Fentanyl Rising – How HR Can Address the Growing Threat

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The world of illicit drugs has seen a shift largely driven by the emergence of fentanyl. This blog will guide you through the myths and truths surrounding fentanyl and testing methods that will appropriately find fentanyl. Allen Johnson, VP of Marketing, Psychemedics, recently presented a webinar for DISA covering the essential and need-to-know information about fentanyl.  Here’s a summary of everything he discussed.

Myths and Truths About Fentanyl  

1. Myth: Fentanyl is a new drug that has been perpetuated by the media mostly due to consistently getting news about overdoses involving fentanyl.

Truth: Fentanyl has been around for decades and evolved over the years, presenting significant challenges for public health and law enforcement. This evolving threat underscores the importance of staying informed and prepared to address the challenges it poses.

2. Myth: The headlines about fentanyl-related deaths, particularly among teenagers, have created a misconception that using fentanyl guarantees death.

Truth: While fentanyl-related deaths are on the rise, there are significantly more non-fatal overdoses than fatal ones. The more likely outcome is addiction than an overdose.

3. Myth: Standard drug tests can detect all fentanyl use.

Truth: Fentanyl is not part of a standard 5-panel drug test, which checks for cocaine, opioids, PCP, amphetamines, and marijuana. As a result, fentanyl can go undetected, especially when used in isolation. Recognizing this testing limitation is critical for informed decision-making regarding substance abuse prevention and employee screening. If you are looking to add fentanyl into things you’re testing for, you would have to have a separate test for it.

The Role of Hair Testing: A Solution to Detection Challenges 

Adding hair testing to your drug testing program can be a game-changer. It widens the detection window, enabling the identification of chronic and recent use. It also eliminates evasion tactics and provides program administrators with the flexibility they need. To combat the fentanyl crisis effectively, organizations must consider combining testing methods, such as hair testing and urinalysis, to protect their workforce.

Psychemedics, DISA’s trusted hair testing partner, offers valuable insights into the importance drug hair testing plays when combating drug abuse in the workplace. Based on nearly one million drug tests, Psychemedics' hair testing identified:

  • 25 times more opioids than urine testing
  • 23 times more cocaine than urine testing
  • 13 times more amphetamines than urine testing

Fentanyl is a persistent issue that isn't going away. Users are at risk of addiction, and it often evades standard drug tests. By incorporating hair testing into your drug testing program, you can identify applicants or employees who may need assistance in addressing their substance use issues. This comprehensive approach offers clarity in a complex landscape, helping you protect your organization.

How DISA Global Solutions Can Help 

If you're concerned about fentanyl and other substance abuse challenges in your workplace, DISA Global Solutions is your trusted partner. Our comprehensive range of services, including drug and alcohol testing, background screening, and occupational health, empowers you to make informed staffing decisions while fostering a culture of safety in your workplace. Together, we can address the fentanyl challenge and create a safer, healthier environment for your organization.

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About DISA Global Solutions 

Founded in 1986, DISA is the industry-leading provider of employee screening and compliance services. Headquartered in Houston, with more than 35 offices throughout the U.S. and Canada, DISA’s comprehensive scope of services includes drug and alcohol testing, background screening, occupational health, and transportation compliance. DISA assists employers in making informed staffing decisions while building a culture of safety in their workplace.

DISA Global Solutions aims to provide accurate and informative content for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. The reader retains full responsibility for the use of the information contained herein. Always consult with a professional or legal expert.