The world faces another battle with the biggest casualties of the Coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic happening right here in the United States. According to the report by the Center for Disease Control as of April 14, 2020, the total cases of COVID-19 positive patients in the country have now reached 632, 548 (632,220 confirmed; 348 probable) with the total deaths reaching 31,071 (26,930 confirmed; 4,141 probable).
Amidst the threat of this pandemic to the lives of Americans, the nation now must contend with another problem – substance abuse. These are indeed traumatic and uncertain times that we face. Many studies have shown that during national crises, substance levels increase. Research by the National Institute of Drug Abuse showed that in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of 9-11, people across the country were struggling with the emotional impact of large-scale damage and loss of life, which made it very stressful and difficult for people who were vulnerable to substance abuse as well as those recovering from addiction. Stress is considered one of the biggest triggers for relapse and during that time post 9-11, there were reported increases in sales of drugs on the streets.
Another cause of stress that leads individuals to turn to drugs as a coping mechanism is economic recession and resulting unemployment. In a study found in the International Journal of Drug Policy, the researchers stated that economic recessions influence increased drug use due to psychological distress from losing jobs and income. In fact, ABC News released an article that indicated that health officials fear the extended isolation from stay-home quarantine of the COVID-19 pandemic could cause a potential spike in drug overdose-related deaths. Even those who still have jobs and are working in industries and occupations that have been deemed ‘essential’ are facing the dangers and risk every single day of contracting the virus. They are also vulnerable to possible drug abuse in order to cope with this daily stress.
So how do companies and employers contend with this very real problem of having their employees fall victim to substance abuse? Do they implement strict drug testing? While it is essential and a smart business decision, it seems very complicated and even insensitive under the current situation. While making sure that the company complies with federal and state drug testing requirements, employers also need to reevaluate their regulatory and compliance programs and policies. Edge Information Management provides drug testing programs designed to meet all regulatory agency requirements. They have been certified by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SMHSA) to perform screening and confirmatory tests that help employers maintain a drug-free workplace including Urine Tests, Oral Fluids, Hair Test, Breath Alcohol Test, DOT Testing and more with thousands of convenient collection sites nationwide.
For more information regarding workplace drug testing procedures and capabilities, please contact Edge Information Management at 800-725-3343.