Ohio Energy Officials Concerned With Number Of Applicants Failing Drug Tests


UPDATED: Wednesday January 16, 2013 6:47 PM


A young mother says she’s off drugs and working, but for six years, she was hooked on Percocets.

“I didn't know that when they called you back in for a second interview that they was going to drug-screen you right there,” said the woman. She asked that her name not be used for this story.

She tells 10TV that she lost out on nine jobs because she failed drug screenings.

"It just gets so frustrating when you can't get a job. It's so frustrating,” she added.

Rhonda Reba is frustrated too, but that’s because she’s trying to put people on the job.
"
We want to put people to work. People need these jobs. So, it becomes frustrating when that becomes our barrier,” said Reba, executive director for the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Program.

Reba is predicting 200,000 jobs being brought to Ohio in the next two years.

"We're starting to really ramp up. Our biggest projections are in 2014 and 2015,” said Reba.

The jobs come from new technologies that fracture shale for oil and gas. The jobs also come from other industries that support it.

They all require drug tests before workers are hired. Companies have told Reba that too many people can't pass.

“Of the applicants they've received, it has been between 10 and 60 percent (fail),” added Reba.

She said it's a problem that other businesses face too.  But she said it's especially tough for the energy industry since the work is mostly in rural areas, where there are fewer potential employees.

Reba speaks at high schools, colleges, and vocational schools and preaches the no-drug message.   

Quest Diagnostics, which does drug tests, found that the biggest problem is prescription drug abuse, particularly Oxycodone.

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