Major Drug Test Manufacturer Sidelines Marijuana for Fentanyl Detection

November 2nd, 2023 Safety & Education Ryan Spegal
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In light of the evolving legal landscape of cannabis across the United States, Psychemedics, a leading manufacturer of drug testing technology, has introduced an innovative screening panel that shifts focus from marijuana detection to identifying the presence of fentanyl and other controlled substances. This strategic pivot addresses the "relentless change and the pressing need to adapt" to the changing drug policies as more states embrace the legalization of cannabis.

The Advanced 5-Panel Drug Screen, as it is named, is poised to revolutionize how organizations ensure the safety and well-being of their workplaces. Psychemedics emphasizes that the updated screening panel places precedence on the critical threat posed by fentanyl, while concurrently enhancing the precision in detecting substances such as cocaine, opioids, PCP, and amphetamines. The company has confirmed that this revamped drug test has received approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Psychemedics, established in 1987 and a pioneer in hair testing technology, underscored the necessity for this evolution in a recent press release. The company cited the persistent labor shortage and the transformation of marijuana laws in 49 states as catalysts for this change. Traditional 5-panel drug tests, Psychemedics argued, are outdated and ineffective against the backdrop of today's drug market, particularly in detecting the increasingly prevalent drug, fentanyl.

Brian Hullinger, the President and CEO of Psychemedics, highlighted the dramatic shift in the workplace dynamics between marijuana and fentanyl. He stated that the Advanced 5-Panel has been crafted to bridge this gap and adapt to the changing landscape.

The announcement comes at a time when several legal cannabis states have implemented protections for employees who consume marijuana during their personal time. These laws prevent employers from taking punitive actions related to state-approved cannabis use. For instance, California and Michigan have recently passed policies that restrict employers from inquiring about or conducting pre-employment drug tests for marijuana use, respectively. Similarly, Washington State and Nevada have enacted legislation to prevent employment discrimination based on lawful marijuana use.

At the federal level, efforts to cease drug testing for marijuana among federal job applicants have faced obstacles, particularly in the House Rules Committee. Conversely, the Senate passed a defense bill in July, including provisions preventing intelligence agencies from denying security clearances based solely on past marijuana use. Additionally, a bipartisan bill was passed last month by the House Oversight and Accountability Committee, aiming to eliminate federal employment or security clearance denials based on past cannabis use.

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