Archive for the ‘DRUG AND ALCOHOL NEWS’ Category

Compliance Corner: The Facts about a Serious Marine Incident – Part 2

Monday, June 6th, 2016

Basic Requirements SMI Drug Testing

Drug testing must be completed within 32 hours following a serious marine incident; if the drug test specimens cannot be collected within 32 hours, vessels must have onboard a sufficient number of urine-specimen collection kits and chain-of-custody forms meeting the requirements of 49 CFR Part 40 that are readily accessible for use following a serious marine incident (46 CFR Part 4, Section 4.06-20).

Urine drug test specimen collections can only be conducted by personnel trained in DOT specimen collection procedures and that are currently qualified in accordance with 49 CFR part 40 to collect these specimens. All drug tests have to be collected in accordance with the requirements given in 49 CFR part 40.

All drug tests have to be sent to a laboratory that is accredited by the US Department of Health and Human Services for Federal Agency Workplace drug testing. The use of on-site testing devices or other types or forms of drug testing is not allowed in accordance with US Coast Guard regulations.

Arrangements for drug test collection can be made through a port agent or another agent of the marine employer. This does not negate the 32 hour requirement but does assist in meeting the drug test requirements.

If it is determined that a vessel is not in compliance, that vessel/marine employer is subject to civil penalty action. See more…

Compliance Corner: The Facts about a Serious Marine Incident – Part 1

Saturday, June 4th, 2016

Basic Requirements SMI Alcohol Testing

The marine employer is responsible for having the alcohol testing completed within 2 hours following a serious marine incident (SMI); if there are safety concerns to be met, then testing may be delayed until the safety concerns have been addressed. No testing is required after 8 hours for alcohol. Beverages containing alcohol, including mouthwashes, are not permitted to be used until after the alcohol testing has been completed.

Alcohol testing devices must be listed on the current Conforming Product List (CPL). The use of any device that is not listed on the CPL and published by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) ( will not be acceptable. This includes devices that may be listed on lists from another source, country, region, etc.

There are two approved devices on the CPLs:

  • Evidential Breath Testing Devices (EBTs)
  • Alcohol Screen Devices (ASDs)

(a) If it is determined that a vessel is not in compliance, that vessel/marine employer is subject to civil penalty action.

From the COAST GUARD MID ATLANTIC Official Blog of the 5th Coast Guard District. Definition of a Serious Marine Incident.


78% of Teens say Close Friends use Marijuana

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

Legalization of marijuana in several states along with the continuing debates to legalize THC in other states has changed how teenagers perceive the harmful effects of THC. In fact, some teenagers believe marijuana is less harmful and easier to obtain than alcohol.

According to Grand Forks Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition, 78 percent of teens now say they have close friends who use marijuana and 41% of these teenage users admit they began using the drug before the age of 15. The primary reasons for using at an early age are to fit in with their peers, to relax, to have fun, and to escape reality. Thus, responsible parents must play a more prominent role in educating their children of the dangers of all mind-altering substances such as marijuana and the harmful effects are the still-developing brains of teens.

Since the prefrontal cortex, which is the part of the brain that controls reasoning and impulses, doesn’t fully develop and mature until age of 25, teenage THC usage can noticeably effect the behavior of the teen user.

The Coalition says behavior signs of teenage THC users include:

  • Difficulty controlling emotions
  • Lack of judgment
  • Spontaneous and impulsive actions
  • Risky decision making
  • No planning or scheduling
  • No thought of consequences or accountability

National Institute on Drug Abuse: Public Education Videos Available

Thursday, May 19th, 2016

Several informational videos by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) are currently available for viewing. The purpose of the videos is to bring awareness to the science behind the causes and consequences of drug use and addiction, and to apply that knowledge to improve individual and public health. Click below to view the videos online now!

NIDA Videos


Click here to find out how Global Safety Network can help your business create and manage its drug free workplace program.

Documentary: FADED Fentanyl’s Impact

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

FADED is a documentary produced by the University of North Dakota Department of Health and Wellness, that follows four families that have been impacted by the synthetic drug Fentanyl. This video is intended to help inform you about the extreme dangers of Fentanyl, a lethal synthetic drug impacting our community and is resulting in overdoses and death. This is not an issue that is targeting certain socioeconomic classes; it is being abused by a wide range of youth and is easily obtained. Click image below to watch now!


CNN Video: “Prescription Addiction: Made in the USA”

Monday, May 16th, 2016

Video now available – “Prescription Addiction: Made in the USA,” an  “Anderson Cooper 360” town hall special hosted by Anderson Cooper and CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

CNN Video

Click here to view CNN Story Highlights.

GSN offers a variety of customizable options to help your business create a safer and more productive workplace. Find out more…

Compliance Corner: Leadership Decisions

Saturday, April 16th, 2016

By Jamie Bork GSN Director of Compliance

§ 382.305: Random Testing: The Use of Alternate Selections within this DOT regulation is often misunderstood (Motor Carrier)

An employer may select alternates via self-administered program or through a Third Party Administrator (TPA) within its random testing program. However, the employer must not test an alternate simply because “John was not here today”.

An alternate selection is to be used in the (unlikely) event that the primary selected person is no longer available for testing or is not expected to return before the end of the selection period. It should be noted that the selection period (or testing period) may be weekly, monthly, quarterly, but always extends until the end of the current calendar year – with no carry-over into the next calendar year. Therefore (assuming you are selecting quarterly), if a primary selected person is chosen in the 1st quarter (January-March), is on vacation the day the DER expected to have him tested, and is not due to return from vacation until April 4th…What to do??? An alternate selection should be used and you must document why this action was taken. However, if the primary selected person returns to work on or by March 31st (last day of the testing period) the individual is to be tested.

As taken directly from the DOT’s Guidance: Is it permissible to select alternates for the purpose of complying with the Random Testing regulations? Guidance: Yes, it is permissible to select alternates. However, it is only permissible if the primary driver selected will not be available for testing during the selection period because of long-term absence due to layoff, illness, injury, vacation or other circumstances. In the event the initial driver selected is not available for testing, the employer and/or C/TPA must document the reason why an alternate driver was tested. The documentation must be maintained and readily available when requested by the Secretary of Transportation, any DOT agency, or any State or local officials with regulatory authority over the employer or any of its drivers.

Click here for the full detail of the DOT regulation and expanded guidance.

GSN Alcohol Testing Services – Our Certified Technicians will assist you in enforcing your company’s workforce policy.

What Makes Heroin Addictive?

Sunday, February 14th, 2016

In 1972 researchers at Johns Hopkins University discovered that neurons in the human brain have specific receptor sites for opiates such as heroin, according to a report on Frontline (PBS TV Show). The researchers determined that morphine, the primary ingredient in opiates, has a similar makeup to endorphins, which our bodies produce naturally to respond to pain and stress.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), our opioid receptors are located all throughout the brain, including the brainstem, which controls many processes critical for life, including arousal, breathing and blood pressure.
When morphine from heroin enters the brain, it acts as an impostor, mimicking the actions of endorphins, according to Frontline. However, heroin is more powerful than endorphins since it provides a feeling of euphoria that cannot be reproduced naturally. Those who try heroin often become addicted to the pleasurable rush with some becoming addicted after using it the first time.

Heroin can cause cardiac arrest, respiratory failure, a rise in temperature, irregular heart beat and other medical issues. Because heroin can shut down the central nervous system, people over dose and die from this drug.

The likelihood of developing addiction is influenced by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. People who are predisposed to opioid addiction often don’t know they are until it’s too late. However, some of the known risk factors include:

People with a close relative who suffered from an opioid addiction
People suffering from anxiety or depression
People with a personal or family history of alcohol or drug abuse

At first,those under the control of heroin may try to hide the problem. This can because of shame, embarrassment, or denial. Regardless, if you, or someone you know, experience the following signs, it may be an indication of heroin addiction:

  • Mood swings, depression, anger, and irritability
  • Marital or relationship problems
  • Social isolation, loss of friendships
  • Poor performance at school or work
  • Financial problems
  • Borrowing money
  • Selling personal or family possessions

Medical Marijuana: Read the Warning Label

Friday, February 12th, 2016

By Herald Patin, Guest Opinion

Understanding marijuana (Cannabis) as a medicine is a jump too far in responsible, safe, and effective legal medicine. Will there be more harm than help There are long developed sensible protocols designed to evaluate what may be a useful, helpful medicine, or just a harmful intoxicant with many long-term unknown effects.

The marijuana plant is really called Cannabis. So, the key chemicals created in Cannabis are called Cannabinoids. These chemicals are only made by nature within the Cannabis plant. They are psychotropic, meaning they enter the brain and have distinctive effects. These effects can be mind-altering, intoxicating, psychedelic, addicting, or maybe beneficial. The only way to determine the safety & efficacy is by scientific studies. This is what happens when an investigative new drug (IND) goes through the FDA process.

There are over 80 Cannabinoids contained in the Cannabis plant. The exact chemical structures vary depending on what strain of Cannabis you encounter. Basically, most all drugs, including most prescription drugs, are derived from plants. Perhaps we can add some medicines to the Pharmacopeia from Cannabis, but there is aright way and a wrong way. The tried and true FDA method is the right way. Physicians must also consider their Hippocratic Oath, do no harm.

The Cannabinoids which are getting attention are THC and CBD. THC is tetra hydro cannabinol and CBD is cannabidiol. THC and the several forms like Delta-9-THC and several others, has long been identified as the key intoxicant. Some researchers have also found that THC has antiemetic(stops vomiting) properties and appetite stimulating properties. No research shows that THC has any beneficial effect on cancer. There are also studies that show THC has effects which are not helpful for PTSD.

The trend in treating psychiatric disorders has moved heavily in favor of medication rather than psychotherapy (talk therapy) over the last decade. I think it is due to being less expensive and we should allow more talk therapy and medication when needed. PTSB patients and those suspected of this condition, should be thoroughly evaluated by a psychotherapy team and treated with talk therapy and medication as the evaluation determines.

CBD appears to have beneficial effects on nervous disorders, such as spasticity, seizures or Parkinson’s Disorder. There are studies presently underway to determine if this is really safe and effective. Best of all, there are many drugs available now to treat all of the above. Available at your local drugstore or a prescription from your physician and covered by most insurance plans. There are even drugs made based on the Cannabinoids. These are Marinol and Cesamet, based on the THC molecule. These ‘pure’ drugs are taken in pill form with consistent dosages.

Also,drugs based on the CBD moleculeare Sativex and Epidiolex. These drugs are now under going trials but would be available now as compassionate relief. It is expected that these drugs will be cleared soon. Sativex is available, legally in the UK, EU, and Canada. Epidiolex is available in California.

It is important to note that real science is not a couple of individuals thinking that smoking marijuana is really a medicine and it has safely helped them. Science relies little on anecdotal data. The FDA method is real science. We must consider the side effects and the long-term effects of any IND. Smoking should not be considered medicine, since it obviously adds to problems with the respiratory system.

Marijuana, Cannabis, pot, whatever you call it is a Schedule 1 Controlled Dangerous Substance. It maybe used for research only by Registrants under DEA rules with a protocol for research approved by the FDA and DHHS. As some molecules show medical promise, they may be included in other schedules that allow for prescriptions and dispensing by pharmacies.(Marinolis Schedule 3 and Cesametis Schedule 2).

Then the American Legion magazine article (8/2015) mentions the use of marijuana for the eye disease, glaucoma. This is unwise, since we should rely on eye treatment experts to choose the right treatment for eye diseases. Presently, ophthalmology physicians do not recommend marijuana to treat glaucoma. There are many medicines now available to treat glaucoma and sometimes surgery is needed. That is the way to treat disease. Trust the professionals. Trust the medics, experts, not a patient who thinks they know more than all the scientists.

If we look at the history of science and medical advances, we can find many examples of treatments which did not work. We continued our advances in science and discovered so many thing a bout chemistry, biology, the cells, DNA, the brain, heart, and every part of us, our universe, and our lives. Glaucoma is a serious eye disease involving intra-ocular pressure and possible damage to the optic nerve.


In 2003, the American Academy of Ophthalmology released a position statement stating that cannabis was not more effective than prescription medications. Furthermore, no scientific evidence has been found that demonstrates increased benefits and/or diminished risks of cannabis used to treat glaucoma compared with the wide variety of pharmaceutical agents now available.

In 2012 the American Glaucoma Society published a position paper discrediting the use of cannabis as a legitimate treatment for elevated intra-ocular pressure, for reasons including short duration of action and side effects that limit many activities of daily living. The VA Hospitals have fallen into a huge problem of servicing our veterans. We hope that the new VA leader can get us back to properly caring for our veterans. We do not need the VA doctors to discuss, recommend, prescribe or dispense marijuana to our needy veterans. Instead, doctors can prescribe other medically-sound solutions that are covered by insurance and VA plans.


Maryland Medical Center (UMMC). Retrieved 2011-04-09.
“Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base”. Nap. edu. Retrieved 2014-02-20.
“Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base (1999), Institute of Medicine, National Academies Press”. Nap. edu. Retrieved 2011-06-22.
“Complementary Therapy Assessment: Marijuana in the Treatment of Glaucoma”. American Academy of Ophthalmology. Retrieved 2011-05-04.
“Complementary Therapy Assessments: American Academy of Ophthalmology”. One. Retrieved 2011-01-24.
Jampel, Henry (2010). “American Glaucoma Society Position Statement: Marijuana and the Treatment of Glaucoma”. J Glaucoma 19 (2): 75.

Legalized Pot Industry Targets Our Youth

Monday, February 8th, 2016

“It’s not about pot as a leafy plant to smoke, but about edibles clearly designed to appeal to children.“ – Ben Cort, Director of the Colorado Center for Dependency, Addiction and Rehabilitation at the University of Colorado

Legalized Pot is BIG business that Is taking direct aim at our kids. Last year, the industry reported sales of $700 million in Colorado, according to the Centennial State’s Department of Revenue. Of this total, 45 percent ($313 million) was for recreational use while 55 percent ($387 million) was for medical purposes. The revenue department also stated that in the first quarter of 2015, the more than 300 retail cannabis shops reported sales of $118 million. It is projected that sales for 2015 will exceed $470 million, which surpasses last year’s total of $313 million by about 50 percent.

A large part of these sales are attributed to consumption by those under the age of 21. In fact, Marijuana use by school kids between the ages of 12 and 17 is 58 percent higher in Colorado than the national average, according to the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (RMHIDTA). The percentage for college age adults is 54 percent higher than the national average. RMHIDTA’s report also indicated a 34 percent increase in drug-related suspensions from Colorado schools during the past five year period.

The reason for the large increase in underage usage can be contributed to the fact that the legalized pot industry is taking aim on our children by providing a variety of edible products. Marijuana is available in concentrated products such as brownies, chocolates, cookies, lollipops, gummies and cherry drops. These items are produced by extracting the psychoactive ingredient of the plant for a very powerful effect.

Many of the pot edibles are practically identical to mainstream products—so much so that once out of the wrapper, it’s nearly impossible to tell them apart. However, when child advocacy groups along with some legislators tried to pass laws that would require pot edibles to clearly show a basic marker, they were met with heavy resistance.

“This is the reality for our kids. But they don’t even know what THC means.” – Diane Carlsonco-founder of Smart Colorado, a youth advocacy group