Test time: The price of drug use


Marijuana is legal now and 17-year-old Tommy sees nothing wrong with his continued use. Yet, when Tommy is suspended from school for marijuana use, his parents put the foot down, stressing the need to stop and avoid destroying his future. What Tommy may not realize, is that his continued use could build into dependency and ruin any chance he has at a future job.

The one test you do not want to fail

Drug testing may be required before employment or during and is a nuisance for some but a hurdle for others who are actively using substances. Whatever the motivation is for the substance use, drug tests are an age-old screening tool in the workplace.

The necessity for drug screening in companies is still high, as, “The positivity rate for 7.6 million urine drug tests in the combined U.S. workforce increased … in 2013,” according to The Quest Diagnostic Drug Testing Index.

The increase in positive results with the drug tests in the workplace concerns Barry Sample, Ph.D., director of science and technology at Quest Diagnostics Employer Solutions. “This increase indicates that employers should be aware of the potential for drug use by their workers and the risk that represents for the health and safety of their employees and the public.”

Those using nonprescribed drugs during work, even if the drug is legal in the state, should be aware that an employer has a right to prevent drug use in the workplace.

The effects of substance use can damage more than just the individual or one’s work productivity, which is why employers are not the only ones who have implemented drug testing on suspected individuals.

Drug testing in schools

The National Institute on Drug Abuse, or NIDA, describes the motivation behind drug testing in schools. “Using drugs not only interferes with a student’s ability to learn, but it can also disrupt the teaching environment, affecting other students as well.”

These tests are not an opportunity to get students in trouble, rather to, “Identify teens who have started using drugs and would be good targets for early intervention,” referring them to treatment.

For a teenager or young adult fresh out of school and searching for a job, illicit drug use can be the factor destroying opportunities. In the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health it was found 67 percent of the 21 million illicit drug users aged 18 or older were employed – at least for the time being – part of full time.

For teenage boys who find substance use has become a dominating factor of their life, a treatment program is the best option. White River Academy is a boarding school for troubled boys from ages 12 to 17, struggling with issues at school and interpersonal problems. The academy provides treatment and care for the boys through disciplined guidance, continues a strong education program and instills character values with service projects promoting positive growth.

Written by Nick Adams.

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