“Why is there so much controversy about drug testing? I know plenty of guys who would be willing to test any drug they could come up with.” – George Carlin
If you’re like me, America, you’re waiting for a distorted voice to come across a loudspeaker somewhere announcing that 2020 is ONLY a test. Man, wouldn’t that be a relief? To know that the U.S. government, otherwise known as “they,” was just putting us through the wringer to see how much crap we could take, but are planning to give us a much-needed do-over in the coming year.
Unfortunately, we’re probably not going to catch such a fiendish break, not unless by some stroke of luck the aliens that seem to be creeping on the planet as of late just so happen to have a big ol’ reset button in one of their spaceships. Just one push and ZAP! It was all just a bad dream.
Until they show up, however, working-class America (at least what is left of it) will have to continue cozying up to the notion that doing mind-altering substances is the best therapy for getting through these bizarre, troubling times. And that shouldn’t be a problem. According to a new report from Quest Diagnostics, they are already smoking, popping, snorting, shooting, tripping, and huffing with more enthusiasm than they’ve done in almost two decades. So take a good hard look at all of the people you work with and just know that most of them are high right now.
It almost seems like the madness of the past several months has numbed the American worker to the repercussions of doing drugs in this country. The United States has some of the most dastardly dope policies in the world – ones that force many companies to drug test their workers in order to keep the lights on. The American people know this by now. But with the threat of catching this pesky virus, borderline financial ruins, asteroid scares, and all the other death and destruction that this year has shown us is possible, it seems that nobody gives a damn anymore.
Nearly 5% of the nation’s workforce has thrown up their hands and resigned themselves to showing up to work stoned, tweaked, and on the nod. That’s the highest rate it’s been since 2003.
But in all fairness, all of these failed drug tests is not some wild phenomenon representative of an America that has abandoned all hope. Some, but not all. No, most people probably aren’t getting blasted before heading into work simply because they’ve decided, “well, screw it, the world is about to end anyways.” Drug use has been on the rise across the United States for decades. To that end, somewhere around 11% of the population is high on some illicit substance at this very moment.
And while all of the reports concerning the increase of drug use in this country act like they can’t pinpoint a reason for it, I’m here to tell you that the answer is simple: Life is hard and more people are finding out that drugs can help dampen the misery. So they step through the escape hatch on occasion and hope like hell they don’t get stuck. Most manage to do this without issue. But around 750,000 of them get stuck every year. The pandemic, though, has ramped things up.
“There is no question that before COVID-19, rates of workplace drug positivity were trending in the wrong direction,” said Barry Sample, Quest’s senior director of science and technology. “Organizations will need to consider the impact of COVID-19 not only on workplace safety but also as a health concern for their employees for some time to come.”
But from the way it looks, most workers are only failing drug tests because their dope of choice just happens to linger in the body longer. Marijuana, the one illicit drug that has found its way to legal status in some states, is the most common substance found in drug tests, the Quest report finds. The problem is cannabis is a weird drug when it comes to how it metabolizes in the body. While most other feel-goods can be pissed out within three days, weed can stick around for a month or more depending on the person. It means that someone could use marijuana today and still fail their drug test in the weeks to come. This gets many people into trouble, even in places where marijuana is legal, because drug tests for THC are still a thing. Although a few jurisdictions have eliminated pre-employment drug screens to help stoners find work, most still require them to test clean for marijuana when those random whiz quizzes come around.
In addition to higher rates of positive drug screens for weed, numbers for meth and cocaine use have also increased. Yet, the report shows a decrease in positive tests for opioids. That’s funny considering we’ve seen a savage uprising in opioid-related overdose deaths since the virus started wreaking havoc on the country earlier this year. It’s possible those casualties were part of the millions of people who lost their jobs due to the lockdowns the government tried to slow the infection. That portion of the workforce was not getting drug tested during their search for a trapdoor.
All in all, the report shows that America is super high on drugs, and it’s probably going to stay that way until our beady-eyed reptilian overlords finally swoop down from the heavens and either turn us all into space dust or show us a better way of living. Let’s hope that happens relatively soon.