Archive for the 'Human Resources' Category

Bath Salts? It’s really a drug and it’s legal!

By now most people have heard of Synthetic Cannabinoids, i.e. K-2, Spice, etc. The newest craze is Bath Salts – watch Dr. Oz report on this.



ExperTox Opens New Lab

Have you ever wondered how a true forensic lab runs? If you are in the Houston area, we would like to invite you to visit us at our Open House on June 16, 2011. See more information at the link below.

Open House Invite

Our state of the art laboratory was designed by President Loretta Anderson and RGR Partnership, LTD and constructed by Tribble and Associates Contractors. The new lab space has over 3100 square feet with the option to utilize an additional 5000 square feet of off-site storage as needed.

The lab was designed with optimal work flow, employee convenience and with environmental sensitivity in mind.  There are separate departments for accessioning, specimen preparation, screening, EIA, ELISA, Heavy Metals ICP-MS, GC/MC, LC/MS, extraction hoods and analyzing (test data). In addition, there is a dedicated department for Certifying Scientist for reporting results.


The Dangers of Energy Drinks and Alcohol

When you consume a combination of Uppers and Downers, do they cancel each other out?

The answer is No. Since the latest fad drink, Four Loko, hit the scene, red flags have been raised with law enforcement and physicians around the country. Why are they worried about this drink?

Mixing caffeine with alcohol is nothing new. Party goers and bar patrons have been combining these two substances ever since energy drinks hit the market. But it wasn’t until recently that they were both sold in one colorful can.

The “Four” in Four Loko came from the main ingredients: alcohol, caffeine, taurine and guarana. These drinks also include carbonated water, sugar and natural and artificial flavoring.

Taurine is an organic acid. Despite being present in many energy foods, it has not been proven to be energy giving.

Guarana is an effective stimulant that contains twice the caffeine found in coffee beans. A review published by the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association states that the amounts of taurine and guarana found in popular energy drinks are far below the amounts expected to deliver therapeutic benefits or unfavorable actions. But like most things in excess, too much guarana may contribute (alone or in combination with caffeine and taurine) to onset of seizures in some people.

Caffeine is a stimulant. It increases blood pressure and heart rate. Caffeine can cause headaches, jitteriness, agitation, stomach problems and abnormal breathing. It’s the equivalent of an adrenaline rush.

On the other hand, alcohol is a depressant. Alcohol slows down the brain’s functioning and impairs one’s ability to walk, talk and think clearly. Combined, the stimulant and the depressant do not cancel each other out. “Some people have the idea that the caffeine will negate the effect of alcohol, but that’s simply not true,” said Glenn Whelan, assistant professor at the University of South Florida’s College of Pharmacy.

According to Dr. Anthony Cardell, a cardiologist at Centre Medical and Surgical Associates, consuming one can (of Four Loko) equals about three glasses of wine or three to four bottles of beer. The caffeine content is about 135 milligrams, which is the equivalent of three cola sodas, one and a half Red Bulls or one cup of Starbucks coffee.

The main problem is that caffeine appears to override the natural sleepiness that occurs when someone drinks alcohol. Caffeine also postpones that feeling of drunkenness, so those who mix alcohol and caffeine in a drink are likely to keep drinking beyond their normal limits.

Scientists aren’t exactly sure how the body processes the mixture of caffeine and alcohol because the combination (based on the quantity found in alcoholic energy drinks) is too dangerous to test on humans in scientific experiments.

Researchers from the University of Florida conducted a study in 2008 where they interviewed college-age adults leaving bars. They found that bar patrons who reported drinking alcohol mixed with energy drinks (6.5 percent of study participants) were three times more likely to be intoxicated than the drinkers who consumed alcohol only. The average breath-alcohol concentration reading for those who mixed alcohol and energy drinks, was 0.109. Consumers of energy drink cocktails also left bars later at night, drank for longer periods of time, ingested more grams of ethanol and were four times more likely to express an intention to drive within an hour than patrons who drank alcohol only.

Like the conclusion in most of the articles written on this subject, the fact is, you should always drink responsibly. If you choose to drink, know what you are consuming. Know the dangers of mixing alcohol and caffeine. On the home page of the Four Loko website, their is information on how to drink responsibly and several links to responsible drinking resources.


  • Clauson, KA; Shields, KM; McQueen, CE; Persad, N. “Safety issues associated with commercially available energy drinks”. Journal of the American Pharmacists Association : JAPhA 48 (3): e55–63
  • Johannes, Laura (March 2, 2010). “Can a Caffeine-Packed Plant Give a Boost?”. The Wall Street Journal: p. D3
  • Iyadurai SJ, Chung SS (May 2007). “New-onset seizures in adults: possible association with consumption of popular energy drinks”. Epilepsy Behav 10 (3): 504–8
  • “Dicey alcohol-caffeine mix not fully understood” Article from: The Washington Post Article date: December 5, 2010 Author: Linda Shrieves Copyright

Comprehensive K2 Legislation in TX

Read more about the new bill being brought to the Texas Senate this week. It is the most comprehensive bill in the country!

Back to School and Immunizations

August is National Immunization Awareness month.  This is the perfect time to remind family, friends and co-workers about immunizations.  Parents are enrolling their children in school, young adults are preparing to enter college and employers are planning for this year’s flu season. 

Vaccines offer safe and effective protection from many infectious diseases.  Getting immunized is a life-long life protecting community effort, everyone from infants to the elderly need to keep current on their immunizations.   Immunization is one of the most significant public health achievements in the past century.  Several diseases such as small pox and polio have been eradicated due to vaccines.  There are still cases of measles, diphtheria, rubella (chicken pox), and pertussis  (whooping cough) in the  U.S. and adults and children still die from these and other vaccine preventable diseases.

Children attending school in Texas are required to have been vaccinated for 9 communicable diseases.  Children going into daycare have to be vaccinated for a total of 12 diseases.  Young adults entering college should check with the registrar’s office to find out what immunizations are required before enrollment.  Not all colleges and universities have immunization requirements but there are recommendations for students who will be living in dormitories.  Your state’s Department of Health website will have all the information you need for immunizations.

The state of Texas grants and acknowledges the rights of a parent to exempt their children from vaccination requirements for school, daycare and college for reasons of religious beliefs or medical reasons.  In 2003 the Texas legislature passed changes that expanded reasons a parent can claim an exemption.  This process is complicated and time consuming.  If you plan to have your child exempt from vaccination requirements don’t wait until the last minute.  Check with your state’s Department of Health to obtain the official forms and instructions to complete this process.

Now is also a good time to remind any senior citizens in your life to check with their health care providers in regard to flu and pneumonia vaccine.  Children and the elderly are most at risk for communicable diseases.

Health insurances will cover immunization costs.  If you are uninsured check with your city/county health department on where you can go to get reduced cost or free vaccinations.  In Texas you can call 211Texas toll free to get this information.  You can also call the Immunization Branch Customer Service number (800) 252-9152 if you have any questions or need more information about immunizations.

Lou Ann Enis, Registered Nurse and Occupational Health Supervisor

K-2 on the Houston News

As I was getting ready for work this morning, I saw this clip on the news and thought I would share it as it directly relates to the previous blog.

How Safe is Spice or K-2?

One of my friends had surgery recently and has really had a very difficult time dealing with the pain from the surgery. Yesterday she made a comment on her Face Book page that she was going to ask her doctor for a prescription for a stronger pain medication. Someone “jokingly” recommended that she go buy some “Spice” since it is supposed to have the same effects as THC and is legal in Texas.

My heart about went to my throat! Knowing that we test for not only JWH-018 but also an entire Synthetic Cannabinoid panel and having done some reading on these substances I was hoping and praying that my friend would not follow through with that.

The reality is that no one really knows what the long term effects of using these synthetic cannabinoids have on the human body.  According to Marilyn Huestis, PhD, chief of chemistry and drug metabolism at the National Institute for Drug Abuse,  “When you take these drugs, you are hijacking the part of the brain important for many functions: temperature control, food intake, perception, memory, and problem solving, and people taking these high-potency drugs are affecting other important functions throughout their bodies — hormone functions, for example.” To see more about the possible effects go to

The standard drug tests do not detect for these synthetic cannabinoid drugs. It requires a specialized testing process. So many people are using this as a substitute for marijuana and when going for either pre-employment or random drug tests, testing negative.

Currently JWH-018 and the other Synthetic Cannabinoid drugs are not federally controlled in the United States. However, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency it is labeled as a “Drug and chemical of Concern” in 2009. While it may not be federally controlled, several states have passed or proposed legislative action against spice and some cannabinoids.

Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, North Dakota and Tennessee it is illegal (either to have in your possession or the sale of JWH-018 and/or other synthetic cannanbinoids) in all or parts of these states. The following states have either legislation proposed or impending enaction against JWH-018 and/or other synthetic cannanbinoids: Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, New York, Texas and Utah.

One Source…Numerous Options…Differences That Matter!

ExperTox® is a recognized forensic toxicology laboratory, combining advanced technology and science with a human heart.

We use our scientific expertise to provide our customers answers to their substance abuse, use and exposure questions.

We focus our personal character on supporting, caring for and understanding what our clients are going through as they contemplate and proceed through the testing process.

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