In the 1920’s bootleggers made “Bathtub gin” as a homemade solution to the prohibition of alcohol sales at the time. Recently, a drug known as “Spice”, a supposed “synthetic marijuana,” and heroin have become the bathtub gin of today and are bit as bootlegged and even more dangerous. “It’s literally poison,” said Clay Morris, the Assistant Special Agent in Charge for the Drug Enforcement Administration in Alabama.
Synthetic Marijuana, commonly called Spice or K2 along with Heroin have both shown a significant increase in abuse across the country over the past several years. In a recent article on al.com, DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge, Clay Morris was quoted saying Spice and Heroin use was up considerably in Alabama. “In 2010, you couldn’t find heroin in Alabama. In 2012, you could easily find heroin. In 2015, heroin is everywhere,” Morris said. As for spice, officials say hospital emergency rooms in Alabama saw 462 patients with physical and psychological reactions to the drug from March 15 through April 20. Of those, 96 patients were hospitalized and two died.
Today, Heroin and Synthetic Marijuana has made its way into Alabama’s homes, schools, universities as well as the Alabama workplace. “It’s a public health and safety crisis” says Tuscaloosa’s Chief of Police Steven Anderson. More and more Alabama employers are experiencing the effects of heroin use by their workforce; including use while one the job. Employees who use heroin or synthetics in the workplace can be a huge liability for any company large or small. Jason Kimbrell, COO with Employment Screening Services, a background screening company that offers drug testing services located in Birmingham, notes that in response to the recent surge in heroin and synthetic usage it is very important for every employer to re-evaluate their drug policies and determine if there is a concern that these drugs might be impacting their workforce. Kimbrell says that most employers and HR professionals do not realize testing for heroin is very easy and can quickly be included in their current corporate drug testing program as long as the test covered in your policy. He also notes that fortunately, the test for heroin is very inexpensive for businesses and does not require any additional testing time.
On the other hand, most employers do not realize that testing for Synthetic Marijuana is not included on most common drug screen panels, notes Scott Kitchens, VP of Drug and Health Services for ESS. Synthetic Marijuana requires a test performed at specialized laboratories and as a result is typically more expensive than typical drug panels.
Kitchens reminds business owners to regularly review their company drug testing policy in order to make sure they are testing for the most current trends in drug abuse. Kitchens notes that ESS can help businesses establish drug testing procedures and establish a local collection site, depending on your organization’s needs. ESS’ primary drug testing solution is urine collection and analysis, which is the most common type of testing for drug screening. However, ESS does offer additional alternative testing methods as well.