A Publication of WTVP

Every workplace and every worker has at least one humorous story to tell. The world of workers’ compensation and drug screening is no different. In my 12+ years of working in the world of Illinois workers’ compensation, the humor—sometimes the sad humor—comes almost daily.

There’s nothing objectively humorous about getting injured on the job or testing positive for illegal drugs, but there are those moments when the circumstances surrounding the event bring a smile to my face. I thought I would share a drug testing story or two with you (as offered to me) and hopefully cause a chuckle during your day. Consider this my “@ Work” from this month’s Reader’s Digest.

The drug screening process is very regimented. From the individual emptying his or her pockets prior to providing the specimen to signing a sealed bottle of that specimen, the process is completed the same way every time. That being said, there are people who try to subvert the system, i.e., cheat on the drug test.

One day, a young man came into our facility needing to complete a drug test and physical. After providing a specimen for the drug test, he was ushered into an exam room for his physical. As every guy knows, the uncomfortable part of a complete physical is the hernia check. But on this particular day, the hernia check was a little more uncomfortable for this potential worker.

Our provider entered the exam room and after completing much of the physical, asked the gentleman to drop his trousers for the dreaded check. The individual, with much apprehension, did so only to have a medication bottle fall out of his underwear and bounce across the floor. Our provider picked up the bottle, which had obvious remnants of a drug test specimen still in it, and inquired about the bottle. The gentleman nervously explained that it was customary for him to carry his medications in his underwear. Funny, I would have thought of that as rather uncomfortable.

The second story comes from the world of drug testing medical review work a few years ago. Like the collection process, the medical review process is regimented. If a test comes back from the lab as positive, a trained professional must speak with the person in question to seek an explanation, review their legal rights, etc.
On one particular occasion, a worker was contacted regarding his specimen that tested positive for cocaine. When the provider called the individual to discuss the results, he first asked what the test showed positive for (not necessarily a good sign for this person). When he was informed that it was cocaine, he asked if there was anything else (again, not a good sign). He was informed that there was not, to which he replied in a stereotypical “surfer dude” voice, “No way, man…I was smokin’ some serious _ _ _ _!” (Expletive removed by yours truly).

Have a great day.