Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Reasonable Suspicion Training Myths for Supervisors: The Myth of the "Contact High"

"Man, I didn't smoke anything! It must have been a "contact high" because I was nearby!!" - You will hear this excuse someday after sitting through your DOT Supervisor Training class on Alcohol and Drug Education. You will feel confused and say, "wow, now what?" Here's what you need to know: In drug testing results, there is no such thing as a contact high. The reason is quite simple. It has to do with "Cutoff Level" also known as "Cutoff Concentration."  These terms refer the amount of a substance detectable in the urine or the bloodstream sample. Certain levels of concentration are decide upon, and if that threshold is not reached, the test is negative. The amount or the level of a substance in the body fluid that will trigger a positive test is measured in nanograms (That is one billionth of a gram!) per milliliter of urine. If an employee gives a sample and the concentration of the drug's metabiolite is greater than the decide up on level that indicates the person used, then a positive test is signaled. Anything lower is considered negative. "Contact highs" aren't measurable or at least will not reach the threshold! So an employee who tells you they were i in the wrong place at the wrong time is simply, well, "blowin' smoke" for lack of a better way to say it.

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