What is all this teenage lip balm bees-iness?

  By John Horton, Multimedia Specialist

   Imagine this: It’s cold outside; the weather has been dry for a while. Maybe your lips feel dry, starting to peel, even close to cracking. All the sudden, OUCH! It does crack while you are talking to someone on the phone or in person. What’s the first thing you reach for when it gets to that point? Most of us use lip balm to keep our lips nice and smooth during dry seasons, but now, some teenage kids out there seem to be using one particular brand for something else. They’re taking Burt’s Bees and rubbing it on a very sensitive area of their body: the eyelids. People who have participated in this activity call it “Beezin’” saying that it adds to the experience of being drunk or high.

What or how exactly does it add to the experience you ask? Let me try to answer it the best way I can understand it without actually trying it myself: when applied to the eyelids, the lip balm peppermint oil gives a cooling sensation and releases therapeutic fumes that is supposed to give the user a tingling, stinging sensation, and if the person is already under the influence of another intoxicant, such as alcohol, or drugs, the lip balm serves to enhance the high already being experienced from the other stimulants. This sensation might be derived from you either being too high, too drunk, or both to know that you are experiencing pain. Some might even go as far as saying that the pain is cancelling out the “high” feeling to a certain point.

Beside the fact that it’s just plain odd to put lip balm over your eyelid, what else could possibly be wrong with that? Well obviously if you were to look at the label, you would notice that it says Burt’s Bees lip balm is made of beeswax, vitamin E, and peppermint oil. If you were to do a little more research, you would find out that peppermint oil is, in fact, a very strong irritant and can cause inflammation in the eye, redness of the eye, or cause an allergic reaction. On top of all that, doctors say it could cause pink eye or other worse eye problems. For example, cold sores are caused by the herpes virus. Let’s just say that you used the lip balm on the cold sore and the your friend borrows the lip balm and puts it on their eyelid, the herpes virus (cold sore) could be transmitted from the lip balm to your friend’s eye, and they could go blind.

Some users believe that beezin’ is harmless because of the product is all-natural but while it claims to be 100 percent natural, using it for purposes other than its intended purpose could lead to serious medical conditions. Doctors warn that being all natural does not mean your health is not at risk. However, kids are apparently into beezin’ for the natural high it provides the “experience of being drunk or high.” Others have claimed that beezin’ during school helps them to stay alert during class.

I admit, being a teen has always involved various risky behaviors, but this newly popular trend has health officials totally dumbfounded. These days, kids are exposed to so many different trends online via social media, watching youtube, and reading about them in forums. Some begin experimenting without fully thinking of or knowing all the potential risks. This beezin’ trend appears to be in line with the use of drugs and alcohol abuse. That’s why we encourage parents to observe any sudden changes in their child’s behavior such as mood swings, increased sleeping, and possibly possessions in the case of money coming up missing.

While beezin’ isn’t illegal, experts say illicit drug use among U.S. teens remains high, due in large part to the increasing popularity of marijuana as of late. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), in 2012, 36 percent of U.S. 12th-graders had used marijuana at least once. While that was going on, the risk of smoking marijuana among 12th-graders has been in a decline, possibly from the recent legalization for the drug in the states of Colorado and Washington.

If there’s one thing for sure that you can count on when it comes to kids, it’s their creativity. Always looking for new ways and experimenting with new things. Although I do say that parents have more of a reason to be scared of this activity than their kids sneaking in after curfew, the outbreak of this activity has warranted a representative for the manufacturer of Burt’s Bees lip balm to come forward to release a statement recently in the New York Daily: “There are lots of natural things that probably shouldn’t go in eyes – dirt, twigs, leaves, food – and our lip balm. Burt’s Bees tests all of its products, including the Beeswax Lip Balm, to ensure they are safe for their intended use. We recommend that people use our products as directed and we will make every effort to ensure that the intended use of our lip balm is clearly communicated.”

If you have heard or noticed that your child has been involved with beezin, that may be reason enough to have them tested for drugs or alcohol. Granted, not every child who does this activity may be abusing drugs and alcohol, but should you notice some changes in their behavior or personality, you may need to test. Visit our website at http://www.orderdrugtests.com to find out more about testing devices, you can call and speak to our friendly knowledgeable sales consultants at (888) 404-0020 weekdays 8am to 4pm CDT or send an email to sales@rapiddetect.com anytime.

Can you get a false positive with Electronic Cigarettes?

Can you get a false positive with Electronic Cigarettes?

By John Horton, Media Specialist

 In a recent published study from researchers at the Ohio State University, the average cost of an employee that smokes is $5,816 per year when compared with a nonsmoking employee. Let’s break this down into details: it’s estimated that $3,077 of that resulted from taking an average of five smoking breaks per day. That’s a loss in productivity when compared with the average of three breaks for most workers. An additional $2,056 is the cost of excess health care expenses. In general, smokers have more health problems that nonsmokers, including heart and lung disease along with various types of cancers. The remaining costs came from increased absenteeism – the researchers found that smokers miss about two-and-a-half extra workdays each year – and lost productivity at work, perhaps because of nicotine’s withdrawal effects. The findings appeared online in June 2013 in the journal “Tobacco Control”.

With this revealing statistic, it makes sense for employers to encourage their workers to use Electronic Cigarettes (a.k.a E-Cigs) during their time at work. Not only does it save time, but also keeps productivity up, keeps cost down, and let’s not forget to mention the smell of smoke goes away. E-cigarettes have a similar appearance of real cigarettes. The device usually has a battery, a cartridge that contains nicotine, a small amount of propylene glycol or glycerine mixed with water, and an Atomizer that turns the liquid into a fine mist or vapor so you can inhale it. Upon inhalation, it delivers a dose of nicotine into the lungs of the smoker and residual aerosol is exhaled into the environment. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported recently that use of electronic cigarettes rose from about 10% in 2010 to about 21% in 2011 among adults who smoked combustible cigarettes.

Now keep in mind, the main ingredient in E-Cig liquid is propylene Glycol (PG). Some of the studies on inhalation of propylene glycol have shown that about 5% of people have minor allergic reactions with extended inhalation, resulting with the development of an alternate PG-free liquids have been developed that use polyethelene glycol (PEG) and/or vegetable glycerin (VG). And probably one of the most interesting features is the fact that the consumer can purchase a variety of flavor liquids that can smell like almost anything other than actual cigarette smoke. However, there is a growing problem with E-Cigs that some smokers are adding in a new ingredient into the mixture: Alcohol.

Using clear alcohol (Vodka, Everclear, ect) with PG or VG (which ever they choose) for extra flavor and smoking is a very risky procedure. If mixed right, the alcohol won’t completely evaporate and the smoker can consume low amounts of alcohol. Granted, it’s not really a lot, but after a few E-cigs, it can leave its mark and if you have to take an alcohol test, you might fail it. In other words, a false positive is possible. Not only that, over time, even at the “right mixture” it can cause some serious problems down the road, damage to your lungs, and even explosions are possible.

But don’t think you are out of the woods just by using PG or VG because they are still in the alcohol family, albeit small percentage amount. E-Cigarettes lack regulation, meaning the actual substances used and how much the user inhales is left up to the manufacturer. The World Health Organization (WHO) is worried about the use of e-cigarettes and the idea that the lack of smoke make the devices safer. According to their website: “This illusive ‘safety’ of ENDS [electronic nicotine delivery systems]can be enticing to consumers; however, the chemicals used in electronic cigarettes have not been fully disclosed, and there are no adequate data on their emissions.” Although a recent study at the European Respiratory Annual Congress measured how effectively a group of smokers and non-smokers were able to bring air into their lungs before and after sing an e-cigarette. The results showed a significant increase in the ease of how air enters the lungs among most of those studied after they inhaled the E-Cig’s mist. One particular ingredient that everyone seems to be most concerned with is Diacetyl.

Diacetyl is harmful when burned or inhaled over time. In the United States, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has stated that Diacetyl (also called butanedione or 2,3-butanedione, molecular formula C4H6O2) is a natural byproduct of fermentation and it is synthesized by chemical manufacturers. Diacetyl gives butter and certain food flavorings a distinctive buttery flavor and aroma. Snack foods (i.e. microwave popcorn), candies, baked goods, and some pet foods contain Diacetyl. The good news is that in the past few years, it seems that at least half of all the E-Cig flavor manufacturers have cut back on using Diacetyl as one of their ingredients.

By now you’re probably thinking that we are bashing E-Cigs, but the fact is we are not. This article is to bring awareness to something that could be causing a false positive to your alcohol tests. The next time you test for alcohol, let the administrator know you use and E-Cig and if you use alcohol as a flavor. If you are the one administrating the test, remember to ask if the donor uses E-Cigs. If you are thinking about implementing a Nicotine (Cotinine) or Alcohol test as part of your drug policies, call to speak with one of our friendly knowledgeable sales consultants by calling (888) 404-0020 or email sales@rapiddetect.com. They’ll be happy to answer any of your questions. For all your other drug testing needs, we invite you to look at our website at www.orderdrugtests.com anytime 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Why should you test for Nicotine?

Why should you test for Nicotine?

By John Horton, Media Specialist

    “Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em” seems to be fading away with all the smoking bans going on the the city, state, and federal buildings around the country. It seems there is a growing trend as Nicotine tests are popping up in the workplace. So why is there such a growing demand for this type of testing? Let’s see if we can run down a few of these reasons to answer your question.

To know why you should test for Nicotine, you must first know where it originates. Nicotine is (what some would say) a highly addictive chemical substance that is derived from certain specific plants within the flowering nightshade plant family named Solanaceae, which acts as a stimulant in tobacco containing products such as cigarettes, chews, cigar, and snuff. It may also be in small quantities in eggplants, tomatoes, potatoes, and green peppers. Depending on one’s mood, smoking can be either stimulating or relaxing considering the dosage of nicotine acting on the central and peripheral nervous system. The rapid effects of nicotine include:

  • Increases in blood pressure and heart rate
  • Faster respiration
  • Constriction of arteries
  • Stimulation of the central nervous system

Although it does have its uses, for example gardeners and farmers know that nicotine has it’s uses: a quick squirt of nicotine solutions keeps the pests at bay.

Since health insurance seems to be a hot topic now days, one of the things that insurance companies check for (other than your previous and current condition) is nicotine. If you are a smoker and come back positive for it, you might end up paying a higher premium than a not smoker will. If you are considering on getting Live Insurance, chances are pricing varies drastically between providers according to their “perceived risk” of death within a period of estimated time. It’s believed among the insurance industry that “Tobacco” policy holders are the most expensive policy holders. Live and Health Insurance companies will use nicotine testing to determine if an individual qualifies to be a “tobacco” policy holder.

If you work for an employer who offers insurance as a benefit, chances are your employer will want to know if you smoke or not because that means they will have to pay part of that higher premium. If a company wants to save money by shaving off a nickel or dime here and there, this could be one place they’ll look into. On the other hand, some companies across different industries are including nicotine testing as part of the pre-screen drug testing policy. Not hiring smokers is one way for employers to lower their future health costs. Although let’s be fair about this since the U.S. Supreme Court has yet to rule on whether nicotine addiction is a disability or not. In addition to individual states laws banning smoking in certain places, employers must also strongly consider the fact that invasion of privacy claims often arise when an employer attempts to control the off-duty conduct of its employees.

Many healthcare businesses are starting to test for nicotine as part of their pre-employment screening and random drug testing policies. Healthcare workers have been known to lose their jobs because they couldn’t pass their nicotine tests. In our home state of Oklahoma, state law says there shall be no smoking located within 25 feet of any entrance or exit of any Healthcare Facility. Healthcare Facilities including, but not limited to, hospitals, nursing homes, long-term care facilities, kidney disease treatment centers, health maintenance organizations, and ambulatory treatment centers. Some health care employers insist they are not hiring smokers because their patients complain about the smell of smoke on the clothes of employees. Imagine what it would be like if you were the one that was being admitted with asthmatic problems.

It’s estimated that half of those who smoke will most likely die due to a tobacco related illness. With that in mind, evidence also shows prisoners that die from smoking related cancers are at a higher rate than the general community. With tobacco products now banned by the Federal Bureau of Prisons and the majority of state prison systems, that statistic may change. Granted that would seriously jeopardize the financial infrastructure currently in place because many of the inmates use cigarettes as a form of currency. Studies have shown that banning indoor smoking has reduced prisoners’ cigarette consumption while making the air cleaner indoors for everyone, including the prison guards and other staff. On that note, it’s also reported that there is an increased use of unfiltered cigarettes during incarceration. Therefore, nicotine testing has become a part of random drug testing policy for these prisons.

It’s good to remember that sometimes a nicotine test can have a false positive result from some people who have never smoked when you include factors like certain food products, medications, and chemicals present in the environment can increase levels of Thiocyanate in the body. Thiocyanate is the metabolite of cyanide and the result of detoxification of hydrogen cyanide present in cigarette smoke. This can make up false positives for nicotine in blood tests. Corn, broccoli, garlic, radishes, almonds, horseradish, cabbage, and mustard can all contain nicotine-like ingredients that could cause a false positive on a test. Vegetarians can have higher rates of false positives than others considering they consume more of these types of foods. However, people who work with certain metals can also be exposed to a chemical that causes a false nicotine blood test. This includes electroplaters and working with precious metals.

If you are thinking about implementing a nicotine test as part of your drug screening process for potential employees, call to speak with one of our friendly knowledgeable sales consultants by calling (888) 404-0020 weekdays from 8am to 4pm CST or send an email to sales@rapiddetect.com. They’ll be happy to answer any of your questions. For all your other drug testing needs, we invite you to look at our website at www.orderdrugtests.com anytime 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Why should I test for K2 “Spice”?

That seems to be a loaded question now days. Think about this for a moment: A mother called us a while back pretty concerned over her two boys. She said they had been caught smoking a thing called K2 and wanted to know what some of the side effects were. That seemed understandable since she had every reason to be worried. She went on to say that after talking with them about it, the boys agreed to not do it again. However, she noticed mood swings and watched their strange behavior from time to time. Needless to say she felt very uncomfortable and asked if there was a test that she could have them take to see if the boys where still doing K2.

Just because someone isn’t smoking marijuana doesn’t mean they’re not getting high from smoking something else. Even Nicotine will give a slight “high” with the possibility of getting you hooked. The effect that a person comes to experience is a state of Euphoria, but without having any hallucinations. However, it has been known to be very hazardous to one’s health due to the various chemicals used in the process of making K2. It’s not easy to keep up with all the chemicals used to make it, therefore allowing difficulty on tracing down the source.

The actual K2 blend looks somewhat similar to marijuana, oregano, and tobacco. Some say making a version K2 is a fairly easy process depending on its ingredients. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement say that one recipe for Spice consists of dried lettuce leaves mixed with a fertilizer that has been laced with some sort of Synthetic Cannabinoids, a class of designer drugs that are commonly found in head shops, tobacco stores, and sold over the Internet.

On the internet, K2 “Spice” is often referred to by many names, including “Black Mamba”, “Bombay Blue”, “Moon Rocks”, “Skunk”, and “Tucatan Fire” just to name a few. They are often labeled “not for human consumption” although the most common methods of usage are either inhalation or oral ingestion. It’s been documented that regular users have experienced withdrawal and addiction symptoms. Since the compounds are stored in the body for a long period of time, long-term effects on humans are not entirely known. Even though tolerance to these agents may develop rapidly, it might also bring dependence.

K2 “Spice” usage has been steadily on the rise mainly among teenagers to young adults. In 2010, the American Association of Poison Control Centers had claimed to receive 2,906 calls related to synthetic cannabinoids. In 2011, the number of calls received increased to nearly three times as much, 6,959. Finally, on July 9, 2012, President Obama signed the Synthetic Drug Abuse Prevention Act into law in which bans synthetic compounds commonly found in synthetic marijuana. K2 Spice is now considered under Schedule I of the Controlled Substance Act.