Interstate Trucking drug test - do they check hair follicles?
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Gotta love self-righteous people who have no problem slammin back alcohol in their downtime and believe someone who has ever smoked pot should be burned at the stake...or at least banned for life from trucking. Wanna tell me the difference between boozin' and smokin' is that boozin' is legal and smokin' isn't? Well guess what my friends? Smoking pot is legal in several states, including that most populated one on the west coast. All you need is a state issued license which only requires a signature from a licensed physician. If you get the state license, smoking pot is as legal as drinking a bottle of vodka. Before I go on, I do understand and agree with DOT regulations regarding pot. I firmly believe that if you want to be a truck driver, you have to say goodbye to pot and all other controlled substances forever.
So here's my situation...I live in Colorado where medical marijuana is legal. I can legally have no more than 2 ounces in my possession. I work in an office for a very large company that only does drug testing on a pre-hire basis. MANY of my coworkers, managers, and even directors smoke weed on a regular basis. Since we all sit behind computers all day, there's no danger to human life. Of course being behind the wheel of a big rig is a totally different ball game.
I quit smoking pot about 3 months ago when my wife and I started seriously thinking about becoming an OTR team. We've both taken home urinalysis tests and passed since they only go back around 30 days. If you haven't smoked pot in the past 30 days, you don't have to worry about it impairing your ability to drive.
Now many companies aren't satisfied with knowing whether you've smoked pot in the past 30 days, they want to know if you've smoked any in the past YEAR! Yes, check my link, body hair samples can show results going back a year...
I realize that it's possible to take stuff to cover up your pot use with urine tests and that it's not possible to do so with hair testing. So I'm totally fine with hair testing because the results are 100% accurate. If you smoke pot at all, it's going to show up in a hair test and there's no way to hide it. I applaud hair testing because of that. But why not just test for the past 30 days? Do you really have to go a year without smokin pot to be able to safely drive a tractor-trailer? Of course not! It's just ridiculous that they really feel a need to check that far back.
Let's say they started testing for alcohol use and the tests came back positive even if you've only had 1 beer in the past year. How many truck drivers would there be?
So I understand why people might ask if a company does hair testing. I think you can understand now too.
I have a buddy that was 3 months clean and did a hair test without a problem. The length of time that THC stays in your system depends on several factors - frequency and quantity of use, amount of body fat on the user (THC is stored in fat tissue), metabolism, etc.. If you're borderline before your test, don't do any strenuous activity. This will disturb your fat cells and the THC will be released into your blood and/or urinary system. Do not waste money on any "detox" product. They don't work. All it will do is dilute your urine and force you to submit more samples until the Specific Gravity of your urine is within the specified range. If you're worried, go buy a home test kit to practice. Another thing to remember is that the hair doesn't necessarily have to come from your head. I had to walk around for a couple weeks with bald patches on my lower legs when I had mine, since I had very short hair on my dome.
Anyway, like I told my friend - if you use drugs, part of the trade-off is that you might not get the job you want. Therefore, you may not have the life you want. The ability to have a good job where you can earn a good living is a precious thing in todays economy.
My best advice is don't start using. If it's too late for that, either quit using and wait long enough to ensure a clean test, or take a job that doesn't test your hair and get used to it.
- Must be at least 22 years of age
- 12 months of recent driving experience in the last 3 years
- A stable work and verifiable work history within the last 3 years
- Must provide valid names, addresses, and phone numbers of previous 10 years of employment history
- Less than three (3) moving violations within the past 3 years
- No DUI / DWI or Reckless driving violations within the last 3 years
- Less than 3 incidents or accidents in the last 3 years
- Felony convictions are reviewed on an individual basis
- Must be able to pass all D.O.T. requirements, N.I.D.A. pre-employment drug screen and hair follicle test
- Successfully demonstrate and pass backing and road skills test
- Must be able to perform all essential functions of the job with or without a reasonable accommodation
If you don't qualify, don't apply, this isn't about which one is better or worse, smoking or not smoking, it's one of the qualifications, you can always apply for a Government Job.
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