Author: Justin Mckibben
The Global Commission on Drug Policy (GCDP) is an international institution of global leaders and intellectuals working to help study and inform initiatives on addressing drug use all around the world. This think tank offers recommendations concerning drug use and its consequences for societies across the globe.
The GCDP consists of members from various nations, including but not limited to:
- The United States of America
- The United Kingdom
Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter wrote an op-ed in The New York Times explicitly endorsing the recommendations of the Global Commission on Drug Policy, and the group has released various reports over the years focusing on the efforts to curb the spread of drug abuse.
Recently the GCDP released a position report on the North American opioid epidemic. In this report, the commission issues recommendations that appear to endorse the expansion of harm reduction techniques to battle the ongoing crisis.
The Turning Point for America
According to the GCDP’s new report, North America is at a turning point in the way that drug addiction is viewed. This is not too much of a surprise, considering now more than ever there has been a push for a more compassionate perspective on drug use and addiction. America now finds itself in a unique position where the stigma that has so long been attached to addiction is starting to be abandoned, and more progressive action is being taken.
Now the Global Commission on Drug Policy believes national policymakers should take advantage of this unique opportunity to reduce opioid-related deaths through harm reduction. In the report the authors state:
“While in recent years media and politicians have been more open to viewing addiction as a public health problem, leadership is needed to turn this into an urgent and commensurate response to the crisis,”
One way that the Global Commission on Drug Policy ideals clashes with that of the Trump administration, currently steering drug policy in America is that the GCDP does not endorse the old policies of the War on Drugs.
GCDP vs War on Drugs
Back in June of 2011, the GCDP stated:
“The global war on drugs has failed, with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world.”
Again, this recent report echoes that sentiment, saying that attempting to cut off the opioid supply is not the answer. The new report notes how this approach has been tried before, as the first reactions to the opioid epidemic were to limit prescriptions and to introduce pills that were harder to manipulate.
The report goes on to note that this response drove people to use cheaper and often much more potent street drugs instead of prescription pills. Fentanyl is one of the worst synthetic opioids to contribute to the outbreak of overdoses and deaths across the country.
The Global Commission on Drug Policy says cutting off the supply of opioids into the country cannot be effectively executed until after supportive measures are put in place. This means supporting not only both people battling addiction but also people with chronic pain. The report insists:
“The aim is to achieve the right balance in regulation to provide effective and adequate pain care, while minimizing opportunities for misuse of these medications.”
To reduce the harmful impacts of opioids, the commission calling for the acceptance and implementation of harm reduction strategies.
The Global Commission on Drug Policy Suggests Harm Reduction
So if they are saying that the War on Drugs did not work, and neither will bulking up borders, then what will?
Well, according to the GCDP, harm reduction is the right move. The new report calls on American lawmakers to promote programs like:
Naloxone Distribution and Training
As the opioid overdose antidote, Naloxone is an invaluable tool to have in the fight against the opioid epidemic in America, but the price for the drug continued to skyrocket as the epidemic got worse. Making it more available could give access to and train people with life-saving medication to thousands or even millions more.
Safe locations where IV drug users can trade old, contaminated needles for new, sterile needles to help prevent the spread of blood-borne illness like HIV.
Facilities where drug users can go to use their drugs with sterile equipment safely, reducing the number of overdose deaths by providing a place free of punishment for them to use with medical emergency resources on site.
These kinds of programs would allow for users to check their drugs for the presence of any unknown substances it may have been diluted with. For example, most fentanyl users do not know they are using fentanyl.
Decriminalizing Drugs in America
In another aspect of the report, GCDP also makes a much more revolutionary and more radical suggestion that many may consider qualifying as harm reduction: decriminalization.
The report states:
“The Global Commission on Drug Policy also calls for the elimination of illicit drug markets by carefully regulating different drugs according to their potential harms. The most effective way to reduce the extensive harms of the global drug prohibition regime and advance the goals of public health and safety is to get drugs under control through responsible legal regulation.”
With this philosophy in mind, the GCDP made two more drastic recommendations:
- End the criminalization and incarceration of people who use drugs nation-wide in Canada and the United States.
- Allow and promote pilot projects for the responsible legal regulation of currently illicit drugs including opioids.
The idea is that by decriminalizing drugs, they can bypass criminal organizations and ultimately replace the current black market.
“Do not pursue such offenses so that people in need of health and social services can access them freely, easily, and without fear of legal coercion,”
We have begun to see a watered-down variation of this kind of strategy with many Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (PAARI) programs, where law enforcement is helping addicts get into treatment instead of arresting them when they ask for help.
Better Treatment Research
The report insists that more research is necessary in a few critical areas in order the effectively address the opioid crisis and the overall drug problem in America.
One of the key points of research the GCDP proposes is for finding the most effective treatments for addiction, specifically to prescription opioids. In addition, the report shows support for medication-assisted treatment (MAT) and opioid substitution therapy (OST) as a means to preserve life to assist in the recovery process. While these programs are met with some of the same contentions as safe injection sites or decriminalization, the commission seems adamant about using harm reduction to keep people alive long enough to get better.
Michel Kazatchkine, a doctor and commission member, said in a recent interview:
“Repression is harmful. Wherever repressive policies are in place, people will not be in the best condition to access services.”
While he and other commission members are in no way naïve to the fact there is no way decriminalization will happen at the federal level soon in the U.S., they remain hopeful that states or cities will make decisions which don’t require federal approval, or for which they are willing to enter to fight with the federal process.
Overall, the hope of the GCDP is that these suggestions, coming from a group of world leaders fully invested in understanding the issue, will convince American and Canadian lawmakers to take a progressive approach to the crisis.
What could some of these changes mean for those trying to recover from opioid abuse? How could some of these ideas change the way addiction treatment operates within America?
One thing is for certain, in fighting opioid addiction, whether as a society, as a family or as an individual, there needs to be compassion and action. It takes courage and it takes a degree of uncertainty. But with the right resources, there is hope for a greater future. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free now.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
Author: Justin Mckibben
Now this is a pretty popular question. Whether it is coming from someone trying to dodge a consequence heading their way, or a parent trying to make sure they know what to look for when worried about their kids, it isn’t a cut and dry answer. The modern drug test in general is a marvel of medical science and technology; both the home testing kits and the big corporate labs that investigate with the more extensive and expensive methods.
Some people are worried they indulge too much and want to keep out of hot water with their probation officer, while others might even be testing themselves to find out if something was slipped to them. Businesses will use them to test employees and applicants. Hospitals and doctors may use them to try and collect what they need to solve a medical puzzle.
At the end of the day, some people have a habit of blaming the drug test for being in their way from getting where they need to go. But, what if it is the drugs, or even a serious addiction, that is really in their way?
What Drugs Don’t Show Up on a Drug Test: Different Drug Tests
Before we can ask what drugs don’t show up on a drug test we have to ask what kind of drug test we are taking?
There are 5 primary types of drug tests.
These are the most common types of home drug test kits since they are the least expensive of the test methods. Urine tests are:
- Considered an intrusive method of testing
- Easily done at home, but do require lab verification for accurate results
- Primarily detect use within the past week (longer with regular use)
- Typically temperature tested to insure sample integrity
These are probably the most common form of drug test, and different kits may provide a different variety of screenings.
These tests are a little more expensive than urine tests, but still less than hair and blood tests. Saliva tests are:
- Considered relatively un-intrusive
- Easy to administer but require lab to ensure accuracy
- Detect use primarily within the past few days
- Can detect more recent use than other testing methods.
Saliva drug tests have no nationally accepted standards or cut-off concentrations for detection, making results greatly dependent on the specific testing product. However, saliva drug tests are becoming more common.
This form of drug test is still relatively uncommon, and probably because the patch to absorb the sweat must be worn for an extended period. Sweat tests are:
- Considered to be relatively intrusive due to extended time of application
- Controversial in terms of accuracy
One reason these tests are so controversial and unpopular is because there is belief that any surface contamination (such as second hand cannabis smoke) can actually cause false readings.
These are several times more expensive than urine drug tests, usually ranging over the $100 mark. Hair tests:
- Detect substance use over a longer time period (up to months or even over a year)
- BUT do not often detect short-term use
- Can determine when some substances were used and/or discontinued
- Test for a wider range of drugs and with more detail
Another advantage the hair drug test has is that shampoos and follicle cleansing do not reliably remove traces of drugs from hair.
These are the most expensive method of drug testing. Of course with tracking drug use by blood tests, they are considered to be:
- Most intrusive method
- Most accurate form of drug testing
- Still the least common method, most likely due to cost
As with most anything, it is easier to track something through the blood, so this test is a tough one to try and fool.
What Drugs Don’t Show Up on a Drug Test: Drug Sensitivity
Another important question when trying to figure out what drugs don’t show up on a drug test, people need to take into account the testing products sensitivity. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association (SAMHSA) provides guidelines for what constitutes a “positive” result.
However, companies are getting around these guidelines by reporting the levels found without categorizing them as a “positive” or “negative” test. They just show that trace amounts are being shown, which would infer use.
The reality is, pretty much every form of the most common illicit substances (cannabis/opioids/amphetamines/etc.) will show up on a drug test. It is much harder to find drugs that wouldn’t leave any trace, and these drugs are often unpredictable and especially toxic.
What Drugs Don’t Show Up on a Drug Test: Synthetic Drugs
There are a number of drugs that are synthetic versions of common illicit substances, and many of these dangerous substances are undetectable drugs. This is a horrifying reality that many are trying to fight, because these are some of the most harmful drugs on the streets. Synthetic drugs like Bath Salts, Salvia, and synthetic marijuana like Spice have all appeared in numerous headlines over the last few years are claiming lives and doing real damage.
These drugs may manage to slide under the radar of some tests, but tests for these synthetics have begun to develop as they have become increasingly volatile and unpredictable.
The biggest issue with these drugs is they are often advertised as “safer” and “legal” alternatives. However, the “legal” aspect is a grey area depending on the substance, and we have seen time and time again they are not “safe”.
What Drugs Don’t Show Up on a Drug Test: What to Do?
Whether you are a cautious employer, concerned parent or someone who is trying to get away with something, substance abuse and addiction are very real issues. Anyone looking for ways to trick a drug test should take a moment to see there is probably something wrong when getting high is more important than getting a job, staying out of legal trouble, etc.
If you are worried about a loved one, learn how to look for the signs of substance abuse. Start a conversation about the risks of addiction and learn about the long-term effects. Don’t wait until things get worse.
Dodging drug tests and using unknown and hazardous chemicals just to get high is not a productive way to live. If the dependence on substances is so severe that you have to ask what drugs don’t show up on a drug test, you might want to think about asking- why do I need any drug this bad?
Instead of looking for ways around it, try to find a way to work and go through it. Recovery is always a better option.
Drug and alcohol abuse should be taken seriously. Faking drug tests is also not getting any easier, with plenty of new found methods of testing for drugs being researched. Getting treatment is a better plan than trying to get away with it, especially since ‘getting away with it’ can eventually end up costing someone their life. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
Author: Justin Mckibben
Drug testing for food stamps and other welfare benefits is a debate people seem to never get tired of having. Over the past few years there have been many state trying to use this kind of restriction in order to save money on benefits, but ironically these programs seem to have a history of being ineffective and actually costing the states money. Money which taxpayers provide. Even though the effort seems like a lost cause, many are not yet convinced.
Scott Walker, the Governor of Wisconsin, apparently has no intention of giving up his mission to drug test welfare and food stamp recipients. Despite the continuous failures of such initiatives, the governor is persistent. Now, Walker has gone so far as to write a letter to President-elect Donald Trump, asking him to give his state permission to begin drug-testing residents who collect food stamps.
Dear Mr. Trump
In the letter Governor Walker wrote Trump on Tuesday, December 20, Walker echoed his desire to require that all able-bodied adults applying for food stamps have to submit to a drug tested, among other requests. Reports state that Walker’s letter said that states can
“-effectively develop and deliver initiatives that align with your goal to make America great again.”
Walker told the Associated Press that he was optimistic that President-Elect Trump would respond quickly once he has taken office. Governor Walker also released a statement reinstating his position regarding a state’s rights. He wrote that,
“Too often, states have become mere administrative provinces of an all-powerful federal government in Washington. Now is the time to reverse that trend. These requests are the first of many my administration will make as Wisconsin leads the effort to restore balance between state and federal government.”
Apparently Governor Walker adamantly rejects the idea that drug testing for welfare is discrimination. He seems committed to this cause, regardless of what the federal government or statistics have told him.
The Failure of Drug-Testing for Food Stamps
As it stands now, federal law prohibits mandatory drug tests for food stamp recipients. Still, that doesn’t seem to bother Walker, who sued the federal government last year for the right to drug test food stamp recipients and those who receive unemployment benefits. In this campaign for a stricter policy, Walker claimed the drug testing was to be if there was “reasonable suspicion” of drug use. However, the suit was never able to gain any traction.
The kicker is, even if Walker were able to make his plan for drug testing for food stamps a reality, these kinds of programs have proven time and time again to be an excessive waste of money and resources.
Some of the States that Tried Drug Testing for Food Stamps
- In 2009, Arizona claimed that it would save $1.7 million annually by drug-testing welfare applicants. Yet after 6 years it had only saved approximately $4,000
- In 2013, Missouri spent $493,000 on similar testing, butrecorded just 20 positive results.
- In 2014, Mississippi launched a program drug testing for food stamps. Out of the first 5 months, only 38 people out of 3,656 were tested, and only 2 tested positive.
- Tennessee had a drug testing for food stamps program, but it only ended up denying 30 people out of 28,559 applicants. Again, the cost of testing outweighed the cost of benefits saved.
- Florida lost out BIG with their drug testing for food stamps program. The state recorded a loss of $45,780… after only a four-month period from July to October 2012!
Not to mention it was later revealed by the American Civil Liberties Union that Scott had spent $400,000 in taxpayer money to defend his program and appeal the court rulings that it was unconstitutional, a fight which he inevitably had to give up.
These are just a few examples of failed initiatives requiring drug testing for food stamps.
The Problem in the Programs
In a serious shade-throwing piece regarding Wisconsin’s run for drug testing for welfare, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack stated last year,
“Governor Walker hasn’t read the law. It’s always a good idea before you start litigation to understand what the law is.”
In a similar discussion in 2014, the USDA told the state of Georgia,
“Requiring SNAP applicants and recipients to pass a drug test in order to receive benefits would constitute an additional condition of eligibility, and therefore, is not allowable under law.”
This debate always comes to the argument of “if someone has to drug test to have a job, others should have to drug test to get taxpayer money in the form of welfare.” The reality is, not everyone has to drug test in order to get a job. Clearly, as these past few years we have seen a massive hike in drug abuse, overdose and drug-related fatalities. To insinuate that all these people are unemployed is just ridiculous.
My favorite idea was to require drug testing for the wealthy to receive tax breaks, but that idea didn’t get quite as much support from government officials for some weird reason.
Another side of that implication is why many are offended by these programs, because they believe it assumes everyone who is poor and needs government assistance is a drug user. Even beyond that, others say it is harsh to deny those who could possibly be struggling with drugs and condemn them to a cycle of crime and abuse.
Either way, Wisconsin’s governor seems pretty confident that the way to “Make America Great Again” is by drug testing for food stamps, no matter how many times it has been ineffective or far too expensive to justify.
An addict isn’t ‘scared straight’ by these kinds of tactics, and our country is seeing the importance of treatment instead of punishment. There is a way out, and Palm Partners is here to provide effective treatment for those willing to seek help. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free now.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
Author: Justin Mckibben
Drug testing applicants for welfare benefits is not a new concept. Over the past few years several states have attempted similar restrictions on providing benefits to welfare applicants. Each time the programs were initiated they were met with opposition and criticism, but as of later 2015 there were 12 states already with legislation requiring drug tests for welfare, and another 14 had proposed similar strategies. However drug testing for welfare does not have very supportive evidence backing it.
One state conducted a controlled study for implementing such a policy. The studies numbers have shown just how ineffective drug testing for welfare can be. For the last year Michigan tried to enforce its own drug test pilot program for welfare recipients. Guess how many people failed.
Go ahead… I’ll wait…
You guessed it (or read the title of this article) – Zero!
The Numbers of Michigan Drug Testing for Welfare
A while back the Michigan Legislature passed a law requiring the department to implement suspicion-based drug testing for cash assistance recipients. After the law was passed the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) created the Substance Use Disorder Pilot. In the year 2000 an earlier attempt at wholesale testing was ruled illegal in Michigan, but the pilot program was permitted to only drug test those who answers on a questionnaire indicated they might be drug users. The program was set up in three counties.
So, to clarify, not every single person who applied for welfare was drug tested. In fact, these numbers only take into account the people in these 3 counties that qualified for the pilot program. The numbers show that out of 443 potential candidates for the program:
- Only 27 were identified as potential drug users
- 10 of the 27 were exempt from testing because they already been enrolled in some type of treatment resource for drug use
- Of the remaining 17, only one participant was identified as requiring a suspicion-based drug test, but that case was then closed due to “unrelated reasons”
So what it all boils down to is the drug testing for welfare pilot program did not catch a single person in violation of the policy.
Motivation for Testing
One progressive idea in the Michigan drug testing for welfare pilot is that according to legislation, if a recipient tests positive, it does not mean a loss of benefits. However, the individual must agree to substance abuse counseling, covered by Medicaid. MDHHS Communications Manager Bob Wheaton spoke out in defense of the idea, stating:
“Our primary motivation for doing this is to help people who do have issues, so they can find employment,”
“If we’ve found someone has an issue and needs to undergo treatment, it’s because drug use could be a barrier to future job opportunities that would help a recipient stop relying on benefits.”
This is a somewhat refreshing perspective on the concept. Instead of blocking the assistance, the idea was essentially to make other help available. Still, it does almost sound like blackmail for benefits. So far, there has been no confirmation as to whether Michigan will continue the pilot program.
Should People Drug Test for Welfare?
While several states have enacted their own measures for drug testing for welfare, many have denounced it as a practice that enforces stereotypes. The idea that only poor people are drug addicts or are using government money to buy illegal substances is a very controversial narrative. Yet, several similar programs have seen very similar results, meaning a lot of taxpayers have covered the costs of drug testing for welfare, only to find that the programs have wasted far more money than the states ever would have paid out in benefits. Some of these states include:
One organization’s nationwide analysis determined that in 2015, states spent almost $1 million on drug testing for welfare. To add insult to injury, almost all of them found less than 0.4% of recipients were guilty. In some cases, like Governor Rick Scott in Florida, officials threw away thousands upon thousands more to fight courts to keep their ineffective programs. Luckily, Michigan’s pilot only cost the state $700.
So we ask, should there be drug testing for welfare? If you have social media surely you see people make bold statements about drug testing for food stamps and the like.
The truth is results in numerous sections of the nation suggest there isn’t a correlation between drug use and being on government assistance. The statistics simply do not exist to support this prejudice. People can pretend to be better than, but they are missing the facts; that the government has already wasted a lot of everyone’s money trying to prove their point, and they were wrong.
Drug testing for welfare is another way that stigma has prevented progress for many struggling to overcome addiction. However, offering treatment seems like a good resource to offer. Safe and effective treatment can make all the difference, and too many people have to go without such treatment. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now!
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)
Author: Justin Mckibben
There is no typo in the title. We are talking about requiring the top 1% to submit to drug testing to get their special tax treatment! As I read this story, I wonder if anyone even honestly entertains this. Not because I think it’s a bad idea, but because it seems so unlikely to actually succeed. Still, there is a Congresswoman who is pushing to make it happen.
So what brought this about, what would it mean for the rich and would it actually change things?
Fanning the Flames
What brought this idea about? Well, for years now Republicans seem to have become obsessed with drug testing the poor. Across the country lawmakers attempted to establish regulations for recipients of food stamps and welfare to make sure those who would be recreational drug users would not get these benefits. Examples:
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker created legislation requiring those who applied for Temporary Assistant for Needy Families (TANF) to answer questions concerning their history of drug use. Based on the answers some would then have to submit to urinalysis to receive social aid.
You may remember we touched on Rick Scott, the Governor of Florida who pushed for a drug testing policy. However, in 4 months there were only 108 applicants out of 4,086 who actually tested positive for illegal drugs. This shows the policies are incredibly inefficient and expensive. Not to mention nowhere near cost-effective.
Tennessee had a drug testing policy for welfare and food stamps put in place. But after an entire year the program only denied 30 people out of 28,559 applications based on failed drug testing.
Time and time again trying to impose a rule, which many have described as blatantly discriminatory, to further inhibit the disenfranchised has proven expensive and embarrassing.
Drug Testing Double Standards
After all this, Democratic Representative Gwen Moore has decided she is sick of these one-sided and offensive regulations which she called “criminalization of poverty” being pushed by Republicans. So, to make a bold statement that challenges the double standard these kinds of drug testing policies seem to promote, she proposed a bill called “Top 1% Accountability Act” to level the field.
What is the aim of this ambitious act? Anyone claiming itemized tax deductions over $150,000 per year must pass a urinalysis in order to get full benefits. Moore thinks since the richest Americans take advantage of their tax breaks they should be held accountable for drug use.
Well, drug testing poor people in order for them to obtain social help is rooted in stigma, enforcing the idea that poor people are addicts. Moore isn’t making this stuff up. A variety of studies analyzing drug testing of welfare recipients show these people are no more likely to use drugs than the general population.
No More Rich VS Poor
In essence, if you want to say that the poor need to be clean in order to get help from the government, why should rich people get a pass for abuse illegal drugs when they ask for lenience on their taxes? If rich people can drug test the poor to save tax-payer dollars, isn’t it only fair that the richest people should be drug tested in order to save on the taxes they pay for all the hundreds of thousands they make?
Plus, if a poor person fails drug testing, there may be a little chunk of money saved from welfare and food stamps, but history has shown it is not even worth the expense of testing. But, if a rich person fails their drug testing they are going to pay a much larger chunk of change into taxes and helping the economy.
Plenty of states have already spent enough on programs to drug test for social assistance that don’t seem worth the effort, so maybe it’s time we move past stigma into a solution. Combating drug abuse and the fight against addiction can start with the right treatment program. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135