Crystal meth use by workers at seven-year low - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Crystal meth use by workers at seven-year low

Carl Linden Carl Linden
Cindy Adams Cindy Adams

By Jim Mendoza - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - From April through June, tests for crystal methamphetamine were done on thousands of workers and potential employees. The results show meth use in the work place at .4 percent -- the lowest level since 2004 when Diagnostic Laboratory Services began reporting the number.

DLS performs the tests for up to 1,000 Hawaii Companies.

"From transportation to retail to restaurant to manufacturing and construction and tourism. They're pretty much all there," DLS Director of Toxicology Carl Linden said.

The lab tested between 5,000 and 10,000 work force urine samples.

Anti-meth advocates are encouraged meth use in the work place fell from 1.1 percent in the first quarter of 2011.

"When somebody is absent from work there's cost to the employer. But it also impacts the morale of the people who are left to pick up that work load. There's potentially stealing in the work place" said Cindy Adams, executive director of the Hawaii Meth Project.

But there's an asterisk attached to the latest meth report. DLS also found an increase in people substituting synthetic urine for the real thing to hide drug use.

"What we don't know is what positive drug that synthetic group would fall in," Linden said. "The assumption is that some of those are in the crystal meth category. That's another reason why you need to look at the whole picture when you see the drop in crystal meth."

Linden cautions there's another reason not to celebrate too loudly. The last time the meth stat fell it jumped the following quarter.

"Substance abuse seems to be very ingrained in our society. So we need to see long term trends," he said.

"This problem is not something that can turn itself on a dime in terms of resolving itself," Adams said. "It's been around in Hawaii for a very long time. It's going to take a fair amount of effort to get this change to be substantial and long lasting."

DLS has started the next round of testing for crystal meth in the work place. The third quarter report will be out in October.

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