Screening News Update: Opioid Bill Signed | Cocaine Deaths Rise | Drug Testing Lawmakers | Fine for Too Much Info [Video]

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Screening News Update: Opioid Bill Signed | Cocaine Deaths Rise | Drug Testing Lawmakers | Fine for Too Much Info [Video]

  • President Signs Landmark Bi-Partisan Opioid Bill
  • Cocaine Deaths Hit Record High
  • PA Considers Random Drug Testing for Lawmakers
  • There is Such a Thing as Too Much Information


 

President Signs Landmark Bi-Partisan Opioid Bill

Earlier this month we told you that a landmark bill had been passed by Congress aimed at stemming the opioid crisis. President Trump has now signed that bill into law. The SUPPORT Act is a combination of 70 bills that is 700 pages long. It tackles everything from overprescribing legitimate pain killers to stopping illegal fentanyl from entering the country. There are also provisions to expand treatment and recovery options, as well as new provisions aimed at employers regarding hiring recovering addicts. 

 
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Cocaine Deaths Hit Record High

While we’ve been talking a lot about the opioid epidemic in recent months, new numbers show that deaths from cocaine are skyrocketing. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cocaine deaths jumped 22% from March 2017 to March of this year. Over the same period, opioid deaths dropped by 2.7%. While that might seem like a promising statistic to those fighting the opioid epidemic, the two statistics might actually be linked. Experts say there has been an increase in users doing cocaine that is laced with other drugs, usually opioids, and that might be the reason cocaine deaths are rising. Whether drug users are doing this knowingly or unknowingly, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) says this phenomenon is at least partly to blame for the huge jump in cocaine-related deaths.

PA Considers Random Drug Testing for Lawmakers

A bill was recently introduced in the Pennsylvania House that would require all newly elected, or re-elected lawmakers, to take random drug tests. House Bill 2706 requires anyone elected to the state legislature to have a drug test within 60 days of the election. They would then be subjected to another random test at least once during the calendar year. State Representative Ed Gainey (D-Allegheny) is the primary sponsor of the bill. He wants lawmakers to be held to the same standard as people in the state who have to pass drug tests to get public assistance. If lawmakers pass the test there is no fee, but if they fail they have to reimburse the state for the cost of the test.

There is Such a Thing as Too Much Information

Sometimes it feels like we spend our lives filling out forms. A Pennsylvania-based company has reached a settlement with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for asking for WAY too much info on job applications. The SMS Group, Inc. was sued by applicants and employees after being asked to answer questions about their family medical history before medical and fitness duty examinations. The questions included things like, “Do your parents or siblings have cancer, diabetes or heart disease?” But asking these things is a violation of the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act (GINA). SMS will now pay $62,000 to those asked to provide the private information, and the company also has to change its health forms to remove those questions and train its employees to stay away from such discriminatory questions.

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