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Positive news from the mess

Amid a Labor Shortage, Companies Are Eliminating Drug Tests. It’s a Trend That Could Create More Equitable Workplaces

A growing number of companies are eliminating workplace drug testing to attract and retain workers amid a global labor shortage […] Vice reported last month that 9% of more than 45,000 employers worldwide are eliminating job screenings or drug tests as an incentive to “attract and retain in-demand talent,” according to a recent study conducted by staffing firm ManpowerGroup. That equates to around 4,050 employers, in 43 countries, that are no longer disciplining or dismissing employees for recreational drug use.

It’s about time.

“Mandatory drug testing isn’t based on suspicion or unprofessional behavior,” says Aamra Ahmad, senior policy counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union. “But a positive test can still cost the person their job, even if the use was legal, or for a medical purpose, or took place days or weeks earlier and doesn’t actually impact job performance.”

Of course, we’ve been saying that here for years. And the really good companies realized that and haven’t been drug testing. But way too many fell for the unsupported hype (and outright lies) that drug testing gets you better employees. More often, a company policy of drug testing was a sign of a lack of competent personnel management within the company.

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15 comments to Positive news from the mess

  • Servetus

    This is great news for workers who’ve been able or forced to take on additional burdens during the pandemic. And it’s good to see the drug testing industry take a financial hit.

    Drug regulations and employee health insurance systems have always been rigged in ways to keep people repressed, desperate, miserable, and clinging to low paying jobs in an increasingly unequal society. People under duress are believed by regulators to be easier to control and manipulate in terms of tastes and desires, until they aren’t, like when they revolt against drug laws by smoking weed.

    Regulation itself has a sordid history of failure:

    If you look over the history of regulation, say, railroad regulation, financial regulation and so on, you find that quite commonly it’s either initiated by the economic concentrations that are being regulated, or it’s supported by them. And the reason is because they know that, sooner or later, they can take over the regulators. And it ends up with what’s called “regulatory capture”.—Noam Chomsky, Requiem for the American Dream, starting at 37:01.

    The situation Chomsky describes accurately depicts the regulatory relationship between Big Pharma and the FDA.

  • Son of Sam Walton

    Someone reported me for toking up during break outside at my job, which is a ‘Saftey Sinsite’ job. And two days later, they pulled an emergency drug and alcohol test on me, even though I have a medical card. So, I had to resign so I wouldn’t be fired and lose out on pay. Of course, this facility I worked at, which is a Nursing Home for old veterans (38yrs-102yrs of age) and I’ve got a rock-solid history of being that guy who is never late or misses and when the snowstorm kept all in my crew from showing up, I was there by myself for three days. And it was a messy job (laundry) and even being a Veteran with a college degree and a solid history of good performance characterized as ‘going beyond’ at that place and others, they never allowed me to move to another position, giving it to others who would quit, not show up, be late. But when they turned me down for the last position I applied for, I went coo-coo and started to vape on Saturdays (my Friday), and then right after we lost Afghanistan just recently, I started to smoke flower in my car. Mind you, my mom died one year to the date of the capital insurrection so Covid 2020 sucked extra balls. Then again, they turned me down two jobs in a row not even two months before my mom died so she never saw her son get a good job. My first post-college/military job was being a youth instructor at a military-style facility for troubled kids and my top boss at this state ran facility (voluntary for kids)–who would later go on stabbing a chiropractor multiple times on the 19th of April 2016 (he’s in prison now), forced me to resign based on allegations he created so he could ’emergency hire his buddy, who at one time worked at the same place I was. So, my mom died knowing I never got that job . . . even after I spent the last of my GI Bill on welding school, to find out the blind weld better than me. The State even acknowledge the fact this former high-ranking worker had done dirty bad rotten things–a lot of them, while he was in charge and even admitted that he possibly harmed the legal records and reputations of those who fought him.

    I simply just didn’t care about toking or not because the job was dirty, lousy, a dead-end, humiliating, and couldn’t leave because I’m a vet taking care of vets who need me and see eye to eye with me on different levels, plus the benefits were excellent. But when we lost the Stan in that way, I just toked up where ever outside, and even did it in a way to show people “I’m Pissed”. Everyone knew I was a vet (like 3-5 vet workers and over 260 civilians) and many on the inside tried to get me better positions, but Admin wouldn’t have it. Having a BA and being a Vet with a Clean Piss gets you no job.

    And less than three hours before toking up, I got a job at Amazon since they only give you a few hours notice to let you know if you are going to ‘hiring process’ that day.

    • NorCalNative

      Always enjoy reading your comments and learning about your history. Good luck at Amazon.

      • Son of Sam Walton

        Thank’s NorCal. One of the first customer items I checked was a Doors CD. And speaking of 60’s music: do you recall ‘Robbert Kennedy’s version of ‘Wild Thing’ done by a comedian in 67′? And American Horror has a new series about the Rosswell aliens and how they negotiated with the White House, took control and had America invade Vietnam as a Distraction from thousands of missing Americans, and the men in black killed Marilyn and Kennedy when they found out.

  • Son of Sam Walton

    And here is another PISS Positive Note, but a bit OT:

    “Excelsior Overshot”, by MC Marshall my novel is now out via Kindel for $4.00. And the reason I only will have the Kindel Option is I don’t use Trees until Hemp is readily used for paper and books. It’s not a short read for the price at just over 107,600 words. The cover design is a blue triangular lighting of a boy and girl facing each other and almost touching palms and fingers.

    It has Drug Cartels in it, Jesse James the outlaw standing on where Fort Lenoard Wood would be, stolen rare expensive baseball cards, Stephen Hawking, The Hadron Collider being built in reverse, Professor Einstein commenting on having pizza, bizarre blueprints found in some dope and weapons filled Taliban/Al Qaeda cave in Afghanistan shortly after 9/11, the Iraq War, Love, Death, Trauma, PTSD, an invention that can let you listen to anything anyone ever said and any sound ever made, like a tree falling in a forest 900,000 years ago . . . and people want this thing and are willing to do anything to get their hands on anything that lets them hear anything you or anyone ever said like your secretes, combinations, passwords, private talks with your doctor, recipes, sports/stock strategy, politics, the talk of generals, rebels plotting, the cartel’s competition . . . and it can save the life of a young Cherokee woman right after a bad car crash in the middle of the sticks away from zero witnesses to save her etc. And it is a subtle protest of the War on Drugs and how it fucked up Iraq and Afghanistan and how Mexico was our Nearby Witness of how the War on Terror would play out.

  • Servetus

    New anti-marijuana propaganda is emerging from Boston and British Columbia that conflates marijuana with alcohol use by drivers. Guilt by association with alcohol and random statistics are being used to link marijuana to traffic deaths. Will smartphones be the next to be linked? Probably not.

    29-OCT-2021—New research indicates that between 2000 and 2018, the percentage of car crash deaths in the United States involving cannabis have doubled, and the percentage of deaths involving both cannabis and alcohol, have more than doubled. Researchers from Boston Medical Center, Boston University, and University of Victoria found people who died in crashes involving cannabis had 50 percent greater odds of also having alcohol in their system. Published in the American Journal of Public Health, these results suggest that as states have loosened cannabis policies, cannabis and alcohol have increasingly been used together when driving. […]

    “There has been progress in reducing deaths from alcohol-impaired driving, but our study suggests that cannabis involvement might be undercutting these public health efforts,” says Timothy Naimi, MD, MPH, an adjunct professor at Boston University Schools of Medicine and Public Health, director of the Canadian Institute of Substance Use Research in Victoria, Canada, and senior author on the study. […]

    “Our testing methods for cannabis remain suboptimal and individuals can test positive for cannabis weeks after they have consumed it,” says Marlene Lira, MPH, an epidemiologist at Boston Medical Center and lead author on this study. “However, we can say that fatalities from crashes involving cannabis are more likely to have also involved alcohol, even if we don’t know the exact level of cannabis.” Most cannabis tests do not distinguish between any past use and acute intoxication, and implementing standardized thresholds is challenging due to tolerance from regular use.

    ”The bottom line is that we have a lot of work to do to reduce deaths and harms from impaired driving from alcohol, cannabis, and other substances,” says Lira. […]

    AAAS Public Science News Release: Car crash deaths involving cannabis increasing and more likely to involve alcohol

    American Journal of Public Health: Trends in Cannabis Involvement and Risk of Alcohol Involvement in Motor Vehicle Crash Fatalities in the United States, 2000‒2018 Marlene C. Lira MPH, Timothy C. Heeren PhD, Magdalena Buczek MS, Jason G. Blanchette JD, MPH, Rosanna Smart PhD, Rosalie Liccardo Pacula PhD, and Timothy S. Naimi MD, MPH

  • Servetus

    JAMA Health Forum publication boosts support for cannabis law reform involving racial disparities in arrests. Abstract:

    October 29, 2021—Despite calls for cannabis decriminalization and legalization, research investigating the association of policy with arrest rates and racial disparities is scarce.

    Objectives: To examine racial differences in cannabis arrest rates among adults and youths after statewide decriminalization, legalization, and no policy changes.

    Design, Setting, and Participants: This case-control study used race-based arrest data from the Uniform Crime Reporting Program and Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results county-level population data from January 2000 through December 2019. Data were analyzed in July 2021. Event-study analyses based on the arrest rates from 43 US states were conducted to compare preimplementation and postimplementation differences in arrest rates for states with decriminalization, legalization, and no policy changes.

    Exposures: Nine states implemented legalization, 8 implemented decriminalization, and 26 had no policy change.

    Main Outcomes and Measures: Outcome measures were cannabis arrest rates for Black and White adults and youths per year and by state, while controlling for several covariates.

    Results Rates were reported per 100 000. When comparing absolute differences in arrests from January to December 2008 (before policy changes) to January to December 2019, legalization was associated with 561 and 195 fewer arrests and decriminalization with 448.6 and 117.1 fewer arrests for Black and White adults, respectively. States without a policy change saw reductions of 47.5 and 33.0 arrests for Black and White adults, respectively. Among youth, legalization was associated with 131.1 and 131.2 fewer arrests and decriminalization with 156.1 and 124.7 fewer arrests for Black and White youths, respectively. Among states without a policy change, arrests reduced by 35 and 52.4 for Black and White youths, respectively. Plotted trends of the arrest ratios from January 2000 through December 2019 suggests racial disparities remained over time. Event-study analyses suggest that decriminalization was associated with an arrest rate reduction for Black and White adults and youths. The timing of reductions suggests differential policy effects. Arrest disparities increased in states that did not have a cannabis policy change.

    Conclusions and Relevance: In this case-control study of states with and without cannabis decriminalization and legalization policies, increased arrest rate disparities in states without either policy highlight the need for targeted interventions to address racial injustice. […]

    JAMA Health Forum: Association of racial disparity of marijuana possession arrests with decriminalization, legalization

    • Son of Sam Walton

      On both points: Come to Oklahoma and you can breathe into a machine that says “Dude–like you smoked almost four hours ago, you gotta be high”. I’ve heard the threshold is four hours, but I don’t feel much after an hour and 15 minutes and that after dabs, RSO, Flower, THC Diamonds, and hash combined into a single pipe. Plus your mom and pop but tenders give you goodies, cookies, fudge, samples and the big guys will give you like 5-12 grams of dabs/diamonds/hash/vapes for a hundred bucks plus tax . . . $99 OZ of the quality stuff (not the gas-powered stuff) and $30 OZ of the stuff that made you wish you coughed up the additional $69 bucks instead of coughing on 4 bongs bowls just to get there.

      And Racism Lost Us Afghanistan–technically speaking–legally speaking . . . why did dope and flower become illegal back in the day? What was the driving mechanism behind bigger ulterior reasons–the master behind the curtain. Who pays for the bulk of the U.N. Singles Law Tax to keep the beast Fed yearly? We can force others to play, but making others pay is an entirely different matter, like blood out of a turnip. So, because our National Law electrifies our International Laws, created out of hatred, fear, misunderstanding, greed, stereotypes, etc, America’s Racism or Ansliger Lost the War.

      Harry J Anslinger Lost the War. Michele Leonhart lost us the War. Karen Tandy Lost Us the War. Nora Volkow Lost us the War. Asa Hutchinson Lost us the War. Glen R Hanson Lost us the War. Nixon Lost us the War. The Cop who choked out Geroge Floyd and the officers who stood around doing nothing Lost the WAR. Hillary Clinton’s Super Predator ideology lost Us the War. All the cops who shot first or were too aggressive lost us the War. Oliver North–the Bush’s and Reagan Lost us the War . . . Anne Milgram Will Lose for us, Iraq.

      • Servetus

        That’s the best thing about opposing the drug war. You don’t have to do much beyond revealing the main players who make a total wreck out of everything. Their prohibitionist behaviors and legal methods defeat them, while I just sit back, take a hit, and watch the action in total amazement.

  • Servetus

    A pharmaceutical company has determined an optimum dosage for a psilocybin pill:

    9-NOV-2021…groundbreaking phase IIb clinical trial of COMP360 psilocybin therapy for treatment-resistant depression has achieved its primary endpoint for the highest dose, with a 25mg dose of COMP360 demonstrating a highly statistically significant and clinically relevant reduction in depressive symptom severity after three weeks, with a rapid and durable treatment response […]

    This randomised, controlled, multicentre, double-blind phase IIb trial is the largest psilocybin therapy clinical trial ever conducted, with 233 patients from 10 countries in North America and Europe. 94% of the patients had no prior experience with psilocybin. The objective of the trial was to find the appropriate dose for a larger, pivotal phase III programme, which COMPASS expects to begin in 2022.

    Depression that isn’t helped after two or more adequate antidepressive treatments is referred to as treatment-resistant depression (TRD)1,2. More than 100 million people worldwide are affected by TRD1,2, and as many as 30% of these attempt suicide at least once during their lifetime3,4. The TRD population is by definition more difficult to treat and more likely to relapse than patients with major depressive disorder. In 2018, COMPASS received FDA Breakthrough Therapy designation for its COMP360 psilocybin therapy for TRD.

    George Goldsmith, CEO and Co-founder, COMPASS Pathways, said: “No one is untouched by the mental health crisis – everyone has a story. We urgently need options for people who are not helped by existing therapies. […]

    Compass News Release: COMPASS Pathways announces positive topline results from groundbreaking phase IIb trial of investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy for treatment-resistant depression…

  • Servetus

    Fighting stroke and dementia with 3-5 cups of tea per day or 4-6 cups of coffee:

    16-NOV-2021– Drinking coffee or tea may be associated with a lower risk of stroke and dementia, according to a study of healthy individuals aged 50-74 … Drinking coffee was also associated with a lower risk of post-stroke dementia.

    Strokes are life-threatening events which cause 10 percent of deaths globally. Dementia is a general term for symptoms related to decline in brain function and is a global health concern with a high economic and social burden. Post-stroke dementia is a condition where symptoms of dementia occur after a stroke.

    Yuan Zhang and colleagues from Tianjin Medical University, Tianjin, China studied 365,682 participants from the UK Biobank, who were recruited between 2006 and 2010 and followed them until 2020. At the outset participants self-reported their coffee and tea intake. Over the study period, 5,079 participants developed dementia and 10,053 experienced at least one stroke.

    People who drank 2-3 cups of coffee or 3-5 cups of tea per day, or a combination of 4–6 cups of coffee and tea had the lowest incidence of stroke or dementia. Individuals who drank 2-3 cups of coffee and 2-3 cups of tea daily had a 32% lower risk of stroke (HR, 0.68, 95% CI, 0.59-0.79; P <0.001) and a 28% lower risk of dementia (HR, 0.72, 95% CI, 0.59-0.89; P =0.002) compared with those who drank neither coffee nor tea. Intake of coffee alone or in combination with tea was also associated with lower risk of post-stroke dementia. […]

    AAAS Public Science News Release: Coffee and tea drinking may be associated with reduced rates of stroke and dementia: Intake of 4-6 total cups daily was associated with lowest risks

    PLOS Medicine: Consumption of coffee and tea and risk of developing stroke, dementia, and poststroke dementia: A cohort study in the UK Biobank Yuan Zhang, Hongxi Yang, Shu Li, Wei-dong Li, Yaogang Wang.

  • Servetus

    Wear your nalaxone in a handy self-injecting device, according to inventors who developed a “wearable device [that] can detect and reverse opioid overdose…”:

    22-NOV-2021–A research team at the University of Washington has developed a wearable device to detect and reverse an opioid overdose. The device, worn on the stomach like an insulin pump, senses when a person stops breathing and moving, and injects naloxone, a lifesaving antidote that can restore respiration. […]

    “The opioid epidemic has become worse during the pandemic and has continued to be a major public health crisis,” said lead author Justin Chan, a UW doctoral student in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering. “We have created algorithms that run on a wearable injector to detect when the wearer stops breathing and automatically inject naloxone.”

    Co-author Jacob Sunshine, an associate professor of anesthesiology and pain medicine at the UW School of Medicine, said one of the unique aspects of opioid overdoses is that naloxone, a benign drug, is highly effective and can save lives if it can be administered in a timely fashion.

    The UW team is looking to make these devices widely available, which would first require approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The FDA is currently working to accelerate efforts to address this critical public health problem and has recently published special guidance on emergency-use injectors. […]

    Co-author Shyam Gollakota, a UW professor in the Allen School, said the device could help people at different stages of opioid-use disorder to avoid accidental death.

    “This wearable auto-injector may have the potential to reduce fatalities due to opioid overdoses,” he said. “We are hopeful it can have a tangible impact on a big source of suffering in this country.”

    The pilot device includes a pair of accelerometers that measure respiration and an onboard processor that detects the halt of motion associated with breathing. The wearable system, which has received regulatory approval in the United States, activates the injector in the presence of prolonged apneic events. […]

    AAAS Public Science News Release: Wearable device can detect and reverse opioid overdose

    Scientific Reports: Closed-loop wearable naloxone injector system Justin Chan, Vikram Iyer, Anran Wang, Alexander Lyness, Preetma Kooner, Jacob Sunshine & Shyamnath Gollakota.

    But there’s a fly in the ointment known as Big Pharma (BP):

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/oct/19/naloxone-price-soars-opioid-overdoses

  • Servetus

    Citizen science makes it more convenient to study the effects of psilocybin on depression, anxiety, and stress:

    23-NOV-2021…In total, we followed more than 8,500 people from 75 countries using an anonymous self-reporting system—about half were following a microdosing regimen and half were not,” Rootman explains. “In comparing microdosers and non-microdosers, there was a clear association between microdosing and fewer symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress—which is important given the high prevalence of these conditions and the substantial suffering they cause.”

    The study is also the first to systematically examine the practice of stacking, or combining microdoses of psychedelics with other substances like niacin, lions mane mushrooms and cacao, which some believe work in conjunction to maximize benefit. […]

    These findings highlight adults who are microdosing to treat their mental health conditions and enhance their wellbeing—rather than simply to get high,” says Dr. Walsh. “We have an epidemic of mental health problems, with existing treatments that don’t work for everyone. We need to follow the lead of patients who are taking these initiatives to improve their wellbeing and reduce suffering.”

    Study co-author Kalin Harvey is the chief technology officer of Quantified Citizen, a mobile health research platform. He says this study highlights the potential of citizen science.

    “The use of citizen science allows us to examine the effects of behaviours that are difficult to study in the lab due to regulatory challenges and stigma associated with the now discredited ‘war on drugs.’” […]

    “While the data is growing to support the use of psychedelics like psilocybin in large doses to treat depression and addiction—our data also helps to expand our understanding of how psychedelics may also help in smaller doses.” […]

    AAAS Public Science News Release: UBCO study finds psychedelic microdosing improves mental health
    Psychedelics used to combat anxiety and depression, not to get high

    Scientific Reports: Adults who microdose psychedelics report health related motivations and lower levels of anxiety and depression compared to non-microdosers, Joseph M. Rootman, Pamela Kryskow, Kalin Harvey, Paul Stamets, Eesmyal Santos-Brault, Kim P. C. Kuypers, Vince Polito, Francoise Bourzat & Zach Walsh.

  • Servetus

    Psychedelics alleviate major depression and anxiety disorders:

    24-NOV-2021—…In work by other researchers, primarily on psilocybin, a substance found in more than 200 species of fungi, González-Maeso said psychedelics have shown promise in alleviating major depression and anxiety disorders. “They induce profound effects in perception,” he said. “But I was interested in how these drugs actually induce behavioral effects in mice.”

    To explore the genomic basis of those effects, he teamed up with Lu.

    In the joint Virginia Tech – VCU study, González-Maeso’s team used 2,5-dimethoxy-4-iodoamphetamine, or DOI, a drug similar to LSD, administering it to mice that had been trained to fear certain triggers. Lu’s lab then analyzed brain samples for changes in the epigenome and the gene expression. They discovered that the epigenomic variations were generally more long-lasting than the changes in gene expression, thus more likely to link with the long-term effects of a psychedelic.

    After one dose of DOI, the mice that had reacted to fear triggers no longer responded to them with anxious behaviors. Their brains also showed effects, even after the substance was no longer detectable in the tissues, Lu said. The findings were published in the October issue of Cell Reports. […]

    AAAS Public Science News Release: Psychedelics show promise in treating mental illness

    Cell Reports: Prolonged epigenomic and synaptic plasticity alterations following single exposure to a psychedelic in mice, Mario de la Fuente Revenga, Bohan Zhu, Christopher A. Guevara, Lynette B. Naler, Justin M. Saunders, Zirui Zhou, Rudy Toneatti, Salvador Sierra, Jennifer T. Wolstenholme, Patrick M. Beardsley, George W. Huntley, Chang Lu, Javier González-Maeso.

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