana argument is one of those very things.
As bbqguy stated, insurance will really be the determining factor when it comes to how it will be handled in the workplace if legalized. Insurance really is the only reason we have to take a drug test for any job in the first place. The more drug tests you give, generally the lower insurance the company pays.
This is why people are using hair tests more. Sure the initial costs are more but the savings in insurance most likely make up for it in the end.
I've seen a few rational debates on how marijuana and the workplace could coincide. The biggest problem is there really is no way to discern between somebody being stoned at the current moment or if it's still in their system from non-working time. A lot of people want to see a computer test that will basically test your functioning ability. I can't remember the word they used for it, basically a "brain agility" test is the best way to put it.
I don't think insurance will care either way. The more substances that they're allowed to screen for, the more opportunity they get to say we're not liable due to X substance being in your body.
Page 3 of 6