Is the Marijuana Test Obsolete

I attended this CADCA session presented by Jo McGuire, who is the Executive Director of the National Drug & Alcohol Screening Association. Even having been in prevention for almost eight years I learned so much! There were many points which will speak to your business partners and help get them on board with substance use prevention. Take these points, for instance:

  •       Substance abusers are five times more likely to file a worker’s compensation claim
  •       Roughly 35% of the industrial injuries that take place in the U.S. involve drugs or alcohol
  •       Substance abusers are 33% less productive on the job
  •       Absenteeism among substance abusers is significantly higher
  •       Substance abusers file a higher number of medical claims than their counterparts
  •       Substance abusers are responsible for 40% of all industrial fatalities

Couple all these facts with the cost to small business of approximately $7000 a month in lost revenue (some research shows it’s 2-3 times as much), and you can turn some heads at your next coalition meeting.

For information specifically on marijuana use, there have been 55% more industrial accidents, 85% more injuries and 75% more absenteeism because of employee marijuana use.  In a survey done in 2018 of 600 employees, 48% said they have gone to work high in the past 30 days. In the graph below, those were numbers after legalization, but before marijuana retail shops in Colorado and Washington even opened.

We know that marijuana use increases accidents and injuries, but also slows response time, can cause memory retention problems, and reduces the ability to multi-task, problem-solve, reason, handle stress, as well as causes time and distance tracking problems.

These are real numbers that will speak to small business owners. These folks are constantly looking at ways to increase productivity, reduce injuries, and reduce absenteeism. They know those issues cost them money.

Another part of Jo’s presentation focused on CBD oil. In a recent study of CBD products, it found many are fraudulent. Of the over 600 samples tested in Colorado, most were THC-rich with no CBD. Those containing CBD had on average 0.1%.  Employers need to know, so they can let their employees know, that THC is cumulative and does build-up in the body’s system, even small amounts that come from hemp-based products. At this time, use of any over-the-counter CBD-based products may eventually yield a positive drug test result for THC.

After all this information, she strongly recommends drug testing, having tight drug policies on the job, random testing, and recurring education on the policies that are meant to keep workers healthy and safe. 

Her presentation, as well as all the other CADCA sessions, will be available until September 1. I highly recommend you watch the recording. It was Wednesday afternoon.

The more information we have to share with all our partners, and sometimes business partners are a hard nut to crack, the easier we’ll find it to join our forces.


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