Wednesday, December 20, 2006


There was another article about our school drug test in Illinois today. You can read the article by clicking the link here.

A few things came to mind as I read the article.

One is that we have a lot of respect for the work that drug dogs and their handlers do. It is truly amazing what these dogs are capable of doing. I hope the article and its focus on the comments of former Lebanon canine patrolman J.D. Beil don’t give anyone the impression that we think the drug dogs are useless. I'm sorry if that's how Patrolman Beil feels, but nothing could be further from the truth.

We are in favor of using whatever tools a school (or parent or business) has at its disposal to detect and deter drug abuse. Especially when it is in teenagers. There are plenty of options out there. Some schools use drug dogs, some schools do random urine testing, some schools sponsor drug education and prevention programs, some schools use DrugWipe, and some schools use a combination of these methods.

We obviously believe there are advantages to using DrugWipe. However, this is not a one or the other, us vs. them situation. It’s about using the available resources effectively to catch drug problems in our youth as early as possible so they get the help they need to lead full, productive lives.

I'd also like to address the comment about finding traces of drugs on paper currency taken out of the wallets of school board members. I think it leaves the impression that DrugWipe is so sensitive that it can detect residue on paper currency, thus can provide misleading results. That’s not the case.

When the technology was originally developed, it was sensitive enough to detect the miniscule amounts of drugs on paper currency. But the manufacturer realized that this would cause problems, including false positives. To avoid this issue of “background contamination”, the manufacturer bumped up the sensitivity of DrugWipe to the nanogram level - one billionth of a gram. At this level DrugWipe is finding narcotic residue from those who are actively engaged in the use or trafficking of illegal drugs. So while a $20 bill that was recently used by someone to snort a line of cocaine would most likely test positive with DrugWipe, the vast majority of bills in circulation would not!

Lastly, to me, the most positive part of the article was the statement that there has “been much talk around town” about our surface assessment at Lebanon High School. That’s awesome. The more people talk about drugs and drug abuse (especially when it’s between parents and their kids), the better. There's a statistic that indicates that talking to your teen on a regular basis about the dangers of drugs cuts their likelihood of using drugs by 42%.

So, please, whether you’re in Lebanon or anywhere else, keep talking!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

How To Cook Cocaine

The other week, I posted a fascinating video about how cocaine is made. This is another video that picks up the process from where the other one left off. Amazing.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


In this interesting article from November 2004 Inc. Magazine author and serial entrepreneur Norm Brodsky talks about his experiences in establishing a drug testing policy in one of his companies.

I can talk and talk about the negative effects of drugs in the workplace and the positive effects that drug testing has until I'm red in the face. Sometimes it's more effective to let others do your talking for you and Mr. Brodsky does that quite nicely in this article. When it comes to implementing an effective drug testing policy, many business owners are afraid of the costs of the program, the legal issues, having to fire employees, and other factors. Mr. Brodsky was too. But he went forward with drug testing anyway and here's an excerpt of what the result was:

Although we offered the others drug treatment and a chance to reapply for a job, we got no takers. Overall, we wound up losing about 25% of our work force -- fewer than we'd feared, but a significant number nonetheless.

Yet the drug testing did work. The accident rate declined, as did the incidence of petty theft. Even more gratifying was the response of the employees who remained: They thanked us. They said they felt safer. Only then did I begin to appreciate the real importance of having a drug-free company. It wasn't just about reducing our liability, or even keeping someone from getting hurt, as much as we wanted to do both. It was also about creating a better working environment for the other employees, the ones on whom we depend most heavily, the people we absolutely must figure out how to keep.

And on top of that, we got a bonus. Our drug-testing program made us more attractive to insurers, allowing us to move our policies to a better provider. Over time, moreover, a lower accident rate would translate into lower workers' comp costs.