News Home
Quick Bites
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
On AirNewsClassical
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Northeast Ohio Medical University

Meaden & Moore

For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )

Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Economy and Business

Drug tests and drilling jobs are often in conflict
Half or more of the would be fracking workers are rejected for bad drug-tests

Ohio is expected to see a hiring boom connecting to drilling, but drug tests may disqualify half the applicants.
Courtesy of TIM RUDDELL
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:

Drilling for oil and gas in Ohio's shale is expected to ramp up in the next two years. But, industry leaders say they've hit a snag: Too few potential workers can pass a required drug screen. For Ohio Public Radio, WOSU Tom Borgerding has more.

BOGERDING: Oil fields and drug tests

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (2:56)

The richest deposits of oil and natural gas in Ohio’s Utica shale formation are believed to be in the counties in the east, in the foothills of Appalachia. There’s a growing demand for workers there. But industry officials say too few qualify, in part, because they cannot pass a required drug screen.

“This is becoming a bigger problem, or people are finally being made aware that this is a bigger problem than we ever realized,” says Rhonda Reda. 

Reda is head of the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program. She says abuse of prescription and illegal drugs makes it difficult to find enough workers. She says companies are reporting a rejection rate of applicants tied to drug use as high as 60 percent.

Who do you want operating that crane
Reda’s organization operates training programs throughout eastern Ohio. She says the industry is in a race against time. So far, it’s added about 39,000 jobs in Ohio but she predicts thousands of new jobs will be added during the next three years. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources says 45 new horizontal wells in eastern Ohio are already producing oil and natural gas, and it’s issued permits for nearly 500 more. 

New Concord consultant Elizabeth Carter recruits oilfield workers. She conducts seminars in a bid to find drug-free applicants.

“If you’ve got a crane operator and he’s on Vicodin right now, do you want him on your job site?” asks Carter, who then answers: “Probably not.”

Clean today, not tomorrow
Carter says some workers who pass an initial drug screen are employed only a short time because required random follow-up tests reveal problems.

“Those new hires are usually on there (lists for followup tests), and that’s when they fail the drug test. They’ve cleaned up for your pre-employment and then think that they’re good to go and then they have positive for a random.”

The Centers for Disease Control says prescription drug abuse is epidemic across the country. Dr. Neil Capretto is the medical director of Gateway Rehabilitation Centers, which includes centers in Ohio. He says he’s not surprised by a 50 to 60 percent rejection rate of potential oilfield workers in eastern Ohio. And in many working-class areas of Ohio and Pennsylvania, he says there a physical cause.

“People who are involved with more manual labor, physical type work are more likely to have work related injuries, go to doctors, get prescription medicine,” says Capretto.

Capretto and Reda both say prescription and illegal drug abuse is a huge problem, and it’s prompting energy companies to bring some workers to Ohio from other states. Reda predicts about 30 percent of new jobs created in Ohio’s oil and natural gas fields will be filled by workers from outside Ohio.

Add Your Comment


E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook

Stories with Recent Comments

Ottawa County Commissioner sworn in as new house member
Congratulations on your new appointment to the Ohio House. I'm certain you will do an outstanding job in your new role representing our district. When you have...

Holden Arboretum opens a new canopy walk and emergent tower
Visited the Holden Arboretum today to witness the incredible work you did constructing the tower and bridges.WOW! Very impressed. Knew the build had to be great...

Local club works to bring back the once-prevalent American elm
I would love to help! Where would I get some of the new Strain so I could plant them?

Four Geauga school districts consider consolidating on the Kent State campus
Berkshire was smart to merge with Ledgemont because it had shrinking enrollment and excess capacity at its high school. Now that Cardinal is dragging its feet ...

Ohio Rep. John Boccieri sworn into office and hopes to look for 'middle ground' with colleagues
Welcome back to the Statehouse, John. You are a terrific representative in the truest sense always representing the people's voice in teh district you serve. ...

Lawmakers call for indefinite freeze on Green Energy standards
It's a shame the Hudson Rep. Chooses to mimic the words of the extreme right senator on his way out to join ALEC when we know the Pope was just here because of...

Youngstown Schools file suit against the Ohio Department of Education to stop the implementation of an academic distress commission
Voters should ask WHY this plan was rushed into law under the cover of darkness. What clues point to the beneficiaries of this plan? Both Patrick O'Donnell of...

More join the battle against Ohio's current forfeiture laws
NOT TRUE IN OHIO! ! My cousin's 8 rental houses were siezed in the early 2000s. He was a decorated Cleveland Police officer and detective (now retired). His dis...

Great Lakes conference considers a range of threats
Your article states "Studies discovered over half of all PAHs found in the Great Lakes region come from a single source: Coal tar sealants.". I'm curious to whi...

Copyright © 2015 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University