Oil Bust, Drug Testing Boom

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ODESSA, TX (KMID/ KPEJ) — Drug testing company says they’re seeing a huge spike in business.
“We saw a lot more randoms, a lot more lockdowns, a lot more new customers calling us,” Permian Basin Drug and Alcohol Testing President Kellie Britton said.
When oil took a turn for the worst back in May 2015, the Permian Basin Drug and Alcohol Testing center saw a 20% spike in business.
“A lot of these companies are hurting a little bit more, so they are using us to weed out the people that are not able to pass a drug test,” Britton said.
President Kellie Britton says lots of tests coming back positive for Cocaine, Marijuana, Methamphetamines and even synthetic drugs.
“When we come in, and we lock all the doors and say you can’t leave until you drug test, they’re very shocked,” Britton said.
Drug testing at companies with anywhere from five to 200 employees that have to go into lockdown mode.
“Doors are locked, nobody’s off premises, until we get done testing everybody,” Britton said.
The Palmer Drug Abuse Program in downtown Midland usually treats teens, but since the oil downturn they’re seeing a different crowd.  
“We have had a lot of phone calls from people who are much older, looking for help,” Executive Director of Palmer Drug Abuse Program Michele Savage said.
Executive Director Michele Savage tells me she’s not surprised to see the increase.
“People have known for a long time, who has trouble with alcohol and other drugs, but maybe they tolerated more because they needed the workers,” Savage said.
The drug testing company says when oil is up, testing often gets pushed aside.
“In the past years, where the oilfield went down, we would get slow, just as much as the oilfield would because they depend on us for all your new hires,” Britton said.
That’s simply not the case anymore. When times are tough company creativity comes into play to cut costs.

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