Why do employers test their employees for drug abuse?

Why do employers test their employees for drug abuse?

Alcohol and drug abuse creates significant safety and health hazards and can result in decreased productivity and poor employee morale.

drug abuse

Common reasons employers implement drug testing are to:

  • Deter employees from abusing alcohol and drugs
  • Prevent hiring individuals who use illegal drugs
  • Be able to identify early and appropriately refer employees who have drug and/or alcohol problems
  • Provide a safe workplace for employees
  • Protect the general public and instill consumer confidence that employees are working safely

Drugs of Abuse Testing usually checks for five illicit drugs which are: 

  1. Amphetamines (meth, speed, crank, ecstasy)
  2. THC (cannabinoids, marijuana, hash)
  3. Cocaine (coke, crack)
  4. Opiates (heroin, opium, codeine, morphine)
  5. Phencyclidine (PCP, angel dust)

drugs of abuse

Testing is also available for

  • Barbiturates (phenobarbital, butalbital, secobarbital, downers)
  • Benzodiazepines (tranquilizers like Valium, Librium, Xanax)
  • Methaqualone (Quaaludes)
  • Methadone (often used to treat heroin addiction)
  • Propoxyphene (Darvon compounds)

Testing can also be done for:

  • Hallucinogens (LSD, mushrooms, mescaline, peyote)
  • Inhalants (paint, glue, hairspray)
  • Anabolic steroids (synthesized, muscle-building hormones)
  • Hydrocodone (prescription medication known as Lortab,Vicodin, Oxycodone)
  • MDMA ( commonly known as Ecstasy)

How is the testing done?

The most common method of drug testing is by testing a urine sample. An employee or applicant provides a sample to be tested.  Usually precautions are taken, such as putting blue dye in the toilet and turning off the water supply, to prevent adulteration or substitution of specimens so that collection can be completed in privacy without any direct visual observation by another person.

How long are drugs in one’s system?

Drugs have certain “detection windows”—the amount of time after ingestion during which evidence of their use can be detected by a drug test.

The following are estimates of the length of time that certain drugs are detectable:

1)      Alcohol – 1 oz. for 1.5 hours

2)     Amphetamines – 48 hours

3)     Barbiturates – 2-10 days

4)      Benzodiazepines – 2-3 weeks

5)      Cocaine – 2-10 days

6)      Heroin Metabolite – less than 1 day

7)      Morphine – 2-3 days

8)      LSD – 8 hours

9)      Marijuana – casual use, 3-4 days; chronic use, several weeks

10)      Methamphetamine – 2-3 days

11)      Methadone – 2-3 days

12)      Phencyclidine (PCP) – 1 week

How You Can Prevent Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Get the Facts

Equip yourself with basic information about STDs: How are these diseases spread? How can you protect yourself? What are the treatment options?

Take Control

You have the facts; now protect yourself and your sexual partners.

Effective strategies for reducing STD risk include:


The most reliable way to avoid infection is to not have sex (i.e., anal, vaginal or oral).


Vaccines are safe, effective, and recommended ways to prevent Hepatitis B and HPV.

It is best to get all three doses (shots) before becoming sexually active.

You should also get vaccinated for hepatitis B if you were not vaccinated when you were younger.

Mutual monogamy:

Mutual monogamy means that you agree to be sexually active with only one person, who has agreed to be sexually active only with you. Being in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner is one of the most reliable ways to avoid STDs. But you must both be certain you are not infected with STDs. It is important to have an open and honest conversation with your partner.

Reduced number of sex partners:

Reducing your number of sex partners can decrease your risk for STDs. It is still important that you and your partner get tested, and that you share your test results with one another.


Correct and consistent use of the male latex condom is highly effective in reducing STD transmission. Use a condom every time you have anal, vaginal, or oral sex.

Put Yourself to the Test

Knowing your STD status is a critical step to stopping STD transmission. If you know you are infected you can take steps to protect yourself and your partners.

Many STDs can be easily diagnosed and treated. If either you or your partner is infected, both of you need to receive treatment at the same time to avoid getting re-infected.

Tips about Anaemia

1. Did you know you can test if you may have anemia at home. Pull your bottom eyelid to see what it looks like underneath. If it’s bright red, you’re not anemic. If it’s paler or white, you should consult your doctor.
2. Avoid nutritional anemia by eating foods that are high in iron daily.
3. Although anemia can occur at any age and for both genders, young children and pre-menopausal women have the greatest risk. Post-menopausal women and adult and adolescent men have the lowest risk.
4. Pregnancy increases a woman’s chances of becoming anemic because the demands placed on her body increase her need for folic acid and iron. Fluid retention may also dilute the red blood cell count. Pregnant women should always supplement their diet with diet prescribed vitamins and supplements.
5. Chronic or serious conditions that cause bleeding or swelling increase the risk for anemia.

Diagnosis of malaria — everything you should know


With a significant rise in the number of people suffering from malaria, it is one of the major health concerns in India. Most people tend to ignore the early signs of malaria, which can lead to severe health complications or even death if not treated in time. While getting tested and treated for malaria is the next step, here are a few things you should know about tests for malaria.

When should you get tested for malaria?

Dr Vineet Banga, MD pathology, specialist at government of NCT of Delhi says, ‘Most people, at the initial stage, experience flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, headache, nausea, sweat, malaise (weakness and discomfort), muscle aches and vomiting. If you are not well and have any of the these symptoms, get tested for malaria without delay.’ Here are 11 complications of malaria you should know.

If you experience flu-like symptoms that have not subsided in 2-3 days, Dr Abha Shroff, chief pathologist and director at Disha Pathology Labs, Mumbai suggests visiting a doctor as you could be at risk of suffering from malaria. See a doctor if –

  • You reside in an area where several cases of malaria have been reported in the past few days.
  • You are exposed to mosquitoes.

Diagnosis of malaria – How is it done?

PCR (Polymerase chain reaction) and antibody tests are also known to detect malaria but are not commonly preferred as they are expensive. The parasite is readily detected by blood smears and antigen tests — the commonly used tests to detect malaria.

#1 Peripheral smear for malaria parasite

Also known as blood smear, a thick and thin smear is made from a drop of blood. The smear is stained and observed under a microscope for malaria parasite.

Significance of the test: The presence of Plasmodium in blood confirms the diagnosis of malaria and also differentiates between the four common types of parasite – Plasmodium vivax, Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium ovale and Plasmodium malariae. It is important to distinguish between these types since the treatment for each could vary. Read: How is malaria treated?

When to do the test: According to Dr Banga, this test should be done when the patient is experiencing chills and fever.

Cost of the test: The approximate cost of this test is Rs. 150.

Availability of reports: The reports of this test can be availed on the same day of testing.

#2 Rapid malaria antigen testing

This test requires around 2 ml of blood sample, which is put on a testing strip to diagnose malaria. This test detects malaria antigens (proteins) in the blood sample. The occurrence of a band on the strip indicates a positive result.

Significance of the test: ‘Some rapid tests may detect all four common species (P. falciparum, P. vivax, P. ovale and P. malariae) but may not distinguish between them. Hence, it is recommended that a positive result of this test be supplemented with blood smear test to confirm and determine the presence of the parasite,’ explains Dr Abha Shroff. Did you know these top 5 promising researches in malaria treatment, prevention and control?

When to do the test: The test does not require any prerequisite conditions like empty stomach or presence of high fever. It can be done at any time of the day or according to your doctor’s recommendation.

Cost of the test: Cost of the rapid malaria test ranges from Rs 350 – Rs 500.

Availability of reports: The reports of this test can be availed on the same day of testing.

What you should know about the tests?

Dr Abha sheds light on few important things you should keep in the mind when getting tested for malaria

  • The malaria parasite can be detected at any time of the day, there is no need to fast before getting tested for malaria.
  • It is preferable to draw a blood sample when the fever is rising to reduce the chances of false negative results.
  • If the first blood test for malaria does not show the presence of malaria parasites and the doctor suspects malaria, the test can be repeated every 8 to 12 hours or whenever the patient is experiencing high fever.

Note: If you’re already on medication for malaria, the test may give a negative result. Here are 10 natural ways to keep your home mosquito-free.

Are there any additional tests your doctor may recommend?

In some cases, the doctor might recommend G6PD (glucose-6-phosphate) test. This test is used to determine the deficiency of G6PD, an enzyme. As premaquin, a medication used to treat malaria, can lead to hemolysis (breaking of blood cells), people with G6PD deficiency should not take this medication. In such cases, doxycycline is recommended. Hence, getting tested for G6PD helps in the treatment of malaria. Read about 5 ways to save your baby from mosquito bites.

Diagnosis of Swine flu – what you should know about the deadly H1N1 virus

Swine flu has already claimed so many lives across the nation and the toll is rising. Although precautionary measures to tackle swine flu have been employed by the Government, it is up to the patients to follow them properly and get tested, if they experience symptoms of this disease caused by H1N1 influenza A virus. The diagnosis of swine flu is usually based on the symptoms and the clinical history of the person.

Dr Abha Shroff, chief pathologist and director at Disha Pathology Labs, Mumbai explains, ‘As swine flu is a viral infection of the respiratory system and characterized by flu-like symptoms, a throat swab is one of the most effective ways to detect the virus. Other tests that are done include mucus test and blood test.’ However here are few things you need to know about diagnosis of swine flu:

  • There is no need to prepare for the test such as fasting before getting test. However, do not use mouthwash before going for the test as it may cleanse the microbial load present in the throat region.
  • If symptoms such as fever, cough or body pain do not subside within 2 – 3 days, then you should visit your doctor. Based on your symptoms and the severity of the infection, he/she may recommend tests or start with treatment for flu. Here are swine flu symptoms and signs you MUST be aware of!
  • As it takes around one day’s time for the symptoms to be seen after infection with the virus, it should be noted that those who are infected are contagious from a day prior to the sickness and around 5-7 days after the infection subsides.
  • Children, pregnant women and those suffering from life-threatening diseases and having low immunity are at an increased risk of infection and hence, if they experience any flu-like symptoms they should get tested to prevent spread of the infection.

Your doctor might conduct physical examination such as checking your body temperature and infection of the mouth, prior to ordering lab tests to detect swine flu. The common laboratory tests that are done to diagnose swine flu include:

Throat swab – DrPrakash Jiandani, director of critical care unit, Wockhardt Hospital, South Mumbai
mentions that,

‘This is done to identify the cause of the throat infection or respiratory infection. Your doctor will take a sample by rubbing sterile cotton swab at the back of your throat (namely near the tonsils). In some case, scrapping the area with the swab several times is done as it increases the chances of detection of the microbes.’

Mucus test – It involves analysis or testing of the nasal secretions (nasopharyngeal fluid) to detect the virus. The viral culture or sample is taken from the patient’s nose or mucus secretion around 4 – 5 days after being infection. This is because, the virus spreads easily during this stage and hence, the chance of infection is high. Read about is swine flu curable?

Blood test – As viral infections normally do not cause any changes in the routine blood test, a complete blood test (CBC) is also recommended. With the help of blood test, bacterial infection leading to flu-like symptoms may be ruled out.

Chest X-ray – This test might be recommended to detect the severity of the lung infection caused due to viral infection. This is usually prescribed for patients severely affected by swine flu and not every person suffering from this disease needs to undergo this test.

Urine test – Although urine test is not a mandatory test to detect swine flu, it is done in some cases to rule out urinary tract infections and related health complications.
These are common tests that are done to diagnose swine flu, however your doctor might recommended other tests as well to rule out other diseases. Even if the tests are positive, there is no need to panic as medications are available to get treated. Here is everything you should know about swine flu treatment and medicines — Tamiflu, Relenza and more.

What is thyroid?

A. A thyroid is a gland at the base of the neck. This important part of your body produces hormones that regulate blood pressure, body temperature, heart rate and weight.

Q. What are potential thyroid problems?

A. There are four main thyroid afflictions: hyperthyroidismhypothyroidismthyroid cancer and thyroid nodules.

  • Hyperthyroidism is the case of an overactive thyroid.
  • Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid is underactive.
  • Thyroid cancer refers to a malignancy in the cells of the thyroid.
  • Thyroid nodules are growths on the thyroid.

While all of these conditions can be serious, each has its own symptoms and distinctions.

Q. What are the symptoms of thyroid problems? How are they treated?

A. As stated before, each thyroid problem has its own nuances. Here are common symptoms to look for with each condition:

  • Hyperthyroidism. Weight loss, rapid heartbeat, anxiety, fatigue, trouble sleeping, tremors and sweating.
  • Hypothyroidism. Thinning hair, weight gain, fatigue, muscle weakness, joint pain, depression and impaired memory.
  • Thyroid cancer. A lump on your neck, difficulty swallowing, swollen lymph nodes and changes in your voice.
  • Thyroid nodules. In many cases, nodules don’t produce symptoms. In other cases, nodules become large enough that you can see and/or feel them. Some nodules are cancerous, although most are benign.

Contact your health care team if you experience these symptoms or have other concerns about potential thyroid health.


Treatment options for these conditions include:

  • Hyperthyroidism. Multiple treatments are available for hyperthyroidism. Treatments include radioactive iodine, anti-thyroid medications, beta blockers or surgery. It’s important to discuss options with your health care provider to determine what’s best for you.
  • Hypothyroidism. The most common treatment for hypothyroidism is an oral medication called synthetic thyroid hormone levothyroxine.  After taking this medication, people see improvements with fatigue and even weight management. Finding the right dosage is key, as all patients require different care plans.
  • Thyroid cancer. Treatment for thyroid cancer is dependent on the type, size and stage of the tumor. Options include surgery — which may consist of partial or complete removal of the thyroid — radioactive iodine, external radiation therapy, chemotherapy or targeted drug therapy.
  • Thyroid nodules. There are a few options for treating noncancerous nodules. Watch and wait, conduct surgery for large benign nodules or use thyroid suppression therapy.

The thyroid is so important to your well-being. It’s a gland that regulates vital functions of your body and influences not only your health, but the quality of your life. So if there’s an issue, the faster it’s addressed, the better you’ll feel.

Contact your doctor if you have concerns about your thyroid.


Source: http://mayoclinichealthsystem.org

Questions on Health

1. Question

When a mosquito bites me, I get big, coin-sized welts. Is this normal?


A “normal” reaction to a mosquito bite can vary. Some people will have only a small area of redness, swelling and itching that typically goes away within 24 hours. Others may have a larger area of itching — sometimes the size of a grapefruit in highly sensitive individuals — that can last for several days.

Rarely, an individual may have a serious reaction to mosquito bites, which results in swelling in the throat, hives and wheezing. This life-threatening condition (anaphylaxis) requires immediate medical attention.

If you’re sensitive to mosquito bites, the best advice is to avoid getting bitten. Follow these common-sense precautions:

  •  Avoid areas, such as wet slushy areas, where mosquito activity is highest.
  •  Avoid going outside when mosquitoes are most active, such as at dusk and dawn and after rain.
  •  Wear protective clothing when outside.
  •  Use insect repellent.

To relieve the itching of a bite, apply a lotion containing calamine. If you have a large local reaction, consider taking an over-the-counter anti-allergic tablet/syrup to see if it helps. Consult your doctor if you’re concerned about the severity of your reaction.

2. Peanut allergy: Can a child outgrow it?


Can a child outgrow a peanut allergy?


Yes. About 20 percent to 25 percent of children with peanut allergy will outgrow it. But there is a small risk it will return. Peanut allergy affects 1 percent to 2 percent of young children and is the most common cause of anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction.

It’s difficult to predict which children will outgrow peanut allergy. Some research suggests that children with lower levels of peanut allergy-specific antibodies (IgE) may be more likely to outgrow peanut allergy than children with higher levels of these antibodies. IgE is measured by a blood test.

Even when a child appears to outgrow peanut allergy, there is a small risk it will recur.

3. Blood sugar and mood: Any connection?


My 15-year-old son has diabetes. When his blood sugar is low, he seems depressed. When his blood sugar is high, he’s often agitated and short-tempered. Is there any connection between blood sugar level and mood?


Fluctuations in blood sugar levels can be associated with changes in mood. However, this typically occurs only with extremely high or low blood sugar levels.

It’s important to remember that many factors can contribute to mood changes in people who have diabetes. It can take time to adjust emotionally to a diabetes diagnosis, as well as the need to manage the disease. This adjustment can be especially challenging during adolescence.

Check and record his blood sugar level consistently — and specifically when you notice a mood change. If your son’s mood swings occur often or become a persistent problem, consult his doctor. The information in your son’s blood sugar record may help the doctor make adjustments to your son’s diabetes treatment plan, if needed.

4.  Body shape: Does it increase your risk of diabetes?


I know that obesity is a risk factor for diabetes. But I’ve been told that body shape also plays a role. Is this true?


Yes, it’s true. People who carry most of their excess weight around their waist (often called “apples”) are at greater risk of diabetes than are those who carry most of their excess weight below their waist (often called “pears”).

The more fatty tissue you have, the more resistant your body’s cells become to the effects of your own insulin. But this appears especially true if your weight is concentrated around your abdomen.

To determine whether you’re carrying too much weight around your abdomen, measure the circumference of your waist at its smallest point, usually at the level of your navel. Using a flexible, cloth-like tape measure is best. A measurement of more than 40 inches in men and more than 35 inches in women indicates increased health risks.

The good news is that you can lower your risk of diabetes by achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.