Official: Hundreds of Miners Tested Positive for Drug Use in Past Two Years

Oct 20, 2014

Lawmakers received the latest numbers Monday on miners who have tested positive for drugs under a fairly new state law.

Director of the West Virginia Office of Miner's Health, Safety and Training presented the updated information to the Joint Committee on Labor and Worker Safety Issues.
Credit Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The law went to effect on January 1, 2013, that, among many other provisions, required coal mining operators and certain employers to implement a substance abuse screening program for miners and mine safety professionals.

The law also requires the results of those screenings to be reported to the Director of the state Office of Miner’s Health, Safety and Training.

Eugene White, the director of that office, reported to date, 555 individuals have had their mining certifications temporarily suspended because of a failed drug test.

Seventy-nine of those have been reinstated through the appeals process and 69 individuals are seeking treatment. Two-hundred and sixty-nine will wait the three year period to have their certifications returned.

White said prescription drugs are the most common found in the screening process, followed by marijuana.