The opioid crisis in the United States is nothing new. The cases of people abusing opioids in America came to the forefront in 2016, and has remained a bullet point from the White House on down since. But now the Alliance for Driver Safety and Security has announced that it is going to push for more stringent testing for opioids among drivers in the trucking industry.
The Opioid Crisis Hits Truckers
Career truckers in the United States are very familiar with chronic pain. Long hauls and stress lead to muscular, nerve, and joint pain. Far too frequently, doctors have been prescribing opioids to truckers to overcome the pain and allow them to do their jobs. Unfortunately, many of these prescriptions are easily renewed, thus encouraging an addiction to the drugs and a decrease, sometimes fatally so, in performance. On the other side of the coin, truckers find themselves at risk to muggings for prescriptions of opioids because of the current crisis in the country. Rest areas are frequently targeted by people looking for opioid medication, and are not above committing crimes against truckers to get their next fix.
Trucking Goes To The United Nations
The Trucking Alliance, earlier this month, spoke at the United Nations regarding the opioid crisis. In 2017 alone, over 1200 applicant drivers failed pre-employment screening for opioids. Morphine-ased painkillers, Oxycotin, Fentanyl, Methodone, and even lesser drugs, such as coedine, are prone to being abused by drivers on the road. Oddly, unless applicants take their prescriptions within hours of grug testing, the residuals are often missed.
Maverick USA, a transportation and logistics company based out of Arkansas, is spearheading the movement for strict drug testing for truck drivers. As various groups and agencies scramble to find a solutions to the opioid crisis in the United States, trucking companies are leveraging their positions in the private sector to head off concerns at the hiring stage. Current tests do not identify career abusers of opioids, but new developments in urine and hair analysis can identify opioid users who fall outside of prescription use.
Looking To The Future
No one can say if the focus on the opioid crisis is a passing hot-button issue, or if it will be curbed by emerging testing procedures. What we do know, is that if stricter testing is implemented, we need a way a differentiating truckers who are legitimately using prescriptions and those who are potentially placing drivers in a bad light.